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The Dream Master (1966)

by Roger ZELAZNY

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1212418,358 (3.4)25
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.… (more)
  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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» See also 25 mentions

English (21)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
If you are a reader who enjoys surrealism, dream-fiction, and authors who make it seem like they are deep-diving into the consciousness/subconsciousness of the human being, then you might enjoy this novel.

Zelazny name-drops a lot. He peppers his writing in this one with Freud, Adler, Jung, et al. I don't think many readers have read Erikson and Adler - they aren't read anymore like they were in the 1960s. Zelazny speculates a lot - through his character's lectures and discursions, Zelazny allows his own speculations and ideas to come to light. However, in 2024, it feels like a sort of A.I. writing - all the words seem to say something and it seems intelligent, but the content and substance isn't there and the subtle lacking is only apparent once the reader thinks about what he just read - as well-written as it was.

Zelazny also loves to bring out his knowledge of mythology - several times he runs through myths, molding them and interpreting them to suit his "storyline." To me, some of this (not all) seems supercilious. And after having read several Zelazny novels, he no longer impresses me with it (if he ever did).

There is a lot going on in this book: the mutant dogs, the relationship with Render's mentor, the backstory and the relationship with Render's son. There are moments with the secretaries in Render's building and the theme of suicide is constant. There are symbols (suit of armor, skiing, cathedrals). There is also a built-in soundtrack: I actually chuckled at the Wagner/Respighi mix up - because I can hear how funny that is. HOWEVER: nothing that goes on has any meaning/purpose. Its too random and untied. Its plotless and meandering and so it seems like all these bits could build and crescendo and instead just feel scattered and lost.

I think some reviewers believe that by identifying the writing style as "fever dream" or similar, that they are asserting something decisive. I agree, its surreal in tone - but so what? And then what? I think the readers must find some sort of camaraderie with their own dreams. A shared sensation, in a sense. But what if the sensation is not all that interesting? What's the point, then?

[As a sidenote, it is well-known that readers should also read the relevant short fiction "He Who Shapes" (1965) which was the genesis of this novel.] ( )
  Ruskoley | Jun 17, 2024 |
I don’t know why this one is largely under the radar. Imaginative, nicely written, vision of the future which isn’t so wrong -love the dog.

But is there anybody who has read this and understands the ongoing part of the man walking along the road who ends up killing himself? Is this Render? Is this how he escapes being trapped in another person’s dream? Is everything that happens in the book a dream except for this part of it?

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-dream-master-by-roger... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I don’t know why this one is largely under the radar. Imaginative, nicely written, vision of the future which isn’t so wrong -love the dog.

But is there anybody who has read this and understands the ongoing part of the man walking along the road who ends up killing himself? Is this Render? Is this how he escapes being trapped in another person’s dream? Is everything that happens in the book a dream except for this part of it?

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-dream-master-by-roger... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I don’t know why this one is largely under the radar. Imaginative, nicely written, vision of the future which isn’t so wrong -love the dog.

But is there anybody who has read this and understands the ongoing part of the man walking along the road who ends up killing himself? Is this Render? Is this how he escapes being trapped in another person’s dream? Is everything that happens in the book a dream except for this part of it?

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-dream-master-by-roger... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I'm not a great fan of this book, where Psychiatry is done by Telepathy and by team.. There are a few interesting bits where oour hero is slipping into the mess before him. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 20, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
ZELAZNY, RogerAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
VELEZ, WalterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velez, 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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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.

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