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Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective: Book One

(Dreamsongs #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,032 ratings  ·  326 reviews
The book every George R.R. Martin fan has been waiting for: a magnificent collection of the best-selling author's most evocative short fiction GRRM: A RRETROSPECTIVE is a massive collection of the best of George R.R. Martin's short fiction, containing 32 short stories and novellas, including the Hugo-winning 'A Song for Lya', the Bram Stoker-winning 'The Pear-Shaped Man' a ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published March 2008 by Orion Publishing Group (first published September 2003)
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Georgi Rangelov
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,032 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Here’s what George R.R. Martin said in 2003:

"I was a lot better at starting stories than I was at finishing them"


Isn’t that just terribly hilarious? But let's move on.

George R.R Martin is such a versatile writer. His ease at switching numerous point of views is testimony to this in A Song of Ice and Fire. But, he has also written many other novels and short stories. He’s just as adept at writing science fiction as he is fantasy. For Martin fans who don’t read beyond his masterpiece are real
My 400th Review!

As expected I loved this anthology of works from George R.R Martin. It was so cute how he included a couple stories from when he was young, while they were a tiny bit painful to get through it was amazing to see how far he has come with his writing.

As someone who discovered him from his Song of Ice and Fire series it was interesting to find out that he is actually famous in a wide range of genres. Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, he masters them all. I don't think that there is a single
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything by George R. R. Martin before. I am highly skeptical of science fiction writers, unless they come highly recommended by someone whose opinion I trust, because of the vast mountains of crap which exist in the genre. I came upon Dreamsongs in my local library, and decided to check it out, to put my toe in the water, as it were. I am now interested enough that I have dug out my boyfriend's copies of the Song of Fire and Ice series. I plan to dive in to those next, and Dre ...more
4.0 stars. Even his early work showed flashes of brilliance. This is a "mostly" excellent collection of stories ranging from science fiction to fantasy to horror. Definitely worth reading.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
One day I might write a more comprehensive review of this. For now I'll just put down my thoughts on some of the stories.
The Fortress - A lot of fun to read, it was interesting to see Martin's take on a piece of Finnish history.
The Exit to San Breta - A scifi ghost story. Not earth-shattering or mind blowing, but definitely original and clever.
The Second Kind of Loneliness - One of my favourites. Hit very close to home, got me crying. The ending is chilling.
With Morning Comes Mistfall - A very v
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010january
I'm awfully glad Game of Thrones was the first George R.R. Martin I tried. Had I stumbled across some of his early sci-fi, showcased here in Dreamsongs, I'd have never pursued more. But if I hadn't fallen in love with A Song of Ice and Fire, I would've never turned enough Dreamsong pages to get to some of the best short fiction I've ever read.

Martin's commentary is honest -- he knows the early stuff isn't good. And honestly, a lot of my problems with it are genre specific. I don't wholeheartedly
M. Duda
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good collection of shorts: sci-fi, fantasy, and some horror. Some stories are much better than others, but I enjoyed reading all of them. And it was nice to read the work in chronological order, observing how Martin's work progressed and grew over time.
Alex Telander
DREAMSONGS VOLUME I BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: The two great mysteries of this world are when scientists will come up with a unification theory for quantum mechanics and relativity, and when George R. R. Martin will release the very long-awaited fifth book in his “Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Dance With Dragons. With a hopeful but doubtful release some time next year, for the time being there is thankfully Dreamsongs, a two-volume collection featuring George R. R. Martin’s short stories and nove ...more
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, grrm, 2015
Every fan of George R. R. Martin should read it. All of the stories are really really good. I've personally never read Science Fiction, but I loved the book and I'm looking forward to read more from Martin, no matter what genre.
This is the first time I read something by GRRM that isn't related to ASoIaF. The man in a proven genius, and those stories are all little masterpieces. Can't wait to read volume II.
Abe Musselman
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a wonderful collection of short stories from a modern speculative fiction master. I ordered the stories from my favorite to least favorite and included a short review for each.

"A Song for Lya" - Martin explores our need for human connection and the ways we try, and inevitably fail, to understand someone on every level of their being. Alternately heartbreaking and fascinating, with an ending that will haunt you long into the night. 5/5"

"Sandkings" - Creeping, crawling, heart-pounding sci-fi
Ben Babcock
George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books were some of the first fantasy I read, back when I was in grade seven. One of my friends introduced me to fantasy by way of David Eddings' The Belgariad, and after polishing that off, I read the first three A Song of Ice and Fire books (yes, all three were out then, and the fourth one just came out recently!). Martin is one of my favourite authors, truly a brilliant combination of writer and storyteller: a master of the technique as well as the c ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review is also available on my blog The Shameful Narcissist Speaks.

Every great writer starts somewhere, but there are few who display their first fruits in a compendium for all to read. George R R Martin, author of the soon to be legendary A Song of Ice and Fire series, is one of those few. Dreamsongs, broken into two volumes and those volumes themselves split into several sections, shows the rough and the rougher in the initial part and later the luster when time and experience serves to smooth
R.K. Nickel
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do I begin to describe the most life-changing book I've ever read?

This is, put simply, brilliant. A Song of Ice and Fire has been my favorite book series ever since I was old enough to tackle it, but these short stories cement George R.R. Martin as my favorite author of all time. He is poetic, and he is painful, and he is a master of language. No short stories have ever affected me this much.

And hearing the introductions by the man himself. My god! He's so human. This is no J.K. Rowling. He
Pamela Scott
George R R Martin is a writer I’ve always wanted to read more of but have never gotten around to. Years ago, at least ten I read his novella The Skin Trade in an anthology and it blew my mind. I’ve read none of his work since. There were always other books and writers that caught my attention. I bought both volumes of Dreamsongs because volume 2 contains The Skin Trade. I also have his A Song of Ice and Fire series to work through at some point.

Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Below a short review for each story, but first some general comments.

George R.R. Martin is a big fan of short fiction and has written a lot of short stories throughout his career. This book provides a collection of some of his favorite stories, roughly in a chronological order in which they were written. The book has five sections which each include an introduction, wherein Martin provides his commentary on his personal situation and career at the time he wrote the stories. I liked Martin's comm
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
ეს წიგნი შეიძლება წაიკითხო ორგვარად: 1. მოთხრობების კრებული; 2. ერთი მთლიანი ნარატივი. წიგნი დაყოფილია ხუთ ნაწილად და თითოეულ ნაწილს წინ უძღვის ავტორის ავტობიოგრაფიული ჩანართები, სადაც გვიამბობს, როგორ ვითარდებოდა მისი კარიერა, როგორ დაიწერა ესა თუ ის მოთხრობა და ა.შ.

The Hero (3/5) - პირველი მოთხრობა, რომელიც მარტინმა გაყიდა და პირველი მოთხრობა, რომელიც მომეწონა ამ კრებულში.
A Song for Lya (5/5) - ძალიან შთამბეჭდავია, ძალიან მაგარია; ერთ-ერთი საუკეთესო, რაც კი ოდესმე წამიკითხავს სიყვარულზე.
This T
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could really give is 3 and 3/4 stars....If you are a GRRM fan you will gobble this up? it includes an introductory prologue to each of the 5 sections and the reader gets an inside view to the workings of GRRMs writings and the influences that he had from a very early age. From the "4 color fan boy", who loved comics, "the filthy pro", who started writing for money, "light of the distant stars", that ignited his love for SCI-FI," heirs of the turtle castle", that give us a prequel to the ...more
Daken Howlett
Ottimo mix di horror e sci-fi per questa raccolta di storie brevi che aprono una finestra sui primi anni come scrittore di Martin,i primi due racconti sono ancora troppo acerbi e troppo brevi,ma il resto è un crescendo che comprende il suggestivo e disturbante Meathouse man(il racconto originale che poi sarà espanso in un romanzo),i colpi di scena di la cura della scimmia e ricordo di Melody,fino a concludersi con il classico "l'uomo a forma di pera",un crescendo notevole che mostra l'evoluzione ...more
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sand Kings 5/5
The Ice Dragon 5/5
The Second Kind of Loneliness 4/5
The Way of Cross and Dragon 4/5
Meathouse Man 4/5
Song for Lya 3.5/ 5
With Morning Comes Mistfall 3.5/5
The Hero 3.5/5
The Tower of Ashes 3/5
Remembering Melody 3/5
Kyle A Massa
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little uneven, but an overall excellent collection of short stories. "With Morning Comes Mistfall," "A Song for Lya." "The Ice Dragon," Meathouse Man," and "Sandkings" are a few of my favorites.
Sarah Williams
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved most of the stories in here. Great volume of stories.
Bar Reads
Hard to rate because some stories are top notch, and some are no good..
Célia | Estante de Livros
Aproveitei o embalo com que estava a ler contos do autor e decidi pegar nos volumes originais que incluem, entre outros, os contos incluídos em O Cavaleiro de Westeros & Outras Histórias e O Dragão de Inverno & Outras Histórias, publicados em Portugal e que já comentei por aqui. Optei por ler apenas os que ainda não tinha lido, principalmente porque ainda os tenho muito frescos, sendo que a única exceção foi a releitura de With Morning Comes Mistfall, que já tinha encontrado numa revista ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's without question that GRRM is a giant in the world of modern fantasy. It's hard to believe that before his momentous series, he had been an accomplished writer of science fiction and horror. Known for his short stories and novelettes, his works had won numerous awards prior to his contribution to fantasy with The Song of Ice and Fire. He has a distinct style of writing: strong description with a sharp attention to things like food and attire, and an ear for fanciful, witty dialogue. What ab ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most, my introduction to George RR Martin was A Song if Ice and Fire series.

I read it because I started the show and wanted to become a smug book reader. I fell in love with his writing. That made me want to see what else he’d done.

Apparently he was a long established editor and short story writer. This volume contains the first half of his collected short stories separated up into early writings, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. The audible version has recorded introductions from Mart
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in Section 1: A Four-Color Fanboy are thoroughly adequate but not particularly noteworthy. While this section is fascinating from an academic sense, the entertainment value is limited. The autobiographical bits were a lot more engaging than the fiction. I really dig GRR Martin’s fanboy roots.

The stories in Section 2: The Filthy Pro were a definite step forward from his early fandom fiction. I enjoyed “The Exit to San Breta” the most, with its Twilight Zone trappings and comfortable g
Josh Derrick
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Not all of these short stories were good. The early ones were actually somewhat crap. What's remarkable about this collection is the incredible growth that GRRM displays as a writer. Going from fanfiction like "only kids are afraid of the dark" to masterpieces like A Lonely Song of Laren Dorr, Sandkings, and The Second Kind of Loneliness, Dreamsongs is truly inspiring to me as an aspiring writer
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first five stories are among Martin's earliest and do not escape mediocrity except perhaps "the fortress". It is in The Second Kind of Loneliness that things get interesting, a painfully poignant story, which however perhaps didn't need this ending. With Morning Comes Mistfall, another early highlight, has a great premise and setting but lacks a little action to propel it past its somewhat overexplained message. A Song for Lya is (/minor spoiler/) proof things don't work out between Rob
Dec 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I'll be writing this review as I go along ...

Part I
1. Only kids are afraid of the dark - 2/5 - It's one of the authors first attempts and it shows... It's not good, specially for someone like me who isn't too keen on comics.
2. The Fortress - 2/5 - Historical fiction written for a college class. Not spectacular but it does set the scenery and if it was a bit longer maybe we could care for the characters.
3. And death his legacy - 3/5 - Clearly the best of the first part! (view spoiler)
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Valar Morghulis--...: In the Lost Lands based on a song? 4 25 Apr 20, 2015 12:11PM  
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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,

Other books in the series

Dreamsongs (2 books)
  • Dreamsongs, Volume II
“Oh yes, it hurts at times to be alone among the stars. But it hurts a lot more to be alone at a party. A lot more.” 11 likes
“Bad horror stories concern themselves with six ways to kill a vampire, and graphic accounts of how the rats ate Billy's genitalia. Good horror stories are about larger things. About hope and despair. About love and hatred, lust and jealousy. About friendship and adolescence and sexuality and rage, loneliness and alienation and psychosis, courage and cowardice, the human mind and body and spirit under stress and in agony, the human heart in unending conflict with itself. Good horror stories make us look at our reflections in dark distorting mirrors, where we glimpse things that disturb us, things that we did not really want to look at. Horror looks into the shadows of the human soul, at the fears and rages that live within us all.
But darkness is meaningless without light, and horror is pointless without beauty. The best horror stories are stories first and horror second, and however much they scare us, they do more than that as well. They have room in them for laughter as well as screams, for triumph and tenderness as well as tragedy. They concern themselves not simply with fear, but with life in all its infinite variety, with love and death and birth and hope and lust and transcendence, with the whole range of experiences and emotions that make up the human condition. Their characters are people, people who linger in our imagination, people like those around us, people who do not exist solely to be the objects of violent slaughter in chapter four. The best horror stories tell us truths.”
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