Time is for Dragonflies and Angels

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
211 Pages
Reviewed on 10/13/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

In addition to creating the Birds of Flight series and the other award-winning science fiction stories, Future Prometheus and Intelligent Design, J. M. Erickson holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Boston College and a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from the Simmons School of Social Work. Certified in cognitive behavioral treatment and a post-trauma specialist, he is also a senior instructor of psychology and counseling at Cambridge College, visiting lecturer at Salem State University’s School of Social Work and a senior therapist in a clinical group practice in the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels by J.M. Erickson is a beautiful offering for fans of sci-fi and fantasy who are also into short stories and novellas. The collection features powerful themes, including parallel universes, man’s struggle to come to grips with his human predicament, racial discrimination, and many more. This collection has a lot to offer readers with diverse tastes. Those who enjoy dystopian themes will feel very comfortable with Rogue Event, featuring the game that many people are familiar with, the struggle for control where a select group wants to control the workings of the lives of others. Read about a widower and an autistic young man in a one-of-a-kind adventure to find meaning in Recount Our Dreams. The Gray is a moving tale that features the mechanics of bias, of racism, and beautifully portrays how a group can elect itself as the judge of others based on what makes them look different. And there is more!

J.M. Erickson shows great mastery in the art of the short story and scores great success when it comes to purposeful writing, for besides the entertainment the stories offer, there are lessons and values that can benefit readers enormously. The writing is beautiful and engaging, and the stories are fast-paced. These stories are well structured to keep the reader’s interest constant, exciting and arousing the desire to know what happens next. The characters are well developed and some will linger in the minds of readers for a long time after they have finished reading. Time is for Dragonflies and Angels is a gorgeous collection that I’d gladly recommend to anyone who loves short stories.

Lit Amri

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels by J.M. Erickson is a compilation of imaginative sci-fi short stories and novellas that will give fans of the genre thought-provoking and inspiring tales. It starts with Recount Our Dreams, a great story regarding parallel universes and a man who gains something in return after the loss of his family. In Neurogenesis, the life of a kind man with intellectual developmental disorder is changed forever by a strange encounter while working as a cleaner at the MIT.

Rogue Event is a fascinating novella that takes place in the 22nd century where Earth is united into one global organization. The urban dwellers focus on business operations and productivity, but their strict rules as a corporate society are rejected by the lunar colonies and the underground citizens. When a mysterious rogue planet appears, global disaster is inevitable and their survival instinct is greatly tested. To See Behind Walls is a Walter Mitty-inspired story about a suburban father and loving husband with things to do around the house on a cold, winter Saturday morning.

My favorite is The Gray. Amber the Elder needs to decide the fate of the planet TN-7, where two different races but similar species are at war with each other. The discovery of a third race on the planet leads to a favorable judgment from the wise elder. It’s a story that excellently reflects our society in terms of looking beyond our differences. Overall, every story focuses on the extent of our ability to adapt as human beings, including the ethical message of compassion, determination and tolerance. Erickson’s knowledge in the cognitive field clearly shows and makes each story much more substantial. Time is for Dragonflies and Angels is highly engaging and enjoyable, with great concepts and story lines as well as clear-cut and flawless prose.

Faridah Nassozi

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels by J.M. Erickson is a collection of stories on different science fiction concepts. In The Gray, Captain of the Phoenix, Amber the Elder's current mission is to observe and render judgment on the future of a primitive planet called Terra Nova Seven and its four billion inhabitants. The planet, occupied by two warring species, is on the verge of extinction unless immediate intervention is deployed. This is a hard decision for Amber the Elder, who has a soft spot for the planet she has known for so long. However, just before she makes her final recommendation, she discovers a fresh finding at the planet's terminal line that might just provide her with a much needed compromise for life on Terra Nova Seven. The Gray and four other amazing stories make up the collection in Time is for Dragonflies and Angels.

This is a one of a kind anthology. In just those few pages, J.M. Erickson captures compelling concepts that are above and beyond ordinary science fiction and brings them to life in a way that is both very compelling and effortlessly conceivable. In The Gray, he explores the evolution of mankind as seen through the eyes of a more superior class of the same species. The Gray also in a way emulates earth as it is today and the social complexities of a diverse society. Each of the stories comprises a unique plot and setting and a fresh cast of memorable characters. However, all the stories do have one thing in common and that is J.M. Erickson's flawless style of bringing a multifaceted plot to life vividly that guarantees an engaging reading experience. Time is for Dragonflies and Angels is a 5-in-one jackpot for fans of sci-fi, dystopia and alternative dimensions.

Self_Publishing Review

"Time is for Dragonflies and Angels, the new book from sci fi author J.M. Erickson is a collection of short stories in the tradition of the classic science fiction writing compendiums, evoking well-loved writers such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, with clear influences from other giants of the genre as we go along.
This is more directly apparent in some stories over others, such as Neurogenesis which is a riff on the ending of Flowers for Algernon, or To See Behind Walls using The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as its key inspiration. It gives the anthology a feel of an author experimenting freely, and providing the best results for your pleasure; something quirky and odd but altogether fun, enrapturing, and slightly intimate as you share in the successes and the flaws of each piece.
The central theme, broadly speaking, is multiverse theory, hinging on branching, alternate, and successive timelines, be it via the result of a decision or simply an alternative version of what we understand as normal. The book is definitely what many of those reading Erickson have come to expect - in essence, good, solid, trad sci-fi with a twist of the mind-bending and existential ranging as far out from the genre's form as Dick, Clarke, and Moorcock at times, especially in the themes offered here where other realities collide.
Part of the issue with the collection is, in fact, the wide net it spreads. While Erickson in no short order proves himself a competent short fiction writer, there's such a very broad array of subjects that things almost become discordant as a whole, and sometimes stories may be slightly too surreal for the average reader individually. You could never accuse Erickson of writing anything too simple, to be sure, and many readers will enjoy the cerebral twists these stories take. However, for some, stories such as Recount Our Dreams may require a few flicks back to check what exactly is going on. Maybe some would prefer to see the stories re-categorized by theme, but isn't it so inviting to find a treasure chest of so many different gems? Especially when those gems are of such an unusual nature, most readers familiar with this kind of book will be diving in to discover their favorite flavor.
This anthology is an exciting step for Erickson. Entertaining and well-constructed prose like this will win him new fans, especially if he strategizes and maybe offers some of these pieces to the usual sci-fi magazines as submission for publication. He deserves to be more widely known, and each work presented from the coffers of Erickson's mind seems to be adding more skill and detail to his authorship.
Time is for Dragonflies is most certainly worth a dip for any fan of science fiction looking for fresh directions to steer their imagination to new realms."

Pacific Book Review

The best science fiction and fantasy writers are often praised for their "world building." The ability to craft a singular place –– often one completely foreign to readers –– while having it appear completely realistic is a rare and impressive talent. With "Time is for Dragonflies and Angels," author J. M. Erickson demonstrates a faculty for this while taking on an even more daunting challenge. In the book's opening novella, Erickson offers multiple worlds –– all of them only vaguely resembling modern-day Boston, Massachusetts.
In the book's opener, "Recount Our Dreams," main character Jack Martin is nearly immobilized with grief over the loss of his wife and adult son. His only solace comes from the family beagle, Clover, and the time he spends at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. There Martin has been entering a sensory deprivation tank. Suspended in salt water and enclosed within the tank, he finds relative peace. Sensory deprivation tanks have provided material for everything from the movie "Altered States" to the "Simpsons." Yet with this story, Erickson forges a new path. The tank becomes a launching pad to parallel worlds. For as a computer helpfully points out, the "mathematical probability that an infinite number of parallel or alternate universes exist are as close to 100% as theoretical physics could be." Thus Martin discovers unfamiliar versions of Boston, a place where everything from zombies to dragons feast on the inhabitants. Of course, given the title of the story and the circumstances, the question is whether or not Martin is dreaming.
The dystopian themes continue with "Rogue Event," where the future finds people under the thumb of a monolithic corporation which determines how and where they live. As with the opener, the story's power is derived in large part by the compassionate protagonist. Slightly less unsettling, "Neurogenesis" offers a developmentally disabled adult and the consequences when he meets an alternative version of himself. Here MIT once again transports an ordinary person into a fantastic reality. The book is rounded out by "The Grey," a sci-fi tale about choices and "To See Behind Walls," where the science fiction is truly fantasy.
In every story, the author displays bright moments of humor alongside darker bits of existential dread. His stories succeed on two levels, both as diverting bits of adventure and as deeper commentary on our modern life. Erickson also does a superb job describing Boston, a place where he practices his "day job" as a senior instructor of psychology and counseling and a senior therapist. The book's title refers to how the lives of dragonflies are far too brief while those of angels are far too long. As we all must exist somewhere between the two, many readers will find the length of the stories ideal –– the perfect prescription for anyone who wants to briefly leave our own world behind. - 4 stars, J.W. Bankston

Eliza Brown

I love reading science fiction and these stories by J.M. Erickson were some of the best I’ve read in a long time! I love the author’s easy and graceful use of powerful words to paint each situation and give deep imagery beyond compare. His writing is very descriptive and pulls you in. Some of the stories were moving, some dark and futuristic and challenges your psyche and expands your mind into new dimensions (sometimes literally!) All kinda bizarre and shocking in some way – a real jolt to the psyche and the senses. Loaded with skillful literary prose, and the editing was near flawless. The stories were all very interesting, and different from one another, and I liked how the author really thinks outside the box and takes chances – forcing us to look at life through a different filter for a while, even if it is frightening or disturbing. Even though there are 5 different here, it’s a great read and each story has its own identity while maintaining the overall quality that will appeal to adult fans of science fiction. (5 stars)Eliza Brown—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Megan King

At first I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into in deciding to read this book. Because admittedly I do tend to lean towards longer science fiction books that I can really lose myself in. So short stories or novellas are not my usual fare. But I enjoy science fiction and this author has generated some amazing reviews on this and his other works. So I read the first story “Recount our Dreams” and almost immediately my reservations went right out the window as I was sucked into this psychological rabbit hole! Although the length may be shorter, there is no lack of story arc, emotional investment, and profoundly complex plotlines that truly take us to another world(s) for a while. The only one I didn’t particularly connect to is “The Gray”, but all the others were terrific and while not perfect, were darn entertaining which is all I ask for in a book. In retrospect I now think I liked this BETTER as an anthology because we see a real mix of different settings and characters, and the author is able to spread his literary wings more. I was surprised by how we are often left with our jaws hanging open (especially the end of “To See Behind Walls”). Sign of a gifted writer there. Will definitely be checking out his other works, Really glad I took a chance on this one…Recommend for sci/fi, literary dystopian fans. (4-5 stars) Megan King—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Carla Biggins

Although Science fiction/ fantasy/ dystopian is not my favorite genre I have read a few other books by this author in the past and was really captivated by his storytelling and the way that he pulls us into these crazy, unique and seemingly far-fetched situations and realities, yet does so in a way that is strangely believable. Like some of it could happen (crazy, I know, but that’s how it feels). Like his other books have been, I found this one “Time is for Dragonflies and Angels” to be just as good as the others… better, even because this book has 5 ‘books’ in it! Great descriptions – I could always picture everything (and everyone) perfectly. It did keep me engaged, and I liked the length of these stories… short enough to read a few in a sitting or two, but not so short where you don’t feel like you experienced anything…quite the opposite, actually. I like Mr. Erickson’s edgy and creative writing style very much, and found myself completely lost in his unique worlds and bizarre, twisted, and even ordinary characters. Although I did enjoy some stories more than others, I was almost disappointed when I was finished because I wanted to read more. Recommend for adults. (4 stars) Carla Biggins—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Karen Matthews

“Time is for Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson is hands down one of the most addicting and interesting and intellectually captivating books (collection of novellas/short stories) I’ve read in a long time! But I would hardly expect anything less from Erickson at this point. I’ve read at least a half dozen of his books, and have yet to be disappointed in any of them – in fact the opposite actually as I continue to be even more and more amazed at how he really pushes the boundaries of the genre and takes us to some really cool new places in our minds. He is so talented at taking some really “out there’ ideas and putting them in stories in a way that is entertaining and even believable (because of the solid world-building and characterizations). I was completely drawn in from the opening pages, and thought the stories were all really cool and original in their own way, but all have the same vibe that only Erickson can deliver. Literary, psychologically driven and emotionally complex with several interweaving plot lines and cool tech, AI, alternate worlds, multi universes… Erickson does a fantastic job of making us feel transported not only into the various characters’ heads throughout the different surreal and experiences and their circumstances—sometimes the worst, most terrifying moments of their lives, some profound and amazing— and it felt like I was reading several slices of real life, although not any life we’ll ever know . Fast paced and unpredictable. Some minor editing issues but nothing awful. Highly readable and extremely enjoyable. (4 stars) Karen Matthews—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Stephan Beacher

TIME IS FOR DRAGONFLIES AND ANGELS is a must read for lovers of literary science fiction and dark drama and fantasy. This book falls into that rare group that tells unexpected and original stories that don’t rely on cliché’s or overused plot devices – nice, especially in the Sci-Fi genre where it is hard to find really unique plotlines and genuine character development. Although there are familiar tropes here in these stories (parallel worlds, alternate dimensions, AI and aliens, etc…) Erickson does an incredible job treating each story as an individual entity with a flavor and message all its own. The shorter story length keeps you hooked from beginning to end, and if you are like me you’ll find you just want to keep reading all the way through to the last one. I found a few of the stories to be more impactful personally, but each were well-executed in their own right. A solid effort from J.M. Erickson and I’m eager to read more of his published works. (5 stars) Stephan Beacher—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Nicola Flood

Eye-opening and engrossing, this compilation of tales of dystopian & sci/fi as told by prolific and talented author J.M. Erickson will have you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages as fast as you can, and leave you wanting more! In fact even though the first story “Recount our Dreams” wraps up well enough, I would love to know what Jack’s ultimate fate is. (Would be cool if this had a follow up or something) I was surprised to finish this whole book so quickly, but I didn’t want to stop reading once I started! And I found the individual story length to be perfect to take in smaller doses, do something else for a bit (and gather my wits), then read another story. One thing was that I thought when I read the author’s biography was that this man is fascinated with the powers and (limitless) possibilities of the mind and our existence and it shows. Enjoyed exploring these ‘alternative’ realities with him and it makes me really wonder if some of this could be an actual reality….. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others to read as well. (4-5 stars). Nicola Flood—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Tabitha Parks

I think that J.M. Erickson may have made a Science Fiction fan out of me! I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to novellas/short stories them, mostly because I like to feel a deeper connection to the characters and stay in their world for a while, and most of the sci/fi I read feels contrived and frankly, not all that plausible. But I was surprised how effective the author was in totally transporting us to another time and place and where we can really experience another’s lives (or a brief segment of it) enough to really get inside my head and make me think and even freak me out a little! The writing was top-quality - a good amount of details and lyrical prose that added to the scenery without bogging it down any. Brilliant layers of storyline complexity that has a psychological edge wrapped with action and high stakes. For the most part the pacing was good in each story, but I did think there could have been more heightened tension more consistently, especially considering the subject matter and the shorter length. But still remarkable, memorable reading! (4-stars) Tabitha Parks—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Gillian Hancock

What a refreshing change this book was for me! I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. I was so into each story, and as soon as it was over I was so curious to see what the next one would be about. I admit I felt a bit lost at times and some concepts felt over my head (have hard time wrapping my brain around the parallel worlds, alternate existences, time travel, aliens, etc…,).While none of the stories were directly connected to each other (not sure why I thought they would be), they mostly all had the same similar intelligent, surreal, alternate-existence and mind bending possibilities thing going on, and is written in such a way that you feel very engaged and a part of the story, like you really know the characters and are in their shoes. They are all good stories, but I think “Recount our Dreams” was my favorite (and I think it’s the longest). The coolest part was how these stories were realistic in a way, yet each had a surreal/mysterious/science-fiction/futuristic feeling to them, like there’s more going on in the universe (and our minds) than we ever really know. And the whole book had great flow and presentation. Well done. (4 stars) Gillian Hancock—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Laura Clarke

As a huge reader of books, and most of them indie or small-press published, I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that there will be certain things that won’t be up to the same standards as the big press published books, usually in editing or the quality of writing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the top-notch professionalism in this book, from the flawless editing to the strength of the narration and the complexity of the characters and engaging, thought-provoking and unpredictable storylines—a real challenge considering the shorter length of these stories. This sci/fi anthology is one of the better ones I’ve read, and kudos to Mr. Erickson for raising the bar. I wasn’t surprised to read that he’s published over a dozen other books and has degrees in the field of psychology (and related fields), as this influence is felt heavily in these stories, dealing with matters and possibilities of the mind (among other things). He will certainly be on my list of authors to watch. Recommend for readers of literary science fiction. (Suitable for mature teens on up- mild language). (5 stars). Laura Clarke—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Marcella Gonzales

I generally reserve my more effusive praise for long, epic novels that I feel have completely consumed me and hijacked my brain and soul for a time, not usually shorter stories or novellas that I read in an evening. But today I will be making an exception with “Time is For Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson, a book of short stories/novellas that took me by surprise with its profound intelligence, creativity and originality, and how very well written it was (each one, actually) . Dark, disturbing, and complex, I was surprised by the amount of emotion and investment the author manages to pull from the reader in these shorter tales, but how much ‘story’ was packed in and got under my skin – in a good way. Science fiction isn’t even my favorite genre, but I’d say this was one of my favorite books so far this year (and we are in December!) I just really like when an author (and his/her book) can take my mind to new places and make me think about things differently and new possibilities and this definitely happened here. Sign of a gifted writer there. Will definitely be checking out works from J.M. Erickson in the future and some of his other published works, and will recommend to my friends. (4-5 stars) Marcella Gonzales—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Essie Harmon

What a great book! “Time Is For Dragonflies and Angels” (great quote) by J.M. Erickson is a wonderful compilation of spine-chilling, mind-blowing, science-fiction and psychology-inspired novellas, with a literary flair. I’ve read several short story collections in the past and while I usually enjoy them as I like the shorter length and the tighter focus on a singular plot, I really enjoyed this book as a whole, and thought each story was as good as (if not better than) the one before! It’s hard to pick a favorite from the collection, as each was good and unique in its own way, but I think that “The Gray” had the most tension, but “Recount our Dreams” was the most unusual and moving. Great writing and characterizations and takes you to places you’ve never read about before . A must read for fans of science fiction and fantasy/dystopian. (4 stars) Essie Harmon—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Stacy Decker

“Time is for Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson was an absolute delight, and a great way to experience a variety of concepts, characters and surreal situations by this author. This is a collection of novellas/short stories (5 in all) each with the same brilliantly-crafted, complex and moving sci/fi-futuristic angle, but each unique in their own right. Mr. Erickson is a hugely talented writer (this is at least my 5th or 6th book from him so it’s safe to say I’m a fan!) who not only can tell powerful, riveting stories in a short amount of time, but the way he writes them so realistic (even for being fantastical at times), intelligent, thought-provoking and engaging. The way he uses language to create emotion and describe scenery is impressive, and the sci-fi scenarios are unique and believable. The stories are a great length to read in one sitting – I actually wish they were longer! Recommend for fans of dystopian/science fiction and I also recommend his backlist as well as it is pretty awesome too. (5 stars) Stacy Decker—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers