5.0 out of 5 stars perhaps it's all down to taste
I adore this book and have ever since I read it the first time, probably in 1978. It's smart and thoughtful, and has a fascinating world with a heroine who thinks. Yes, it doesn't have a million things going on, and there aren't any explosions. But it's definitely worth the award and the reading.
Of course, anything I've looked at by Connie Willis bores me...
Published on April 24 2011 by Cate
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Readable
I give this book 3.5 stars. It's got a nicely developed protagonist, even though I wish she was more flawed, and setting, with a smooth narrative to bring it along. I adore snakes, and I love the idea of the healing snakes, so kudos for that touch. The minor characters ranged from being OK to not-so-spiffy from the critic's perspective.
The plot has a leisurely pace,...
Published on May 1 2003 by khryindle
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5.0 out of 5 stars perhaps it's all down to taste,
Of course, anything I've looked at by Connie Willis bores me silly (more plot by the numbers, with added action). So perhaps it's all about what you're looking for.
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Readable,
This review is from: Dreamsnake (Audio Cassette)I give this book 3.5 stars. It's got a nicely developed protagonist, even though I wish she was more flawed, and setting, with a smooth narrative to bring it along. I adore snakes, and I love the idea of the healing snakes, so kudos for that touch. The minor characters ranged from being OK to not-so-spiffy from the critic's perspective.
The plot has a leisurely pace, so while this is technically an adventure story, don't expect the "action" which normally typifies an adventure. The climax didn't work for me, but otherwise the plot is sound.
Overall, there is not much in the way of fresh insights or amazing writing. This is just a book which is a modest pleasant read once you're involved in the story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best,
By A Customer
This review is from: Dreamsnake (Audio Cassette)This is my all time favorite book ever!
I am actually an avid murder mystery buff and dabble in fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction. But I became totally immersed in this story.
I was first given this book to read when I was in high school, by my mother who had always feared snakes (as the people at the beginning of the book). So unlike others, I thought the beginning did work. Snake knew nothing about the people and the people knew nothing about her. The reader was just as "clueless" about the significance of the snake and the fear of the people as the characters were.
As Snake's plans are constantly diverted by events as she initially attempts to return home defeated, we come to know Snake a little more and a little more. Like real life, you don't know everything about her upfront. You don't understand her but you are intrigued and keep reading.
Things turned out very different than Snake ever imagined. Sometimes life is like that.
I re-read this book in my early 20's and now at 34 just listened to the unabridged audiotape (since a working mom has no free time except the work commute!) This is the book I turn to when I feel like what I am doing has little meaning or worth. I use it to go on a mental journey and refocus.
I have now addicted my husband who listened to Dreamsnake on a 24 hour drive to Arkansas and is listening again, looking for excuses to keep driving the car, just to listen a little longer.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the better Hugo or Nebula winners,
So as not to spoil what little entertainment the reader might wring from this dry husk of a book, I won't provide many plot details to support my assertions. It would be difficult to do so since after reading ~2/3 of the book I was hard pressed to identify a plot. The main character, Snake the healer, wanders across a post-apocalyptic earth populated by such cardboard cutouts as Grum, the ancient, wise matriarch (if you've seen Stephen King's "The Stand", think Mother Abigail), and Ras, the bullying and deceitful child-rapist. A few themes appear and resurface occasionally during her interactions with these "characters", but the action serves primarily as a vehicle for the author's sophomoric Utopian philosophy. The prose possesses the awkward, stilted rhythm of a failed Hemingway imitation and fails to evoke the "sense of wonder" present in the best SF.
I was puzzled when I learned that this novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. I found it far inferior to other multiple award winners such as "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis and "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. Perhaps 1979 was a barren year for the SF genre.
5.0 out of 5 stars What else can I say?,
This book is truly an inspirational tale of feminine courage, resourcefulness and intelligence. It embraces both the feminine and masculine and celebrates them equally, but for their own uniqueness.
A highly trained woman with a gift in healing, not only physical damage, but psychological as well, she shares her gifts with all who cross her path. Her special relationship with her serpents as healing tools is magical, and the death of the most unusual of these is the impetus of her journey of discovery and self-discovery.
I urge you to take the journey yourself!
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling heroine in an atmospheric story,
As mentioned, the initial crisis, the death of the dreamsnake, occurs before you know (or care) much about the world and the heroine. Perhaps it was written this way on purpose, but it doesn't work. It isn't really until half-way through the book that you start to get into the story, but the wait is worth it. By that point, you're drawn into the world and begin to understand it. The same can be said of the healer, you've finally got to know her and like her.
The other characters are not as well written, and you care little for them. This is not a major drawback, because most of the other characters are of minor importance, existing primarily to further the plot. The story itself is engrossing, and contains a number of loose ends where sequels could be possible, but oddly, McIntyre has not written one. These "jagged edges" seem realistic to real life, if a little frustrating.
Overall, it's a good book, and enjoyable to read. You'll have to trust me on that, because after the first 30 pages, you'll be thinking otherwise, but stick with it and you'll be rewarded.
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best post-holocaust stories ever,
The story takes place in a post-holocause Earth, where a limited amount of bio-technology is all that is keeping humanity to shrinking back to a hunter-gatherer society. The most obvious example of this is the dreamsnake, whose venom enables healers to ease the pain of the wounded, and comfort the dying. Snake, the main character, is such a healer. However, her dreamsnake is killed, and she must seek out another, or cease to be a healer. The story carries the reader from the Great Dessert, to the healer station where they breed dreamsnakes (with little luck), to Center, the sole spaceport where humans from off-world still come, and finally to the mysterious domes. And as we explore this compelling world, we also get to explore the inner workings of Snake, and see what makes her tick.
However, while the story is a very pleasing one most of the way through, one gets to the end and can't shake the feeling that the author left some important questions unanswered. This story is definitely ripe for a sequel, but McIntyre doesn't look to be very interested. Pity.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi with a feminist twist--and lots of snakes!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, strong heroine,
The one character who could have been developed more was the man who fell in love with Snake. It might have been nice to have him in a few more scenes. Then again, I was glad this wasn't one of those books where the heroine waits around for some guy to save her derriere.
Some readers have complained that Snake is too capable and that most of the men are painted as incompetent or evil. If you have limited tolerance for that sort of thing ... chill out and read it anyway. Sheesh!
Anne M. Marble Reviewer for All About Romance
3.0 out of 5 stars A touching and original story,
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Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (Paperback - Oct. 12 1979)
Used & New from: CDN$ 3.48