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(Cat #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,168 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Cat, the halfbreed telepath hero of Catspaw and Psion, joins a research team on Refuge, homeworld of his mother's people, the Hydrans. Immediately, he finds trouble when he helps a Hydran woman escape human pursuers.

The decimated Hydran population of Refuge is confined to a bleak "homeland," by a huge corporate state, Tau Biotech. Tau also controls Refuge's one unique natu
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published June 1st 1996)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,168 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves, t-sci-fi, own-read
I feel like I'm coming out of dreamfall myself—a long waking dream that started when I began reading the Cat series. Book lovers know what I'm talking about: your non-reading time feels like a haze, because you're not aware of the here and now. You're still inside the novel.

While Psion was more of a coming-of-age/adventure and Catspaw more political intrigue, Dreamfall felt like a film noir, with Cat uncovering a mystery that leads him to the ghetto streets of Freaktown and eventually the corru
Apr 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
A good book with a bummer ending. Not surprising, I suppose, since the theme of this novel is the near impossibility of surviving as an outsider in a world governed by the corporate state.

Cat's a sweet character who somehow manages to be a bridge between peoples, but also manages to find himself alone & disregarded.

This is a book filled with longing - for community, for change, for love, for companionship, for a way to be whole. Vinge writes interesting characters & the plot here is nicely chara
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read the first two novels of Cat the Psion a long time ago, in the last century. I did not know there was a third novel in this series. I had a very strong memory of the first books, and the beginning of my reading reinforced my memories: a coherent SF universe, deep characters, a modern plot (dealing with racism, colonialism, difference and loss of a glorious past, whether from a personal point of view or that of a whole civilization).
However, I found the book's heart a bit long, a bit slow.
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favoritebooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Given my love of Psion, this review is riddled with disappointment and someone else might give it another star out of some kind of misguided pity.

Shambling adolescent sulker stumbles through grindingly plodding narrative. In the debut novel "Psion", the behaviour matched the age, but now it drags. Despite this, two random women throw themselves at our hero and two more sexually assault him (much less exciting than it sounds, no really). Psion has a wonderful spirit of magic and mystery, of a ten
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This book wasn't quite as good as the first two, but it is still an very excellent sci-fi book, and the story is unique enough to not feel like some boring rehash as some sequels are. Cat goes to his mother's home planet and learns a lot there. Joan D. Vinge writes the story with a masterful pen as she describes the struggles between the Hydrans and Tau, a greedy corporation.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh Joan D. Vinge. Why did you revive a series I enjoyed years after? I loved Catspaw and thought the ending satisfied Cat's tale quite well. Enter Dreamfall, which is just a mess of a novel. I'm giving it a 2 because I think Vinge's writing is still solid, I just truthfully think that there was no reason for us to go back and see how Cat's doing when his story felt complete prior. I wanted to enjoy this one, but I was just so frusrated with what the story was doing and how it moved, and that ess ...more
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Tangible residue of cast-off thoughts from beautiful, enigmatic cloud whales - I don't see how anybody could read that phrase and not want to go on and read the book about it. Of course it's not as good as you imagined - how could it be?
Dreamfall is (at least while this review is being written) the last book in the Cat saga, and despite not being as good as the previous book I still found plenty of things to enjoy. Such as the meta-narrative about racism, the characters, and the writing. Joan D. Vinge has clearly spent a good amount of time developing the story and how it would affect the characters, their choices, and how the story would change depending on that. Point being that nothing in the story felt unnatural.

Allison Stock
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I'll admit that I'm currently stalled out a bit short of the halfway point, and I don't see myself finishing unless a Cat #4 book ever shows up (because let's be honestly, this series isn't a trilogy. it only "looks" like a trilogy because there's only 3 books... lol).

I feel like Vinge thinks it's going to be SO INCREDIBLY SATISFYING for the reader to watch Cat finally stand up against the System that has damned him since birth. Except... it's just this random third party conflict that Cat has n
William Hillson
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The end of a wonderful series, though left open to far more, lived up to my expectations. Joan is, by far, one of my top five favorite authors, if not the #1 simply because of this series. It's been nearly ten years since I finished the series and I still have all three books in my bedside table. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that it was the last!
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book seemed like just a reason for the author to pile more abuse on Cat.
Sarah Rigg
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this series as a teen and early 20-something. It might be time for a re-read. Joan Vinge is a favorite sci-fi author.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the story of this one. Enough to start looking for the rest of the books!
Brooke Banks
Recommendation: If you insist on completing the trilogy. Otherwise, Catspaw (#2) is the must-read while Psion (#1) is solid.

Rating: 2-2 ½ stars I read it, enjoyed parts of it but it has problematic tropes and nonsensical premises I can’t accept with a unsatisfying ending.

Get up close and personal with Hydreans…

...Who are a classic example of Magical Native Americans, with Noble tokens
Sucktastic ending

It’s basically Psion redux with insta-love only it’s open ending isn’t the b
Julie Decker
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cat has landed on a planet with a large indigenous population of Hydrans, and since he himself is half Hydran, he decides he wants to go see the Hydran town. Unfortunately, just like with full-blood humans, Cat finds himself feeling unwelcome--partially because he is telepathic like Hydrans are, but has brain damage that forces him to keep his mind closed. Just when he feels there's really no place that will accept him, Cat meets a strange Hydran woman on the run from law enforcement, and he fin ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The first time I read Dreamfall, I did it not long after reading Psion and Catspaw. Dreamfall wasn’t the sequel to Catspaw I’d wanted, which affected my rating of the book.

Twenty years later, far less fresh with the material, I tackled it again and probably more objectively for itself as a single book. It’s not bad and I finished it pretty quickly out of wanting to see how things turned out, but for this book--and this series--the reader needs to be able to deal with the protagonist constantly
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well, it was great to hear the end of the story for Cat. And although it did not end entirely happily for Cat, I felt like Vinge left enough unsaid to assume he'd figure out a way to enjoy a happy ending eventually.

My biggest criticism is regarding Cat's tattoo. It was mentioned several times in book two, and in this third book it was brought up every few chapters. I am somewhat irritated it was not used as a plot point. I mean, the tattoo was not even part of Cat's character--he cannot remembe
May 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: disliked
If you go into this series expecting a happy ending, you're gonna have a bad time. In fact, if you go into this series expecting anything other than soul-crushing depression and abject, chronic melancholy, you're gonna have a bad time.

It's almost as if the author measures the literary quality of her works by the amount of misery and pain she can inflict on the protagonist. To her credit, just when you think the main character has hit bottom, she pulls the false bottom out from under you so you c
Anne Barwell
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, wish-list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Vinge is one of my favourite scfi authors. Not only because she is a excellent writer but because she reveals a compassionate soul. Probably it is in this book where she shows this in a beautiful and, at the same time, a crude narrative. The core of the it is world of horrific and icy oppression and the counterpart, the fight for human values: dignity, fair dealing, justice, etc. It is the second time I read it, but at that time, almost ten years ago, I didn't notice how powerful the message was ...more
Sep 11, 2009 added it
Poor, poor Cat. He's like the universe's personal chew-toy.

Also, I'm pretty sure "Namaste" is not an alien expression. I suppose it could just be symbolic?

I keep waiting for Cat to grow a pair and start taking some agency in his life instead of just reacting (often in the worst possible way) to the shit that constantly comes his way.

I mean, he has the potential to be a major player, but he's always too scared to live up to it unless someone's got his balls in a vice- which they usually do- and e
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
In a way I think this book has interesting new developments in Cat's character, but at the same time, it really rams home the point that being Cat is all about being isolated from almost everyone all of the time. And yes, that's sad. At the same time I definitely wish that Vinge's health problems hadn't prevented her from writing for several years. If this had not been the case, there would probably be at least one more Cat novel for interested readers, if not two.
Alice Sabo
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
I didn't realize this was book 3 til I finished it. Maybe that's why the characters felt a little flat. Maybe it was just the thing to do in the 90's, but I'm a little tired of the combines/massive corporations that run the universe. The ending is sad, but since I don't know the story of the previous 2 books, maybe it works. Felt like a bit of a cliffhanger to me, but 15 years later, it still doesn't have a sequel.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Violetta by: Jenna
There were about 20 or 30 pages that weren't necessary here, mostly having to do with repetitive repetitions of the events happening in this book and the previous.
I was also bothered by the lack of development in the main character, Cat. He is still making the same mistakes and suffering the same disappointments...I wonder if that was intentional on the author's behalf, or a sign of a sophomoric writing talent?
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, though it seems to be the last in the series, thus far. It has been over a decade since it was published, but I sure wish to read the next installment, if one should ever be written. Some reviewers on Amazon complained that it was drawn out at the end. I could not disagree more. If you read this series, if you are like me, you will fall in love with the characters. You will laugh and cry with them, and when finished, you will want to linger in their lives a little longer.
Aug 09, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2006
Not a bad story - I felt it could have benefitted from more editing and condensation of the plot - it got a little long in places but was still interesting enough to hold my attention. It ended differently than I would have thought. Most sci-fi fans would probably like this although it straddles the line between sci-fi and fantasy genres.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
(Minus one star for the dick move ending - more forgiving readers would rate three starts probably)

So... the Hydrans are Tibetan space Buddhists?

A by the numbers conceptual mishmash appendix that should have been discarded and replaced by a far better book. It is an injustice to the series and the character. Grrrr.
Danielle Schertell
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
While Cat is just as engaging of a character as ever, the author's application of Murphy's Law to her protagonist's life grows tiresome. The plot twists quickly, and makes the book a quick read, but fate always takes the same turn and never allows Cat to retain anything positive that comes to him.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very good followup to Psion and Catspaw. it is written in the 1st person, so I got tired of the main character at times whining about his situation. But the story moved along at a good pace with a mostly satisfiying conclusion. Leaves room for another sequel, but since this was written in 1996, I doubt there will be one at this point.
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Joan D. Vinge (born Joan Carol Dennison) is an American science fiction author. She is known for such works as her Hugo Award-winning novel The Snow Queen and its sequels, her series about the telepath named Cat, and her Heaven's Chronicles books.

Other books in the series

Cat (3 books)
  • Psion (Cat, #1)
  • Catspaw (Cat, #2)

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