Review - The Final Dream

40K books have a Kindle edition of The Final Dream by Daniel Pearlman up at Amazon.
I read this book in one sitting, which is unusual in these days of multimedia, as my attention is usually sliced pretty thin. The Final Dream paints a picture of a world where the the old have ossified, unable to cope with the pace of change, and the young are in thrall to subscription dreamcasters, and have scheduled sex on rotation (alternating between "bunking in" and inviting someone to their home, and "bunking out" when their husband or wife is bunking in). To cope with the stresses, most take strong drugs to sleep at night.
Even a respectable, middle-class couple must compete for what work there is, and take advantage of every bit of leverage which their talents might give them - and even so they cannot afford to raise a child together.
For Audrey and Brian things start to go horribly wrong when the dreams they are subscribed to turn the focus uncomfortably on their working lives, their feelings about each others' sexuality, and their inadequacies as the guardians of the dreams of their youth.
Things spiral rapidly out of control as Brian loses track of what is real, and which dreams (or nightmares) are his own. Driven by fear that the world's most popular dreamer, the "Starryteller" is becoming unstable and putting the company's millions-strong subscriber-base at risk, Brian is caught up in investigations that soon lead him to question who is dreaming what, and where nightmares really come from.
Short Dystopias are difficult to make satisfying - often they are either trite, or they lack the time to really get their claws in. The Final Dream, though a little rough in places, is a bandersnatch of a dark allegory about love, art, and lost dreams. The "is this real or is it a dream" conceit has been done from every angle, and The Final Dream doesn't try too hard to invent a new twist (the denouement is telegraphed in the most in-your-face way possible) but the punch that you see coming can be the one that hurts most, and the ending (Allegory...or more disturbingly, not) hits hard for all that.
Recommended read if: You know happy endings are only for Pixar and Studio Ghibli.