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The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome

Translated by Edward Gauvin

In The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, lucid dreamers called mediums dive into their dreams to retrieve ectoplasms—sticky blobs with curiously soothing properties that are the only form of art in the world. The more elaborate the dream, the better the ectoplasm.

David Sarella is a medium whose dream identity is a professional thief. With his beautiful accomplice Nadia, he breaks into jewelry stores and museums, lifts precious diamonds, and when he wakes, the loot turns into ectoplasms to be sold and displayed.

Only the dives require an extraordinary amount of physical effort, and as David ages, they become more difficult. His dream world—or is it the real world?—grows unstable. Any dive could be his last, forever tearing him away from Nadia and their high-octane, Bond-like adventures.

David decides to go down one final time, in the deepest, most extravagant dive ever attempted. But midway through, he begins to lose control, and the figures in the massive painting he’s trying to steal suddenly come to life . . . and start shooting.

SERGE BRUSSOLO is the author of nearly two hundred books in every possible genre—dark fantasy, horror, historical fiction, young adult fiction, thrillers, and literary fiction. His books are consistently bestsellers, have won every major French science-fiction prize, are considered modern classics, and have been made into films.

EDWARD GAUVIN translates from French with a focus on fantasy, science fiction, and graphic novels.

“This first English translation of best-selling, award-winning French author Brussolo’s work submerges readers into the world of the subconscious. Vivid imagery, intriguing characters, and the blurred boundaries of David’s worlds will hold their attention. A captivating read that will immerse the senses.” —Library Journal

Praise for the initial release in France

“Another smashing success for France’s most madcap writer of things imaginary.” —France-Soir

“Hats off to French master of the fantastic Serge Brussolo, who once again has given us a finely-cut gem, the kind only he knows how to deliver.” —La Croix

“Brussolo probes the dimensions of an astonishing idea, with surrealism but not without method. The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome is a plunge into the subconscious, a cocktail of dreamlike, unhinged images swollen to bursting, but most of all an exceptional metaphorical variation on the relationship between artist and society.” —À Suivre

“With each new novel, Brussolo continues to astonish with his skill in changing registers. He goes from what is sometimes the most gratuitous horror to poetry by way of the thriller, and the reader follows without blinking. The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome is a terrific novel which, through dreams, smuggles in a certain critique of our rapidly dehumanizing society. It is fresh and satisfying.”—Adrénaline Hebdo

“One of our finest explorers of childhood nightmares. . . [Brussolo’s] novel is an excursion into the powers of the imagination, the powers of the night, and it is absorbing, hypnotic, terrifying, almost like a dream you might have had yourself once, long ago, and since cautiously suppressed.” —Révolution