Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Dreamtime

An Australian Aboriginal term referring to a time when the spirit ancestors of humans, plants and animals invested themselves into the territory of the world (i.e., what we know as Australia), shaping its geography and giving it life in various ways, animal and vegetable. The Landscape today is a reminiscence of the true landscape of the Dreamtime and is isomorphic with the Dreamtime, which can be perceived (> Perception) by real people (not the Whites, who represent a fatal Thinning of the world, and who destroy anything they touch). The D exists, therefore, in what may be called a Trompe-L'oeil relationship to the mundane world; in this respect it is an Alternate Reality. Several novels – e.g., The Second Bridegroom (1991) by Rodney Hall – take as their subject the destructive relationship between White civilization and the "Chaos" of the Dreamtime world. The Songlines (1987) by Bruce Chatwin responsibly depicts a world in which the Dreamtime is manifest for those who are able to look. Some of B Wongar's tales make reference as well; and an exploration of the Dreamtime occupies the heart of Michaela Roessner's Walkabout Woman (1988). In Frank Questing's Nobody Dick in Dreamtime (1989) the Picaresque adventures of a surreal contemporary Duo are couched as a sequence of episodes in the Dreamtime. A theme anthology is Dream Time (anth 1989) ed Toss Gascoigne, Jo Goodman and Margot Tyrrell. [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.