The Dream is available to everyone. It is the Upside Down; the world through the wardrobe; the Hinterland; the place where the tornado takes you; and much more besides. But ultimately it is inaccessible.
“I was never supposed to be here, I was never supposed to know.” Jacob Kowalski
All of us have aspirations be they to earn more money, own a bigger house, drive a larger car, find a job which we find fulfilling, but these are not The Dream. The Dream is not aspirational. However, if you ever find yourself in Florida, surrounded by the Disney and Universal theme parks, you will experience The Dream being sold and marketed on a gigantic scale. Yet it is not a financial purchase. No-one can sell you The Dream and neither can you buy it, although if you do fall into The Dream you will find yourself grabbing at tangible artifacts to make it seem more real.
Unfortunately, explaining what something is not, fails to explain what it is. So probably the easiest place to find The Dream writ large is in the ever expanding universe of Harry Potter.
One of the major questions I keep being asked since publishing The Haunted Mansion back in 2014 is, where did all the ideas come from? I guess the easiest answer would be to say I borrowed them, from everything I have ever watched, read or heard. But I think this would be doing me something of a disservice, since it is far more complicated then that. Instead, the books are like giant melting pots, filled with all the things I have absorbed over the years. This bubbling, shapeless mass is then mixed with my own thoughts and opinions, which I then try to mould into something vaguely coherent and readable.
But I am not alone in doing this, everything, from the earliest Batman comic through to Stranger Things or the latest Hollywood blockbuster is influenced by something. Sometimes these influences are explicitly mentioned, but more often than not, they are hidden away like Easter eggs in a computer game. But if you can learn to recognise these hidden gems, they can act as a road map to a whole host of surprising films, books, artists and ideas.