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Dreamsongs Volume II (Dreamsongs, #2)
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Dreamsongs Volume II (Dreamsongs #2)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,241 ratings  ·  88 reviews
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, all collected into two stunning volumes, that offer fascinating insight into his journey from y ...more
Hardcover, 740 pages
Published November 27th 2007 by Bantam Spectra (first published 2003)
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28th out of 47 books — 26 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,995)
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Stephen
3.5 stars. Part Two of this great collection of George R. R. Martin's short story work. Includes two Haviland Tuf stories, the Skin Trade, the excellent "The Hedge Knight" and more.
Jay Dee
I picked up Volume Two of Martin's Dreamsongs with high hopes, still in the literary equivalent to post-orgasmic throes after concluding Volume One. The book began with stories of Tuf, which further heightened my expectations for the rest of the book. Tuf is a wonderful character, and the stories were great.

But from there... Hollywood happened.

Martin obviously tried too hard to appease Hollywood bigwigs... I suppose anyone would do the same to get ahead in their career, and Martin expected his c
...more
Ana Paula
I decided to write a small text about each of the short stories as I read them. I'm not going to hide the review, but beware of spoilers.

A Beast for Norn - Funny and entertaining! A little bit like a fable, or a tale too. For the first story of the Tuf series, it left me with a good impression.

Guardians - I was so hooked that I read it really fast, to know what was gonna happen, how he was going to solve the problem. I love the cat names (Foolishness, Ingratitude and Doubt) and how Tuf talks to
...more
Raj
I came to this collection having never actually read any George R. R. Martin before. I've heard of A Song of Ice and Fire but have never read it, but I had read good reviews of this retrospective (or Rretrospective as the book itself puts it) and wasn't disappointed. This volume contained fewer but longer stories than its predecessor but held the same format of grouping stories by theme, each with an introduction by the author. The first and third sections are single universes where Martin wrote ...more
Curtis
Feb 29, 2008 Curtis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: well fans of George R R martin
Pretty good, not as interesting as the first book. In this one his style has seemed to firm up, not nearly as much variance as in the earlier volume. Also, the personal interstitials, the best part, for me, of the first book, become more of a "this is where I was in my, life this is what I was working on" kind of rote listing, as opposed to the earlier's, "this is where I got my inspiration from" or, "after failing in this I decided to try things this way" kind of narrative. And then his last en ...more
Anna
Very very mixed-bag.
First Haviland Tuf story is great, the second is really boring. "Glass Flower" is just a clusterfuck, there I said it!
"Under Siege" reads almost like an Outer Limits episode, and then the actual Twilight Zone episode he wrote for real puts me to sleep
"The Skin Trade" involved modern city and werewolves and is great! .. but some of the "cuts" between scenes were pure television. Perfect ending too - fades out to black in just the right moment
"Unsound Variations" - another not
...more
Malquiviades
Quite close to a 5 star.

There are plenty of good storytelling here. Many of them I will remember for a very, very long time (which it is unusual in my case). And this is a clear indication that the book itself is a remarkable one.

The thing that makes that even so it is that it is a collection of short stories, following Martin's work from the early ones into the well developed professional writer and screenplayer he is today. You cannot say that there is any bad one here. All of them are really
...more
Jenny
Martin may be the greatest storyteller I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but this time I mean it. As evidenced by these collections, I'll read anything by him: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, crazy amalgams of these, anything. It's the characters who matter, and Martin creates the best characters I've ever been around. He is also a master of the show-not-tell school of storytelling: a must with me.

My favorite story in this volume was definitely "The Hedge Knight." I'
...more
Bette
Just that : Liked It, because I
Didn't Like
All of it. I've read all of George R R Martin, and the latest and greatest, most recent heavy stuff (past few years) makes me want to revisit the really old stuff.
Denis Materna
Unsound Variations, about a time travelling chess player keen on revenge, brilliant. Journal of Xavier also a great piece about being different, about making the most with what you've got. The Glass Flower, great also, made me think about reincarnation and death and life, one I'd like to read again along with Unsound Variations. Portraits of his Children also a brilliant ingenius piece. I didn't enjoy the Wildcard stories much nor the TV scipts too much either.
Chris
It's a credit to Martin's brilliance that I can't figure out what type of story he writes best (commercial success notwithstanding). My three favorite pieces in this collection ("The Skin Trade," "The Hedge Knight," and "Portraits of his Children") differ in genre and scope, but not in quality.

The rating takes a hit for not quite being on the same level as Dreamsongs, Vol. I, but there's still plenty to like.
Pamela Scott
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. The collection contained some amazing stand-out stories. I thought both stories about Haviland Tuf were excellent. A Beast for Norn was excellent and very original. Guardians comes a close second. I many just read the novel Tuf Voyaging that contains a few tales about this interesting character. Dreamsongs Volume 2 contains two scripts from the period in Martin’s Career when he was writing more for television than any other form of media; The Twilight ...more
Shauna Thompson
Fantastic compilation, my personal favorites were A Beast for Norn, Guardians, From the Journal of Xavier Desmond, The Skin Trade, and The Hedge Knight (though I liked The Skin Trade best).
Jeff
GRRM shows some good writing range with this compilation. In this book he talks about the old views that people used to have on what makes "Science Fiction" and GRRM has talked before about putting fiction in Genres, making distinctions between SCI-FI and FANTASY, etc. His view on it is that they are all just stories and the difference is whether they happen in a mideival setting, in space, or the modern world. His collection here proved that to me. I enjoyed virtually all of these stories, some ...more
Michael
The second volume of Dreamsongs was filled with another batch of interesting and exciting stories. Like the first volume there was a few stories that did not really grab me or that I cared all that much for and there were stories that were just amazing.


I enjoyed the stories in Volume II slightly more than Volume I.

From my love of A Song of Ice and Fire I really enjoyed the 'Hedge Knight'. I first read this story in the graphical novel and then read it again here in this volume and the story was
...more
Althea Ann
(Review of both Book One and Book Two)
Got both of these anthologies from the library. Together, they're a great retrospective of Martin's career.
They're worth reading, for any Martin fan, even completists who've already read nearly everything in them, as Martin introduces and arranges the contents. His commentary on the stories is worth the price of admission alone.
It starts off with a hilarious (and, admittedly, hilariously bad) fantasy story first published in an independent fanzine when Marti
...more
Jesse Whitehead
Martin is perhaps the most natural story teller I have ever encountered. His words seem to flow so smoothly and tell stories so easily that is sounds like it just fell out of his fingers like a divine gift.

Maybe it is. I don’t know.

There are a few stories in this particular collection that I would skip entirely – in fact I wish I had never read them. However, they are undeniably beautifully written and heartbreakingly lonely.

On the other hand there are other stories that I loved so much that I c
...more
Peter
Anthologies of short stories by famous authors can be tricky to review because the stories are written separately over several decades. I usually find that earlier stories written when the author was struggling are better than later stories written as a side project in between major novels. Dreamsongs seems to be an exception to this rule in that I enjoyed the later works as much or more than the earlier ones. Overall, I think the author's strength is in his characters, not his plots, and I woul ...more
Alex Telander
In this second and final volume of George R. R. Martin’s short works, readers are treated to his writings of the 1980’s leading up to the 90s when his career took off with the eventual success of his Song of Ice and Fire series. It is in this collection that we learn more of Martin’s dabbling into television and screenwriting, as well his exploits into the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

Divided into four parts, the first covers two stories involving Martin’s eccentric character Haviland Tuf, an
...more
Jacob
After reading the latest book of "Song of Ice and Fire" saga I decided to look into other works of GRRM. Not knowing what to expect I picked the second part of "Dreamsongs" due to a rather obvious reason - "Hedge Knight". I was also happy to find out that "Wildcards" episodes are also included in this part of the book.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It includes some brilliant novels (The Hedge Knight and The Skin Trade to name the few) which made me get out on my bus stop and sit there f
...more
Myles
The second in the two-part "Rretrospective" (obnoxious), this volume does not hold as many great quality stories but is still worth reading. This volume contains samples from his, in my opinion, b-team: Tuf, Wild Cards, and TV scripts among other things.

What redeems this volume, however is the last section "The Heart in Conflict," stories which are Martin at his easy best. Skinchangers, Portraits of His Children and Unsound Variations are excellent examples of short fiction. This also includes
...more
Joe Maddox
Overall, this is a solid collection of some of Martin's short stories. The selection is diverse, ranging from sci-fi to television scripts to interstitial essays that bind together the different sections of the volume.

Like most of Martin's work, the characters get first billing over the plot. I don't mean to imply that Martin's plots are weak, far from it. But Stories happen to the Characters here, not vice versa; I might add that Martin is in no way shy about this facet of his writing, nor shou
...more
Edward
Nov 07, 2008 Edward rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
You may ask why I give the audio version of this book 5 stars and the book itself only 4 stars.

Audio: The author is heard. The selected stories include the best in the book.
Paper: More stories, but the "less than best" bring the rating down.

The book has 2 "Wild Card" stories. I never read one before and I'll never read one again. I didn't like the "Tuf" stories either. Ok, I'm not a typical fan.

The book also has the "The Hedge Knight," an "Ice and Fire" prequel that got me ravenous for the ne
...more
Linda
This volume brings us to Wild Cards and Westeros, the two Martin creations that I've enjoyed the most.

While I'd read the Wild Cards material before it was fun to read again and getting the back story on Wild Cards was very itneresting.

The Hedge Knight, a prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire was itneresting, though too brief. It left me wanting more.

The other stories varied in how well they captivated me.

Collectively, the two Dreamsongs volumes do a good job of showing the breadth of Martin's litera
...more
Silvana
Two stars are shared: one for the Dunk and Egg novella and another for the fact that my ebook copy doesn't have the two Tuf stories (weird...) . Anyway, Dreamsongs volume I was awesome so I have high expectations for this one. And boy, do I have my wish.

I seriously can't pick any novella that I could enjoy than The Hedge Knight. No wonder I took such a long time to finish this book. The other stories either boring or uninteresting or combination of both.
Shane Kiely
As A whole I preferred Book One, but this collection has it's strong stories. My personal high points include the second Haviland Tuf story Guardians, Martin's script Doorways was intriguing & imminently readable, The Skin Trade & The Hedge Knight. Unsound Variations was also a unique concept though it wandered into (to my mind) very technical chess terminology at some pints that caused my attention to wander. The collection ends strongly with Portraits of his children which I enjoyed mo ...more
Martin Jensen
I love the books of GRRM and here we have a collection of shortstories from his earlier works. Fantastic shortstories in their own right but they really do, is making me want to read more. From the stories about the intergalactic ecological engineer Haviland Tuf over earlier Wild Cards stories to the two amazing and awardwinning stories: 'The Skin Trade' - a horror about werewolfes and 'The Hedge Knight' - a story about Dunk & Egg set in Westeros about 80 years before A Game of Thrones. Even ...more
Bookworm Sean
I really enjoyed some of the short stories within this but hated others. The shell games and the like bored me senseless but unsound variations and portraits of his children were excellent. The Tuf stories were good as well.
The main reason I have given this four stars is because of the Hedge Knight. After reading a song of ice and fire, I was naturally craving more from Westeros and these eighty two pages satisfied my craving, temporarily. It is a fantastic read, featuring a tourney combat betwe
...more
Doreen
I'd never read The Hedge Knight long-form, just the graphic novel that does no justice to it. It made me nostalgic for the Song Of Ice And Fire cycle, the novels that Martin is most celebrated for. I did very much enjoy the last story, as well, and thought it was layered enough to deserve non-genre accolades.

That said, I enjoyed this book very much as a retrospective of an author I admire but it does not feel very fulfilling in and of itself. The quality is definitely better on the whole than th
...more
Heather
This took me almost literally forever. GRRM does not know the meaning of the word 'short.' I wish I'd had the first volume first, but it wasn't to be found at the used bookstore, so I went ahead with this, mainly for the ASOIAF 'prequel' The Hedge Knight. That story was probably my favorite of the book. The rest was kind of a hodge podge of mostly uninteresting or really dated works. I liked The Glass Flower, Portraits of His Children was disturbing but pretty good, the werewolf story was ok if ...more
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Favorite story from the two volumes? 3 6 Nov 12, 2014 06:18AM  
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George R. R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,
...more
More about George R.R. Martin...
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4) A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

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“Why must we draw these lines, these fine distinctions, these labels and barriers that set us apart? Ace and nat and joker, capitalist and communist, Catholic and Protestant, Arab and Jew, Indian and Latino, and on and on everywhere, and of course true humanity is to be found only on our side of the line and we feel free to oppress and rape and kill the "other," whoever he might be. (From the Journal of Xavier Desmond)” 5 likes
“What can you say about pain?
Words can trace only the shadow of the thing itself. The reality of hard, sharp physical pain is like nothing else, and it is beyond language. The world is too much with us, day and night, but when we hurt, when we really hurt, the world melts and fades and becomes a ghost, a dim memory, a silly unimportant thing. Whatever ideals, dreams, loves, fears, and thoughts we might have had become ultimately unimportant. We are alone with our pain, it is the only force in the cosmos, the only thing of substance, the only thing that matters, and if the pain is bad enough and lasts long enough, if it is the sort of agony that goes on and on, then all the things that are our humanity melt before it and the proud sophisticated computer that is the human brain becomes capable of but a single thought:
Make it stop, make it STOP! (from The Glass Flower)”
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