Andreea Daia's Reviews > Dreamsnake

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
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Mar 26, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: hugo-award, locus-award, nebula-award, science-fiction, post-apocalyptic, read-2012
Read from April 05 to 06, 2012

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 spacecrafts, etc) that set this novel in a extremely-far post-apocalyptic future.

✐ The society presented ranges from the archaic tribal communities to a segregated super-developed city (the Center). In between these, there are the healers, leaving outside the Center but versed in genetic engineering. Over the last hundred of years, they altered the snakes such that, under catalytic drugs, the composition of their venom changes into useful drugs. Without the snakes, the healers are crippled and can do little for the sick. It is because of this that when the main character loses a very rare specimen, she finds herself at an impasse: return home in disgrace, or try to convince the Center to give her a new one.

✐ I read some reviews complaining that the novel has some scientifically obsolete facts. I disagree: the pure scientific details are so scarce, that I can hardly see how this book can ever become antiquated. I know little about DNA modification, but everything that is described in Dreamsnake seemed at least possible. Definitely much more scientifically attainable than the inescapable but 100% unfeasible faster-than-light travel that abounds in nearly every space-opera. Yet no one complains about FTL travel, even if the only possible way to accomplish it is to induce the space-time continuum itself to move faster than light and ride its wave, so to speak. Or no one complains when very recent novels mention having targets in the effective range of a laser ツ, or (my personal favorite) hitting a camouflaged target with a laser ツ ツ.

✐ But I digress. What I liked most about this book was that it has overall an upbeat vibe. In fact unlike most novels which start from a relative high point and progress toward a low one, Dreamsnake begins at the nadir and advances toward apex.
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