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Dreamsongs, Volume II (Dreamsongs #2)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,879 Ratings  ·  139 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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Bookdragon Sean
"The American Tolkien?" No. I think not.

George R. R Martin writes excellent fantasy novels. I can’t dispute that. I wouldn’t want to, A Song of Ice and Fire is what got me into reading in the first place. However, to be called the American Tolkien implies that he writes like Tolkien, which, of course, he does not.

The world building, writing styles and plot tropes couldn’t be further apart. Not a bad thing for sure. It’s a rather absurd comparison because there is absolutely nothing to compare.
Ana Paula Savioli
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
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
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Emma Gerts
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm often not a fan of short stories, but George R. R. Martin is a brilliant writer and this was an enjoyable collection. It also elucidates why the last book in the Song of Ice and Fire is taking so long . .
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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 Sieg 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-quite Ti
Dalon Koubek
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Have you ever just walked outside in the middle of the night looked at the stars and our endless universe and simply wondered? You feel a certain high, a high of imagination and serialism. But there is a darker lining, have you ever sat down on your couch and watched the news? Seen all the war, the shootings, the mundane monotony of our selfmade situations and the devastation, the complete and utter sadness of it all? That whole range of emotion is experienced when you read the Dreamsong books. ...more
Pinkesh Patel
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
An anthology of various works by Martin over the years. This includes things like horror, science fiction and even screenplays for episodes of the Twilight Zone that he wrote. It showcases his versatility and his mastery over the human condition.
Along the way he writes about writing and his story. In one instance he talks about how he got rejected from a science fiction journal because his stories were not 'hard' enough. Then he goes on to lament about how the substrate does not matter (horror o
Well, it took forever to finish but I've done it. As always, GRRM's stories are simultaneously out of this world and totally realistic. I'm looking forward to read more if his works.
Favio Zúñiga soto
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wanted to find out the rest of his tales, the many creations in his different periods as a writer, and here I am with the heart full of stories and mostly satisfied for the ride. George is a helluva writer, getting to capture several aspects of very different types of stories, which you can see now as a reflection of his growth as a writer in the different moments of his life.

I said this because of the Hollywood era, which I found so different than the rest of his tales that I asked myself a f
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, adventure
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
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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'
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Denis Materna
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Shauna Thompson
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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).
Sam Julian
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know what? I'm gonna count Dreamsongs as two books. It's long enough, I think. 2 volumes, 2 books worth for my reading challenge!
Samuel Rooke
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is, as the title suggests, just the second volume in the “Dreamsongs” collection, that splits interesting and notable excerpts from Martin’s long career into thematic and genre sections. Preceding each section is an introduction by Martin where he describes the context in which he wrote the following stories, and shares some anecdotes from his life at those times. Those introductions are great insights into his mind, and are full of witty and insightful commentary.

Moreso than the first volu
Andrew McAuley
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A decent collection of short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed most of these tales. Each story has either a supernatural or sci-fi element to it with the exception of Hedge Knight, which I skipped as I'd read it just recently.

I found the initial two science fiction tales to be very engaging, the main character is somewhat two-dimensional but each of the stories are very well told and thoroughly engaging. The Wild Card stories I did not enjoy at all- I found the setting somewhat confusing, by the en
Nathan Sinclair
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I bought this quite a few years ago now, specifically to read the first Dunk & Egg short story, but never really bothered with the rest of it. Decided to change that this year, and read it cover to cover. Despite still really enjoying the Dunk & Egg story, I was surprised to find it was probably one of the least interesting stories in the book. The five stand alone stories in the second half of the book were all fascinating, in one way or another, and the two extracts from the Wild Card ...more
Altro giro, altro regalo.
Martin non solo scrive bene, ma scrive bene qualsiasi cosa. È riuscito anche a scrivere un racconto sugli scacchi. Cioè, gli scacchi!
Cosa vuoi mai scrivere, sugli scacchi, che non faccia addormentare il lettore dopo dieci pagine? Invece lui ha scritto un racconto non solo interessante, ma che si lascia divorare pagina dopo pagina. Se non è maestria questa...
Per il resto, i racconti lunghi qui presenti sono tutti molto buoni: il migliore è "La tratta della pelle" ma anche
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I think I am just more of a horror fan.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
GRRM is all over the map with this short story collection, from thoughtful and nuanced to embarrassingly, painfully dumb. Mostly it's just adequate.

Six: A Taste of Tuf

A Beast for Norn
--Haviland Tuf, ecological avenger. A mysterious man with a telepathic cat is the sole administrator of a massive spacegoing seed vault. Tuf supplies competing pit-fighting clans with terrible monsters for their games.

The twist is obvious a mile off but the story is well-written and entertaining enough. Beast for N
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The review can also be found on my blog The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

The continuation of Martin’s short story compendium had less stories I liked as compared to his first, but it also had less stories overall, and the ones I enjoyed were phenomenal. A Taste of Tuf introduced me to cat loving protagonist Tuf Haviland who I believe could be an avatar for Martin himself (though GRRM insists he’s more like the Turtle of the Wild Card series) in addition to adding more books to my reading list. I en
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
A Taste of Tuf (Section 6) introduces us to Haviland Tuf, an interesting character that is a response to the pulpy serial (anti)heroes like Northwest Smith and Rhialto the Marvellous and Cugel. He flies around the universe and “solves” problems by introducing new species into existing ecosystems. A Beast for Norn is a nice little conte cruel involving the repercussions of science fantasy dogfighting. I enjoyed Guardians a great deal more, as it had a distinct feel of Great Old Ones making kaiju ...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
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories is an excellent introduction to the mind of George RR Martin. Running the gamut from fantasy to science-fiction to horror there is something in there for everyone. I picked this up specifically for the stories "Nightflyers" and "The Sand Kings" but found so many more of interest. Most surprising of all was the incredible similarity between the story "The Hedge Knight" which takes place in Game of Thrones' Westeros and the 2001 film "A Knight's Tale".
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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Favorite story from the two volumes? 3 8 Nov 11, 2014 10:18PM  
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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 about George R.R. Martin...

Other Books in the Series

Dreamsongs (2 books)
  • Dreamsongs, Volume I

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“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)”
“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
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