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The Dream Master (The Nebula Award-Winning…

The Dream Master (The Nebula Award-Winning Novel) (original 1966; edition 2001)

by Roger Zelazny

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Title:The Dream Master (The Nebula Award-Winning Novel)
Authors:Roger Zelazny
Info:I Books (2001), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:zelazny, non-amber

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The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny (1966)

  1. 00
    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Science fiction about the technological control of sleeping dreams. They're just dreams, right? What could go wrong?

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Zelazny's usual fabulous world-building and interesting characters but not much of a story. ( )
  WildMaggie | Jul 19, 2014 |
I feel I should give this rating a disclaimer. If this book were not a re-read, if I had come into it completely new, it would have been a 3 to 3.5 for me. But the memories I have of this book are so pervasive and so revolutionary back when I read it that I can't give anything that formative less than five.

Honestly, these recollections were not all The Dream Master. I just started cutting my teeth on "adult" sci-fi at the time, and threw myself recklessly at anything that purported to be a classic. This is why I had the fortuitous luck of reading Zelazny's The Dream Master right up against Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. Both dealt with dreams, albeit it in different ways. One was a tool consciously then unconsciously wielded, the other was an unconscious wildness that others sought to tame. Both ended in a manner that was both tragic and suitable.

What I remember was the description of the son as he described how an inventor dreamed of efficient machines while he pulled off the legs of grasshoppers and how the metal gears must have sounded like the shrieks of all those murdered grasshoppers. I remembered comparing it to the Kafka-esque descriptions of lacquered shells in The Lathe of Heaven, the otherness of nature and how it is molded. I remembered cars that drove themselves and didn't stop when someone walked into traffic, and deep set eyes of a guide dog who could speak but not exactly like a human nor howl like the dogs he had been mutated from.

I remember glancing at the computer for practically every other scene, looking up things like Eloise and Abelard (which I still remembered) and enantiodromia (which I did not), fascinated at how symbols played out while the language and structure unraveled. The references and scenes helped me to better appreciate the rest of the scenes, and the narration of dreams kept my imagination going at full throttle to picture it.

So essentially what I am doing is justifying why I love this novel even though it can feel padded with the many threads and does not come qualitatively close compared to Zelanzy's other works. Because this is a book that can work like Render's machine, and it has left its mark when so many other novels are completely forgotten; although this mark may be malleable and refitted with a new awareness, it lingers the same way a particularly memorable dream will retain flashes and remnants even when you wake. ( )
1 vote gaisce | Sep 24, 2013 |
ereader ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
The Dream Master is the second full length novel written by Zelazny in 1966. The title page informs the reader that it had been a serialized short story in a magazine. Unfortunately, it reads like a fleshed out, stretched short story. It becomes disjointed, a series of scenes seemingly unconnected and written at different times, so much so you can tell which parts are original, and which parts are added.

The main story deals with Render, a psychologist who has become known as a pioneer in the new technology of "Dream Therapy," in which he uses a holodeck type machine to enter people's dreams and control them, constructing and deconstructing (in every sense of the philosophical term) until the underlying causes, as Freudian as they may be, are exposed and can be dealt with outside of the sleep state. Stepping outside of the boundaries his craft sets, he decides to help a blind woman, a professional psychiatrist in her own right, to "see" using dreams. But, as things go when man tries to play "God," things rarely turn out well. This is a book that would go along side Le Guin's Lathe of Heaven, Frank Bonham's The Forever Formula, or Chayefsky's Altered States. The latter most definitely, since they both deal with the idea of the collective subconsciousness, the idea that there are certain things we see and know that come from the primal state of our being, as a coding of our "form," embedded into our DNA.

Zelazny writes in spurts, in images, in hallucinatory frames, and I would imagine that, like so many other artists in the 60's (18 and 19), that some sort of stimulation was used to create the muse for these writings. It would remind someone of Coleridge's 'In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan..." or T.S. Eliot's "Wasteland" (April is the cruelest month). This is not to denigrate the story at all, rather, it rescues it from being unreadable. In fact, Zelazny's usage of myths, whether we know them or not, of poetic fits in between sections of plot, is what makes this an actually good book to ruminate upon. Masterful writing style, deep, thoughtful nuggets that you have to mine from the rocky wording, phrases that are pure gold, it makes the once award winning short story well worth reading, despite its obvious flaws.

Amongst the flat characters are soliloquies of how technology has so placed us in a state of security, of peace, that we become bored, even to the state of having nothing, verily, to live for. He deals with the usage of stories, of myths, to recreate the heart-rendering sorrows that mankind has lost, and the sub-culture of role-playing that has surfaced so that man can actually face that danger, instead of being lost to banality. This is a theme also taken on by Simak in A Ring Around the Sun, which was a masterful work. I doubtless will use some of Zelazny's thoughts in some of my future blog postings (giving credit, obviously), as they were truly amazing. Having never read Zelazny's work before, I will certainly find others in my Dad's sci-fi collection pilfered from the Bethany, OK library so many years ago, and read them as well. ( )
  DenzilPugh | Mar 10, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Zelaznyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vejez, WalterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Judy
of the burst of oaks.
with a wolf issuant therefrom
to the sinister all proper.
"Fidus et audax"
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Lovely as it was, with the blood and all, Render could sense that it was about to end.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743413016, Paperback)

His name is Charles Render, and he is a psychoanalyst, and a mechanic of dreams. A Shaper. In a warm womb of metal, his patients dream their neuroses, while Render, intricately connected to their brains, dreams with them, makes delicate adjustments, and ultimately explains and heals. Her name is Eileen Shallot, a resident in psychiatry. She wants desperately to become a Shaper, though she has been blind from birth. Together, they will explore the depths of the human mind -- and the terrors that lurk therein

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:11 -0400)

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