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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  4,288 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Back in print, McIntyre's tender and compassionate adventure story--a Hugo and Nebula Award-winner and a New York Times bestseller. In a far-future, post-holocaust Earth, a young healer named Snake travels the world, healing the sick and injured with her companion, the alien dreamsnake. But she is being pursued. . . .
Paperback, 312 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Spectra Books (first published 1978)
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While this book gets docked a point or two for the cheesy 70s cover and the title, it deserves a place among the classics of the genre. I first read the Nebula-winning novella "Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand," in middle school, but I never realized that McIntyre had expanded it to novel length. It's a thoughtful adventure, a quest led by a mature and confident heroine, Snake. I love her as a character: she knows who she is, she is good at what she does, and she is comfortable in her own skin. I al...more
Mike Moore
Look, I read a lot of science fiction. Enough that I would mention it. So I have a pretty high tolerance for silliness. This book overwhelmed my tolerance and left me staggered by the sheer nonsense of it all.

Welcome to a post-apocalyptic future where isolated communities blunder about in moral turpitude waiting for an oddly naive young woman to come straighten them out with good sense and her trusty snakes. You see, snakes are used as drug dispensers in the future, and the woman (who's also nam...more

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They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career - for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another. Snake's only hope was to find a new dreamsnake - and on her ques...more
A very odd book by modern standards, but one that is strikingly of its era. Manages to do some things very badly (dialogue, most of the characterisation (the central character is solid and likeable but a Mary Sue and not all that distinctive, while the supporting cast are mostly two(or fewer)-dimensional and also somewhat MSish), a lot of the plot details), yet do others very well (descriptive prose; setting and its exploration, some of the emotional stuff).

Sort of like a less-good Ursula Le Gu...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
As with all post-apocalyptic books by women, this one has a wonderful gentle tone. Maybe it is because men always cause the destruction of the world. So their story must be a redemptive one. The stories by/about women are much more about healing and remembering.
Nutshell: oneiromancer replaces plot-significant serpent, then celebrates by screwing some wasteland mutants.

Has a piece of Tehanu insofar as key relationship in the story is female protagonist and adopted girl, who is a victim of a sexual offense.

Likewise has a piece of This Immortal, The Einstein Intersection, or A Canticle for Leibowitz to the extent that it is set in a nuclear wasteland, has some spacefarers or aliens, is contaminated by mutants, and follows a peregrinating protagonist. It’s...more
Andreea Daia
Quick and dirty reading notes and (i)relevant thoughts
(I read this novel a while ago, but I decided to go back and write a review, since is so little known. And what a pity that is. )

✐ This is a very different kind of science-fiction and I read that the author had trouble finding a publisher since most folks took it for fantasy. In fact Dreamsnake reads like a classic western, and it's only the brief details (mentions of genetic engineering, craters of atomic bombs, collapsed domes of alien spa...more
I wouldn't have read Dreamsnake without one of my groups on GR reading it, I think. It's not something I would've come across otherwise, but I'm glad I did. It reminded me, in tone, of The Steerswoman (Rosemary Kirstein), and like The Steerswoman, it has a mature female main character who gets done whatever needs to be got done in her field, without too much fear of outsiders.

I liked the world built up in glimpses, here: way post-apocalyptic event, a whole different sort of living... the hints o...more
Absorbing story set in a well-realized world. The tale of one lone woman travelling through a harsh land and cultures differentiated by different levels & awareness of technology.

I really appreciated how little info-dump exposition there is in this book. Everything arises from characters interacting with one another, a seemingly off-hand description here and there with no particular fanfare. These seem like genuine thoughts and actions from people who LIVE in their world, with entire lives'...more
In Dreamsnake, Vonda McIntyre tells a captivating and moving story about a healer, Snake, and her quest to find a new dreamsnake after the death of her first, Grass. Along the way, she meets a man, adopts a young girl, travels great distances, and overcomes many hardships, physical and emotional. She proves herself to be honorable, strong, wise, and the kind of character a reader can really care about.

The relationship that develops between Snake and Melissa, the young girl she adopts, is deep a...more
SF. Snake is a healer on her proving year, travelling the vaguely post-apocalyptic landscape (there's always a vague apocalypse) to treat illness and injury using the venom of her snakes, but when her dreamsnake is killed she must find a new source for the extremely rare creature or she will no longer be able to work as a healer.

This reads like an Anne McCaffrey book, except with more restraint. It's melodramatic -- the girl's name is Snake! only three other healers have ever been given that nam...more
Luke Burrage
Interesting world, good characters and a satisfying story.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #228.
Aug 11, 2010 Cathy marked it as they-say-i-should-but-i-pass
From the reviews it appears that I'm probably too old to enjoy reading this for the first time. Or maybe too cynical and critical, qualities that came with age for sure. I'm not sure that the book was even written for YA, it's impact seems well beyond the subdivision. But it appears to require an openness that perhaps I no longer carry.

I'm frequently comfortable with putting on my Young Adult hat and enjoying books aimed at younger readers, but it usually only works for me with fantasy/adventur...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Why do female science fiction authors write like female science fiction authors? Do they have to be so stereotypical? Their ability to write characters is shit, which is extra annoying because women are supposed to be so fucking empathetic.

“Dreamsnake” is written like some sort of personal fantasy of a science fiction high school loner. In it, the female heroine is a healer in a post-nuclear warfare Earth. She goes from place to place, helping people, but none of the places and events are intere...more
Michael Woods
As I re-read this novel, the House GOP is currently attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act - an action that, if they are successful, would restrict access to health care for millions of Americans. So, I can't help but think of the themes of this book in terms of the current political debate. The concerns McIntyre raises in this novel over thirty years ago - access to health care, the hoarding of important resources by a privileged few - remain as poignant today as they did then. It seems w...more
Maree  ♫ Light's Shadow ♪
So for a while there, I couldn't remember if I'd actually finished this book or not. I knew I can been really close, but didn't want to take it with me on my commute just to read for five minutes and then carry around for the rest of the day. Turned out I hadn't, but I might as well have--there wasn't much to the ending.

I liked the world and concepts behind it, but for me the adventure kind of dragged. It seemed like a lot of traveling for not a lot of gain. She makes it all the way to the gates...more
Jan Priddy
This is one of the great ones from back when I walked the SF&F shelves of the University Book Store in Seattle, looking for feminist SF. I would pick up any book with a woman author, or with a woman on the cover, so long as the picture didn't show the woman being carried—a bad sign.

This is an egalitarian post-nuclear holocaust novel. The world as we know it is gone, but science takes a back seat to humanity in this story, which is adventurous, romantic without being smarmy, and also pretty...more
...I liked Dreamsnake a lot, the writing, characterization and setting are all very well done. I can't quite shake the feeling that the premise of the novel a bit flawed, that value of the Dreamsnake is way overrated. It neither cures nor kills. In effect, it eases the suffering of those for which no treatment is possible any more. That is important of course, nobody likes to see their loved ones suffering, but curing people is Snake's trade. She feels much more handicapped by the loss of the Dr...more
When a book is set in the far future and an apocalyptic even has created a clean break from the past, it's easier for a Sci-Fi book to age.

While it is indeed a products of it's time, there any glaring anachronisms.

We take a journey in a broken world with a broken past. While we are subjected to stereotypes the world as a whole is rich and interesting and the plot isn't simplified and doesn't offer simple solutions.
Dec 02, 2009 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci Fi readers
I really enjoyed this book. It has a great post-apocalyptic vibe to it, somewhat like the Fallout series. I really liked the journey Snake makes, both literally and figuratively. Definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys good Science Fiction.
Tiffany Vincent
I read this my freshman year of high school, and I've read it several times since. It does exactly what good post-apocalyptic fiction should: Use the extreme setting to showcase characters' humanity (or lack thereof).

You can read the first couple of chapters for free at http://www.bookviewcafe.com
This book was an interesting spotlight of the culture of a post apocalyptic earth. The idea of a healer who travels the country providing health care to the different tribes of people, was well thought out and was a effective way to showcase the diversity of culture that had developed in a relatively small area after modern modes of transportation was destroyed. I also like that there were certain technologies that survived the destruction, and other you would expect to endure, that were lost.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
An interesting story about a healer in a post-apocalyptic world. The story has a slightly odd mix of modern technology and primitive reversion. Parts of the story are very good, but some of it seemed a bit meandering. Still, a very solid tale.
Katharine Kimbriel
Outstanding science fiction that is as timely and entertaining today as it was when I first read it. Interesting characters -- even the walk-ons -- and situations, people you care about -- definitely try this one. I don't think you'll regret it!
This one's been out there quite a while, but evidently stands the test of time according to someone who read it quite recently. It was one of the first SciFi novels I read with a strong, credible female protagonist.
This is an all time favorite of mine. I've read it at least three times, but it's one of those books that you enjoy in different ways depending on where you are in your own life.
Mike Nowak
Vonda sticks it to sexist, male dominated, classic sci-fi with her heroic she doctor. Ah, Snake.
Ruth Anne Corbett
This is my favourite book of all time about to re-read again
This book was awesome.
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Vonda Neel McIntyre is a U.S. science fiction author. She is one of the first successful graduates of the Clarion Science fiction writers workshop. She attended the workshop in 1970. By 1973 she had won her first Nebula Award, for the novelette "Of Mist, and Grass and Sand." This later became part of the novel Dreamsnake, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The novelette and novel both conc...more
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