Richard Matheson “What Dreams May Come”

What happens with us after death? Is there life after death? Is there Heaven and Hell? On these and many other questions the American fiction writer Richard Matheson tried to answer. Examined many scientific and philosophical treatises about the human soul and its forms, about life and death, he wrote a brilliant novel “What Dreams May Come”.

This novel became a bestseller and caused the numerous discussions in literary and academic circles. Based on this book, the same name Oscar-winning fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, was shot by Vincent Ward.

“What Dreams May Come” is a story about life, death and great love that is stronger than it. 


In the book story, the writer Chris Nielsen, got in a car accident and died. Woked up, he did not immediately realize that he died and now he’s a spiritual reflection of himself. He even attended his own funeral, watched the grief of his family, tried to get in touch with his beloved wife Ann. When he realized that nothing does work, the guide to the afterlife helps him to free from ties with Earth life and go to Heaven, which is called Summerland – “land of eternal summer.” This is the land where everything looks like in your dreams, and each can make this place as he would like.

That which you believe becomes your world.


Despite this heavenly atmosphere, Chris grieves for his wife, because they are kindred souls.

His wife Ann also grieves. Meanwhile, Annie is unable to cope with the loss of her husband and decides to commit suicide. This is a violating the laws of Summerland. So she goes to Hell, a place full of gloom and fears, where she must spend some time before she can meet her husband again.

Chris cannot allow such a long separation from his beloved and condemn her soul to prolonged suffering, that’s why he goes in a dangerous journey to Hell to save his wife.

For all the philosophical reflections about there is life after death or not, you start to think about the value of human life, about committed acts and spoken words.

We pay for our every action, thought and feeling.

We should appreciate what we have, grow spiritually, love and care for our relatives and loved ones, do noble and good actions, take care of nature and surrounding world. Indeed, despite the fact whether there is paradise or not, we want to believe that we get to a good place, so let’s try to be as good as possible during our lifetimes.

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