Wastrel's Reviews > Dreamsnake

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
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really liked it
bookshelves: z-2014, fantastika-social-science-fiction

A very odd book by modern standards, but one that is strikingly of its era. Manages to do some things very badly (dialogue, most of the characterisation (the central character is solid and likeable but a Mary Sue and not all that distinctive, while the supporting cast are mostly two(or fewer)-dimensional and also somewhat MSish), a lot of the plot details), yet do others very well (descriptive prose; setting and its exploration, some of the emotional stuff).

Sort of like a less-good Ursula Le Guin novel, really. Slow, meandering social science fiction.

Probably not selling it well. It is really interesting in its setting, and in the way it gradually reveals the nature of the setting, and also in its overarching plot (it doesn't have much of one, so what it does have is very free, and hence surprising). Special mention should be made of the idea of a society that is in some ways more backward than ours, but in other ways more developed - normally, primitive or post-apocalyptic societies are just that, but McIntyre takes the more interesting and probably more realistic approach that some skills and technologies are able to survive even a general deterioriation in economic conditions, and maybe even may continue to progress.

I think in the end I probably came away valuing it more as an interesting demonstration of what can be done in SF than as a novel in its own right, which I guess is both a compliment and a criticism.

My fuller review as usual is over here on my blog
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Reading Progress

November 4, 2013 – Shelved
February 28, 2014 – Started Reading
March 6, 2014 –
23.0% "Oh. This is new: I don't normally cry in the third chapter. \n Something tells me this isn't going to be a happy book."
March 9, 2014 –
March 10, 2014 –
March 11, 2014 –
70.0% "I literally cannot think of anything that could be added to this book to make it more a 1970s book..."
March 14, 2014 –
70.0% "Hmm. Fascinating. Will have to think about this one a little before I review it..."
March 14, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Katy I really loved this book. It sounds like you at least enjoyed it, so that's awesome :-)

message 2: by Mir (new)

Mir I couldn't get into this one, and didn't greatly enjoy the other high fantasy novel of hers I read. I did like her middle grade and Star Trek novels as a kid, though.

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