I had a couple weird dreams last night, which I made a point of remembering after I woke up because I wanted to share them.
1. The first dream was sort of a sci-fi action thriller thing, in which a group of people had the ability to 'abstract' themselves one layer away from normal reality, and then perform the same trick a second time (second-level abstraction), but while it was technically possible to keep going indefinitely, in practice if you went to a third-level abstraction, about half the time what came back (if anything came back at all) was not quite you.
Abstracted people, as viewed from normal reality, were invisible except when they were in motion, at which point they appeared sort of like a silvery column of heat distortion. The people who could abstract (which I think relied on gadgets) were on some kind of heist mission related to maybe overthrowing a dystopia of some sort, and were being chased by agents who could either not abstract at all or could only perform first-level abstractions, BUT they had guns whose bullets could, upon touching the after-image an abstracted person left in the lower reality level, explode in such a way as to send shockwaves through higher levels of abstraction and hopefully knock abstracted people back into normal reality where they'd either be arrested or shot for real.
Being abstracted was visually weird to experience, because it literally was abstraction -- the world went from three-dimensional reality to first being kind of flat color and drawn with heavy linework, and on a second-level abstraction, you started to get light shining through stained-glass color blocks and vaguely cubist distortion effects. Third-level abstractions got really trippy, and that's where the mental effects started to kick in because abstraction didn't erase the world around you, just your perception of it and its ability to interact with you, and in third-level abstractions you could, like, walk through walls if you wanted, or ignore gravity, and sort of see time-currents or something? And your mental processes went all weird, and I guess a bunch of people just didn't want to go back, and some who did couldn't readjust because brain chemistry is delicate, you know?
I might try to work that idea into a proper story someday.
2. The second dream involved me trying to make a baby shower gift for some friends (who are not remotely romantically involved in real life, let alone expecting a child) and I settled on a knit wool hat of many colors which I was going to make via an automatic knitting machine. It was in my public library, over near the paperback fiction shelves, and what you did was enter a pattern into a computer and the machine would produce your design in whatever colors and fibers you wanted. It manufactured your chosen kind of yarn out of a pile of raw synthetic fibers, so I guess it was a bit like specialized 3D printing?
Anyway, I was sitting there trying to translate a set of knitting instructions into a sort of grid pattern, and all around me other people were entering their own programs... one of which was an actual baby. Literally, these two women programmed the machine (in the public library!) to knit a living child out of a pile of synthetic fibers. And it worked. They picked the crying baby up out of the basket of finished products, put on a diaper and a onesie, and took the kid off to get a birth certificate or whatever.
And nobody blinked twice.
I decided to make my friends' kid a blanket as well as the hat, because I felt slightly upstaged after that.