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The Dream Master

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,667 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Originally published in 1965 as the Nebula winning novella "He Who Shapes".

The last really unexplored frontier of knowledge may well prove to be the human mind. THE DREAM MASTER is the novel of that farther frontier, of a Twenty-first Century invention which enabled a psychology engineer to actually enter a man's mind, to experience his thoughts, to live with him his dream
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Mass Market Paperback, F-403, 155 pages
Published October 1966 by Ace Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,794)
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Evgeny
If you ever saw the movie Inception, I really do not need to describe the book to you; all of the major ideas of the movie came straight out of this book. Anyhow, Charles Render is a Shaper, in other words he is a psychiatrist who treats people by entering their dreams and changing them for the benefit of the patients. When a woman asks him to help her become a Shaper he is sure it is completely impossible in her case as she is blind from birth. He is still interested enough to try. In fact he i ...more
Erik Graff
Jul 18, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in psychodynamics or Zelazny
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I encountered the novella in a Nebula Awards Collection while in college, then acquired the expanded version years later. Both were impressive, the novella moreso.

The question of inner states, of private thoughts has long intrigued me. As B.F. Skinner was apt to point out, the only aspect of human being which is scientifically scrutinizable currently is objective human behavior. I will go futher and assert that subjectivity does not exist in any strong sense. There are no truly private thoughts.
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William
Compared to modern SF novels the length of this book might almost be closer to being a short story than a novel but Zelazny does mange to pack more ideas into a short space than many other manage in much longer works.

The main character, Render, is a dream therapist who works by manipulating the dreams of his patients to turn them into immersive experiences where Render shapes the dreams to help his clients gain new perspectives on their issues. This is a perilous occupation since if the therapi
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Dan Schwent
Charles Render is a Shaper, a type of psychiatrist who adminsters therapy via sort of a psychic virtual reality. Enter Eileen Shallot, a woman blind from birth who wants to be a Shaper and wants Render to teach her to see.

I actually don't have a lot to say about this one. While I liked it, it was a little on the meh side of the Zelazny spectrum. I really liked the Shaper concept and the talking dogs but didn't really care about the characters.
Helmut
Ab auf die Couch!
Ich habe nichts gegen Verwirrspiele in Büchern. Ich habe aber deutlich was gegen diesen künstlichen Kryptizismus, mit dem manche Autoren versuchen, Pseudotiefe in ihre Werke einzubringen - ich nenne das den Morrison-Effekt, der nur darauf abzielt, den Leser mit offenem Mund vor der Erudiertheit des Geistesgewitters zurückzulassen, anstatt ihm die gleiche Komplexität in einer lesbaren, nachvollziehbaren Form auszuarbeiten. Es ist einfach Faulheit, wenn ein Autor die Interpretatio
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Leonardo
"The universe did not invent justice. Man did. Unfortunately, man must reside in the universe."

A little hard to review this one. It's one of those books that I like even though it makes me feel very intellectually diminished. It makes me feel like a ape trying to figure out sarcasm, to put it simply.

You see, even though I clearly missed a lot of references to a lot of things, I feel I did understood more than less of what was going on, but some parts I just didn't understand. Some simply seemed
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Iván
Es por esto que amo la ciencia ficción. La necesad de Zelazny de meter mitología para todo a veces resulta muy molesta, pero logré que no me molestara mucho asumiendo que era parte del ejercicio de Render. Quizás los diálogos eran algo forzados (leí una traducción bastante mal editada, quizás eso no ayudó) y se pecaba un poco de "veamos cuantas referencias puedo meter por parrafo" pero aún así funcionaban o por lo menos funcionó para mí. La trama me fascinó. El mundo que nos presenta, un mundo d ...more
Alazzar
Huh. I just finished reading The Dream Master, and I’m not quite sure what to say. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t quite understand everything.

I know that this was originally based on a Nebula-winning novella called He Who Shapes, and I definitely wonder if the novella is the superior version of this story. It seemed like there were a lot of scenes and sections that weren’t really necessary.

But, once again—maybe I just didn’t get it.

Sometimes when I read Zelazny, I’ll come across
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Manny
Did anyone else think of this classic 60s SF novel when they watched Inception? I certainly did.
Denzil Pugh
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 ne
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Lee Krieger
I originally read this book back in the early 80's and remembered it fondly.
I just reread it and was sadly disappointed.

Maybe they just floated over my head when I read them as a young adult, but the endless obscure literary references got increasingly annoying, and I kept wondering what they had to do with the story. It was as if Zelazny was trying to impress his readers with his vast knowledge and understanding of science, music and literature... like it was a job interview.

Dude... what happe
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Raj
Jun 05, 2010 Raj rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
This is a story of a Shaper, Charles Render, who is part artist, part psychologist, as he shapes people's dreams to try and cure psychological problems. His latest case is unique: Eileen Shallot, a blind psychologist who wants to become a Shaper herself but must be cured of her sight-neurosis before she can begin.

Being a book about dreams, this book had plenty of dream imagery, whole sections that didn't seem to fit into the main storyline, but which made sense in their own dream-logic. The end
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Simon
An interesting premise with a weak execution in a needlessly fragmented narrative. It wasn't a long novel but I felt that it would have either worked better as a short story or fleshed out in more depth as a longer novel.

Surprisingly, this book one a nebula award (or so the blurb on the cover claims) which just goes to show that winning an award is not always a good indicator of quality. Despite its award this is not one of Zelazny's well-remembered novels and, as far as I am concerned, for good
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Matus
The first half or so of the book was pretty rough; it was a little preachy and awkward, trying a little hard, and moreover tediously brought in a lot of usual Zelazny elements: writes himself into the book as someone attractive to women and generally superior to his colleagues (but unwilling to engage in direct competition), there is some form of magic, and there is obsession with death.

But the details and setting were nice and interesting, and even in the rough parts there were interesting elem
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Sean McLachlan
Zelazny's 1965 Nebula winner is a classic of 1960s New Wave science fiction. It follows Render the Shaper, a psychologist who attempts to help his patients by going with them into their dream worlds. Render has his own psychological problems, however, and when he meets a blind, attractive, female psychologist who wants to follow in his professional footsteps, trouble ensues. Render is at first hesitant about the impact the colorful dream world will have on someone who has never had sight, but it ...more
Fabio Carta
Si capisce subito che, per quanto il romanzo datato 1966 sia appartenente al glorioso passato della fantascienza, qui siamo davanti ad un'opera diversa, più matura, letteraria e decisamente più colta del solito romanzo d'avventura fantascientifica di facile e rapida fruizione. Le tecnologie immaginarie non sono spiegate e sono solo particolari di un trama sfuggente, piena più di interrogativi che di spiegazioni; personaggi mai scontati, antipatici ma maledettamente reali. Uno stile fatto di sugg ...more
Alexandra Rolo
Não é o meu primeiro livro de Roger Zelanzy mas custou tanto a ler que mais parecia o primeiro. Depois do Senhor da Luz veio o Senhor dos Sonhos (ele tem uma pancada qualquer com Senhor / Lord).
É uma leitura interessante que nos leva para um mundo com tecnologia bem mais avançada que a nossa e que nos deixa a pensar. Talvez por me levar a parar tantas vezes, para ponderar um pouco sobre o que tinha lido, é que me custou tanto.
Viajar até à mente de outro, ou partilhar um mundo construído apenas n
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George
Αυτό είναι το τέταρτο βιβλίο του Ρότζερ Ζελάζνυ που διαβάζω, μετά τα εξαιρετικά Ο Κύριος του Φωτός και Επιστροφή στη Γη και το ενδιαφέρον Ο Γυρισμός του Δήμιου, και ενώ σε καμία περίπτωση δεν φτάνει την ποιότητα και την αξία των δυο πρώτων βιβλίων, σίγουρα πρόκειται για μια ενδιαφέρουσα ανάγνωση.

Το βιβλίο γράφηκε το 1966 και πρέπει να ήταν αρκετά μπροστά από την εποχή του, όσον αφορά την ψυχιατρική επιστήμη, μιας και οι μέθοδοι που αναλύονται μέσα στο βιβλίο τότε δεν υπήρχαν καν, με το ηλεκτροσ
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Gaisce
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 class
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Elsa
Charles Render pénètre les rêves des gens, ou plutôt il leur insuffle des rêves afin que ses patients prennent compte de leurs souci dans la réalité. Ce travail d'artiste est le fruit d'un long labeur, qui rythme sa vie, jusqu'à ce qu'il rencontre une jeune psychiatre aveugle de naissance, qui le convainc de la former à cet art dangereux. Les voilà partis pour de longues découvertes visuelles et sensorielles, mais les motifs de la jeune femme sont tout autre que ceux qu'elle a présenté au médeci ...more
Paul
I love this story. The fact that it can be construed as circular (and there are some good arguments to this effect) really adds to my enjoyment of the story, and it's something that can really only be appreciated under certain conditions (which is one of the reasons I rated it shy of perfection):
* you have to read it more than once to catch it
* you have to be familiar with some of the symbolic imagery, such as kabalism
* familiarity with a couple different versions of Tristan & Isolde, sin
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Darya Conmigo
I want this to be a TV Series.

Just imagine: a series of episodes with a new dream being created in each one of them. Assassination of Caesar, last day of Atlantis, and whatever other grandiose scenario can pop up into Render'd head. The story of Eileen can get a better chance to develop and get to its logical conclusion. Sigmund-the-talking-dog would make an awesome character! Seriously, I would watch it. Can someone suggest it to HBO?

My overall impressions. One of the first Zelazny's novels rew
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in December 2001.

Psychiatric care in the future is not a particularly common theme in science fiction, possibly because even though it has developed rapidly through the twentieth century it seems that many of its fundamental precepts are not yet very strongly established - so how can we guess what ideas and techniques will be available in the future? One idea that does seem clear is that dreams play some vital role, both in diagnosis and as part of the mind's
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Andrewcharles420
Roger Zelazny's "The Dream Master" was set around the turn of the millennium, then ~40 years in the future. I enjoyed in the book a mix of optimistic futurism (technologies allowing e.g. talking dogs, dream-control psychotherapy) and cultural naivete (such an intelligent, perfectly behaved, precocious child!). I also liked the presumed base knowledge of several languages (sporadic latin, with french, german, etc throughout the text) and mythological references, even though my limited education d ...more
Sbulf
A volte incontri libri come questo e ti fai tante domande. Ti chiedi come tu sia riuscito a finirlo nonostante il senso di vuoto che ti lasciava ogni pagina. Ti domandi cosa accidenti volesse dire/dimostrare l'autore con questo ammasso di parole senza significato. Ti viene il dubbio che il romanzo sia stato tradotto male, anche se questa è una fioca speranza. La storia pullula dei problemi personali dei protagonisti che però non suscitano il minimo interesse. Ci sono diversi riferimenti a Jung e ...more
Andi Blija
Apr 23, 2008 Andi Blija rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zelazny Fans, Deam-Reality Boundary-Breakers
This is a fairly decent dream-tech exploration story from Zelazny. It's the far future of... to '90s, where machines exist that let doctors enter a person's dreaming mind and interact -- and flying egg cars, but whatever. The main character is a psychologist in the top of his field, and he's approached by a student who wants to learn how to use the machine. Problem is, she's blind so she's been refused to even enter the field. However, she bring up the idea that if someone was to teach her how t ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
This story apparently first appeared as a short story called "He Who Shapes" and was then expanded into this short novel of only 150 pages.

Charles Render is a new kind of psychiatrist, who uses a machine to enter his patients' dreams and shapes them using myths and archetypes to help cure their neuroses. But it's a dangerous business, and the technique can't be used on patients suffering from psychosis, as they may be strong enough to pull the therapist into their madness. When Render starts to
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Adam
Zajímavé nápady, inteligentní auta, mluvící psi, uvěřitelně naznačený svět i psychoterapie. K tomu typická Zelaznyho obrazotvornost ve světě tvořeném vůlí, tu a tam rozseté filosofické myšlenky a disputace, říznuté ironickými vtípky. Nemůžu se ubránit dojmu, že kdyby byla kniha zkoncentrovaná do delší povídky, tak by to příběhu prospělo. Ale i tak to bylo dobré čtení.
Kristen Shaw
Although I quite enjoyed the first half, (in my humble opinion) the story would have benefited from either, a) being cut down to a short story or b) being further developed so as to better address the role of the female characters. As it stands, although there are a lot of interesting aspects, I was disappointed that the women were so underdeveloped and were treated (described and developed) like supporting characters despite having such essential roles. Particularly in the case of Jill, who is ...more
Kevin
It may be brimming with ideas very new for its time, but sadly this was in the midst of the so called "new wave" phase of science fiction. I have never appreciated the writing styles of the 1960s when science fiction writers started taking themselves so seriously as artists they snubbed clarity. I love other Zelazny books, but this one falls short.
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Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is 'A Rose for Ecclesiastes' in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels d ...more
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“The universe did not invent justice. Man did. Unfortunately, man must reside in the universe.” 19 likes
“Някои неща никога не се променят. Те отдавна са престанали да съществуват като предмети и се извисяват като събития, които никога няма да бъдат изравнени със земята в онази последователност на нещата, наречена Време.” 0 likes
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