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Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective: Book One

(Dreamsongs #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  4,422 ratings  ·  351 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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Kihe Blackeagle unclear -- in which story? (I am currently reading, and without searching text the question is too vague -- more than one story refers to flying or ar…moreunclear -- in which story? (I am currently reading, and without searching text the question is too vague -- more than one story refers to flying or arboreal critters with some resemblance.)(less)

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Start your review of Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective: Book One (Dreamsongs, #1)
Sean Barrs
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
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
Dreamsongs is a collection of 22 short stories by George R. R. Martin, written between the 60’s through the 80’s. Mixed in with the short stories are brief segments where the author talks about his writing career, how it started, what influenced him, the publishing process, and the inspiration for some of the stories. The stories are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, with some being a blending of genres. I’d say science fiction had the heaviest emphasis.

His early stories were a bit
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.
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.
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
Kara 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
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grrm, sci-fi, 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.
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
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
Ishaan Nayek
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never had the courage to read A Song of Ice and Fire, primarily because it is still unfinished with no end in sight in the near future. Nevertheless, I was always interested to explore George R R Martin’s work. Recently, I started reading a lot of short stories and came to know about Martin’s fantastic and extremely underrated early works. Martin has written several acclaimed short stories and novellas in the 70s and 80s, which would have probably received a lot more love and recognition from ...more
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
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
Althea Ann
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(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
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
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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..
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
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed bag, but isn’t that the idea? Martin presents his own short stories in the categories of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Some of his best are what he would call Hybrids - The Sandkings and Nightflyers being the standouts for me. Martin has come a long way as a writer - his earlier stories being good yarns but a tad hokey. By the time we get to Nightflyers, he is so much more self-assured with plotting and deft characterization. Vol II obligatory.
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
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Valar Morghulis--...: In the Lost Lands based on a song? 4 27 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

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