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Literature / The Fatal Dream

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A speculative romantic drama and action thriller novel written by Ian Hastings. It tells the story of two young want-to-be scientists, Steven Stelth and Wendy Johnson, meeting in an Advanced Mathematics class at Boston University, how they fall in love and go on to share a life together, establishing their careers and life goals. Unfortunately, when it appears they are about to overcome even Death itself with their experiments, they are confronted with the spirit of Death itself. What follows is a chain of events that lead to violence, revenge, misery, grief and doubt.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Norman Gregson.
  • Abusive Parents: Wendy's father Donald sees his daughter as nothing but a tool to help him get higher in the world of finance.
  • Action Dad: Peter Stelth and Gerald Kelly.
  • Action Duo:
    • Daniel and Trevor
    • Peter and Trevor
  • Affably Evil: Death
  • And the Adventure Continues: Unbeknownst to all but Steven, there is an anonymous threat left out there by the Pteranodon, which will one day attack them.
  • Arc Villain: Kamo Pak
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Trevor Lee and Kamo Pak
    • Steven against Death and the Pteranodon
  • Asshole Victim: Kamo Pak
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Nearly every couple in this have a chance to show how much they care about one another.
  • The Bait: Charles Stelth
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: A forced example of this occurs with Steven at the end of Chapter 14.
  • Best Friends:
    • Steven, Brian and Vincent
    • Wendy, Grace and Charlotte
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    • Steven, Daniel and Trevor
    • Sarah and Brianna
  • Beta Couple: Brian and Grace, Vincent and Charlotte, or Daniel and Sarah. Take your pick.
  • Big Bad: Although the Pteranodon is doing the actual killing and is the one all the heroes are against, the main villain is actually Death.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Death, the Pteranodon and Kamo Pak
  • Big Word Shout: The story is filled to the brim with them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Steven does kill the Pteranodon in the end, but all but two of his family members are dead, Trevor has been killed, and the Pteranodon leaves a dying threat behind that one day his revenge on the Stelths would be completed.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late
  • The Chessmaster: Death
  • Cool Teacher: Doug Hodges. Nigel Terson. Vincent and Charlotte.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Steven brings the Pteranodon to life.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The usual result when the Pteranodon attacks an intended target.
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  • Cycle of Revenge: The Pteranodon sets out to kill the Stelth family. one it leaves alive for the moment becomes determined to avenge their fallen relatives and friends.
  • The End... Or Is It?: A dying Pteranodon threatens that his revenge on the Stelths will continue in another form beyond his death. Whatever that form is is still yet to be known.
  • Enemies with Death: Steven
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: You'll see this in the Pteranodon's backstory.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Death
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: The Pteranodon
  • Everyone Chasing You: Everyone hunts the Pteranodon.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The first third of the book occurs over the space of nine years; the rest unfolds in less than two months.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Occurs at the end of Chapter One and the beginning of Chapter Two.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: Kamo Pak's organisation, the Agarrah.
  • Final Battle: After two terrific showdowns, one at the Zuytdorp cliffs and the other at Sydney Harbour, the story concludes with a simplistic but nevertheless emotional one-on-one between Steven and the Pteranodon.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: A large factor in Steven's struggle to keep his family and friends alive.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Steven's goal in life is to create new forms of animal life. Trying to complete said goal backfires in more than one way.
  • Heroic BSoD: This happens to Steven every time the Pteranodon injures or kills someone.
  • Happily Married: Nearly every couple.
  • High-School Sweethearts: University, actually.
  • Human Chess: The spirit of Death considers the events in the novel as such.
  • I Will Wait for You: Wendy's spirit at the very end of the novel
  • Imminent Danger Clue: Steven discovers this in the final chapter.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: A regular theme throughout the novel.
  • Kick the Dog: Death likes to do this to Steven a lot.
  • Last Villain Stand: Losing both the Pteranodon, his co-terrorists and his means of escape, Kamo Pak does this.
  • Living Relic: The Pteranodon
  • Mad Bomber: Kamo Pak and his terrorists are said to be these.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Death. Also Kamo Pak.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Death, again.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Wendy's. Also Doug's.
  • Melodrama: Completely loaded with it from beginning to end.
  • Moment Killer: Norman Gregson in the lighter occasions; the Pteranodon and Death in the darker ones.
  • Monumental Battle: Late in the novel, a trap is set for the Pteranodon at the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • The Mourning After
  • Murder, Inc.: The Agarrah
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: The Pteranodon paraphrases this line
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Nancy hid the conception and later birth of Ken from his father Ben, believing that the notoriety of their affair had already damaged the prospects of his future enough and that her pregnancy would just bring him further down.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The entire novel from Chapter 9 onwards seems to be a casefile of this.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • When the Pteranodon kills Brianna Brask, it gets her husband, the Premier of Western Australia, so infuriated that he breaks regulations to get the resources he wants to hunt it down. Both matters are brought to the attention of the Federal Government, who later devote whatever resources to bring the reptile down.
    • The spirit of Death's excessive determination for revenge on Steven forces other divine powers to intercede against him.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Death delivers these to Steven every time the Pteranodon kills one of his family. Also doubles as That Was Not a Dream.
  • One Bullet Left: Literal example. At the end of the novel, Steven considers using the last bullet in his gun to kill himself.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Because of a deal he makes with Death, Steven has to kill the Pteranodon himself in order to save the surviving members of his family.
  • The Power of Love: Steven and Wendy are true believers of this.
  • Psycho for Hire: Kamo Pak is said to be this by Trevor.
  • Psychological Horror: Death puts Steven through this as punishment (or revenge).
  • The Purge: The Pteranodon's objective in dealing with the Stelth family.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Pteranodon is killed, but Steven's life is lying in ruins. He has given up his life and career in America. All but two of his family have been slain. He has severed ties with his friends back in Boston. And then there's the Pteranodon's last words.
  • Save the Villain: A minor example. A group of terrorists capture the Pteranodon and because the heroes are outnumbered, Trevor sees no choice but to set the creature free in the hope that it will take on the terrorists. It works.
  • Serial Killer: The Pteranodon can be considered as this. Kamo Pak definitely qualifies.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Doug Hodges for Steven and Wendy, Vincent and Charlotte, and Brian and Grace.
    • Jessica Stelth for Daniel and Sarah
    • Anyone who supports any of the couples in times of trouble
  • Tragic Hero: Steven Stelth, Daniel Nymph Junior and Trevor Lee.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Trevor in Chapter 15
    • Steven in the final fight.
  • What Does She See in Him?: The sexist Norman Gregson's continual question about why Wendy wants Steven instead of him.


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