T.L. Barrett's Reviews > The Dream Master

The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny
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Every now and then a bibliophile must go through the piles and piles of books he or she owns and justify the occasional trips to used bookstores by actually reading some of the treasures he or she has gathered. This time I picked up this Nebula Award winner first published in novel form in 1964. I wanted to love this book. I didn’t.

The novel focuses on Charles Render a psychologist in near-future America, who has the rare ability via machines to travel into the subconscious mind of a dreamer. It is from here that he is able to analyze and help shape dreams to best confront the problems facing his patients. Render, haunted by the loss of his wife and daughter, is approached by a blind psychiatrist who wants Render to train her in this difficult and often dangerous work. At first Render is skeptical, but he is lured in by this enigmatic woman with a seeing-eye dog who speaks (this is a fun and slightly underused aspect of the novel) and agrees to begin the training.

The novel moves points of views constantly and without warning. It also has subplots that seem to exist as symbolic comparison to the events surrounding Render. There are some real revolutionary ideas in this novel that is a half century old. Mr. Zelazny may have been responsible for introducing concepts such as seen in films like Inception. However, I not only want to warn the would-be-reader of the dark conclusion awaiting them, but also warn them of the frenetic way ideas are thrown into the novel, so that itself seems like a dream, and the reader is left scratching his or her head wondering if “they got it”. There are many allusions that are meant to exploit the symbolism, but the reader without experience with these themes will be totally lost.

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Reading Progress

August 13, 2019 – Started Reading
August 13, 2019 – Shelved
August 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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