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Dreamsongs: Volume I by George R. R. Martin

Dreamsongs: Volume I

by George R. R. Martin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective (1)

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This collection begins with some juvenilia, which includes the opening lines “Darkness. Everywhere there was darkness. Grim, foreboding, omnipresent; it hung over the plain like a great stifling mantle.” And it keeps on in precisely that vein, eldritch horrors and everything! Also, a head explodes “like a watermelon hit by a battering ram.” I kid, but even then Martin knew how to commit. You definitely can see him getting better, though—learning to use the word-torrents for his own purposes; this collection has Sandkings, for example. Also, I liked finding out that, like me, he became a sf fan through Have Space Suit, Will Travel. ( )
  rivkat | Jul 30, 2012 |
reminded me of early L. Sprague de Camp. These short stories give you a glimpse into early crafting of Game of Thrones ( )
  revslick | Nov 27, 2011 |
Dreamsongs is a collection of Martin's shorter fiction. This volume is presented roughly chronologically and at the same time thematically. Each section is prefaced with the book's biggest bonus: an essay-style biographical introduction that describes Martin's mindset at the time he wrote the stories, influences on the work, how they saw publication, and the reception each enjoyed.

The first two sections contain his early efforts, growing in quality and hinting at the accomplished author he was later to become. A focus on science fiction comes next, with his earliest published successes. Collected together their common universe becomes apparent, yet each stands alone. I was especially looking forward to the fourth section focussed on fantasy, although I found none of them to be suggestive of the tone and style of his recent novels. I enjoyed all of the stories in these section, although I'd admit "The Stone City" was the weakest link.

The last section in this first volume is for the horror genre, which I've never been a fan of and was tempted to skip. However, this section proves to contain his best work. Some is easily categorized as sf, including this volume's highlight "Sandkings" (his most famous work outside of "Ice and Fire") which fits neatly into the universe presented in the earler sf section.

A collection like this invites contrast between its first and last story, and doing so demonstrates how well Martin has honed his craft over the years. Any fan of the author should not resist this set, for its several memorable pieces. Their presentation here is especially of interest for those of an age with Martin who may share his memories, and for the education and inspiration it can offer to any would-be author. ( )
  Cecrow | Nov 30, 2009 |
I'm not normally a fan of short stories, however I picked this up as I am a fan of George R.R. Martin. This was excellent from the standpoint that it really gives you and idea of how Martin has developed into the author he is today. The process he has gone through to get to where he is, and the shaping of his stories by life's experience are fascinating. This really shows you the everyday side of GRRM. Overall and excellent read. ( )
  trinibaby9 | Nov 24, 2009 |
Like many of his current readers, I was vaguely aware that Martin wrote more than epic fantasy, but I hadn't read any of it. Dreamsongs is the perfect cure for that. This first volume roughly spans his the first half of his career, from the comics fanzines of the 60s to the horror boom of the 80s.

Martin notes that many of these stories were intended to be the starting points of series. It's quite unfortunate that they didn't come to fruition, as many of the characters and settings are very intriguing. I would have loved to be able to find more "Thousand World" (Martin's main sci-fi universe) stories... or see more of Gray Alys' unfortunate clients.

The comment/mini-memoir pieces that introduce each section provide great context for the stories.

While nearly all of the stories are excellent, the very first one, "Only Kids Are Afraid Of The Dark", is a bit rough. You have to admire Martin's guts, though... many authors would sooner curl up and die than let one of their green adolescent stories out into the wild. ( )
  CKmtl | Apr 28, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black, ClaudiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dotrice, RoyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guest, Kim MaiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R. R.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendenhall, BarryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paul, AdrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Phipps, of course,
there is a road, no simple highway,
between the dawn and the dark of night.
I'm glad you're here to walk it with me.
First words
Although he's been a major player in several different genres for more than thirty years, has won Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards, and World Fantasy Awards, George R. R. Martin has finally made it, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Introduction by Gardner Dozois -- A four-color fanboy -- Only kids are afraid of the dark -- The fortress -- And death his legacy -- The filthy pro -- The hero -- The exit to San Breta -- The second kind of loneliness -- With morning comes mistfall -- The light of distant stars -- A song for Lya -- This tower of ashes -- And seven times never kill man -- The stone city -- Bitterblooms -- The way of cross and dragon -- The heirs of Turtle Castle -- The lonely songs of Laren Dorr -- The ice dragon -- In the lost lands -- Hybrids and horrors -- Meathouse man -- Remembering Melody -- Sandkings -- Nightflyers -- The monkey treatment -- The pear-shaped man.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553805452, Hardcover)

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, #1 New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin is a giant in the field of fantasy literature and one of the most exciting storytellers of our time. Now he delivers a rare treat for readers: a compendium of his shorter works, collected into two stunning volumes, that offer fascinating insight into his journey from young writer to award-winning master.

Gathered here, in Volume I, are the very best of George R.R. Martin’s early works, including never-before-published fan pieces, his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Award-winning stories—plus the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin’s New York Times bestselling children’s book of the same title originated. A dazzling array that features extensive author commentary, Dreamsongs, Volume I, is the perfect collection for both Martin devotees and a new generation of fans.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Gathered here in Volume I are the very best of George R. R. Martin's early works, including never-before-published fan pieces, his Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards-winning stories - plus the original novella The Ice Dragon, from which Martin's New York Times bestselling children's book of the same title originated."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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