Since Plato first described the lost continent of Atlantis twenty -five hundred years ago, many have dreamt of the legendary city beneath the Atlantic where everything was once as it should be. But even if Atlantis never existed, it does for those who believe it did. Paul Belfries, the main character in Atlantis Centauri, is one of those people who are tortured by their dreams of a world that should be. Atlantis Centauri is a novel about ideals and dreams, and how they are necessary to cope with reality, and how devastating they can be when mistaken for reality. Juxtaposed against Paul Belfries is Mark Gosselin who feels the same frustration and despair that Copernicus released upon the world in the fourteenth century. Alpha Centauri is twenty-six million miles from the sun, and that distance obsesses him. But as he finds out, one cannot live in the universe. We need our castles, because without them, we spin aimlessly in the vacuum surrounding us, and unless we remember that they are only castles, we will be crushed, as Paul is, by the realization of what they are. Atlantis Centauri takes place in Tossa de Mar, Spain, a setting perfectly suited for Paul's flights into fantasy. He is seeking love that is spiritual, love that transcends mundane passions and is final and absolute. Mark, who is rational and syllogistic, believes that the world should be explained in logical terms, not metaphysical ones. He seeks sex that is free of emotional complications. He seeks an existence that is ordered and realistic. It is the conflict of these two characters, and the ideas they represent, which the narrative revolves around. Paul's relationship with Mary Rose, one of the girls he and Mark live with, is completely idealized and asexual. Mark's relationship with Elizabeth Rose, Mary's older sister, is completely physical. The disintegration of these two relationships parallels Mark and Paul's development. When Paul realizes that Diane, the girl in Los Angeles who occupies most of his fantasies, is no longer a part of him, he finds another girl, Susan, to romanticize about. But he refuses to take her to bed because he is waiting for their spiritual intercourse first, and while he is doing so, Mark seduces her, thus crushing Paul's ideals. The book closes with Mark leaving for Germany with Susan, mostly as a matter of convenience, and Paul going to bed with Elizabeth and finding it physically gratifying, but nothing else. Paul and Mark are both unsatisfied, although less so than before. They are both idealists, but in a very different sense, Paul because he is searching for an ideal love. I suppose there are those who will argue that Mark is anything but an idealist, and perhaps he is not in any traditional sense. But he is absolutely idealistic about his pragmatism. The end always justifies the means, and like Paul he is absorbed in an abstraction. It is a closed circle. Pragmatism and idealism are one and the same animal. Paul and Mark both have their castles assaulted and fortify them accordingly. Atlantis and Alpha Centauri do not exist empirically, not in our fingers, but in our hearts and minds.