Dreamsongs, Volume 1

47. Dreamsongs, Volume 1 by George R.R. Martin. 683 p. Published October 2007.

Dreamsongs is composed of the collected early works and short stories of Author George R.R. Martin. As such, this book is some heavy reading, taking me two and a  half weeks to finish, though this is due more to style and content than complexity.

Divided into sections, this first volume of Dreamsongs takes us first chronologically and then thematically through Martin’s career. Each section is forewarded by Martin himself as he reminisces on his youth and the early days of modern Sci-Fi/Fantasy. As such, Dreamsongs provides an uparralleled insight into the process and development of a budding bestselling author. We progress through Martin’s early works finding familiar settings and hints of more contemporary material in a barren ice fort, a fantastic dragon, enchanting children, and dire responsiblities. Further in, Martin’s stories turn to science fiction and horror, providing a backdrop for experiments with characters and suspense.

While Dreamsongs’ tales don’t dance and shimmer effortlessly across the mind’s eye, and may not be spun of angeldust or purest gossamer, they do possess an element of the fantastic. Within this volume lies hope and dream, joy and sorrow, failure and victory. And in them we find the innocence and passion of youth, and follow along as it begins to age, darken, and mature into storytelling of the finest vintage.

However, keep in mind that reading anthologies and collections like Dreamsongs takes longer than a normal book of comparative size (at least for me). With characters, scenery, and even the laws of reality being reshaped in each chapter, the reader must constantly break from their flow. That being said, I feel this book was worth it.

If you so wish, you may find a synopsis of each story in Fyrefly’s review of the audiobook version. However, please note that there are some stories missing, as the audiobooks are composed of three parts, while print copies of Dreamsongs have 2 volumes.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Other reviews of Dreamsongs Volume 1: Fyrefly’s Book Blog

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4 responses to “Dreamsongs, Volume 1

  1. I’m currently working on Vol. 2 of the audiobook, although I’m still in the stories from Vol. 1 of the print book.

    Did you find the horror stories scary? I don’t read a lot of horror, since I’ve got a fairly active imagination and I enjoy being able to sleep at night, so maybe I just don’t have the proper basis for comparison, but… I’m just not finding them particularly scary. A little bit creepy, maybe, not but the kind of scary that I expected from horror stories.

  2. I wouldn’t say scary, but some of them are quite disturbing. Martin talks about how he was going through a troubled period and put alot of his pain in the writing. It definitely comes across in a few of the stories.
    But I’ll admit, I also don’t read alot of horror, so I can’t really judge this against anything else. And comsidering the original era of these stories, they may have been thrilling enough for their time.

  3. That’s a good point about the original time period when they were written. I also think I’m applying a bit of a double-standard – I don’t read much horror because it gives me nightmares, but these aren’t giving me nightmares, so they can’t be real horror – and so I’m judging them a little harder than they deserve.

  4. Pingback: George R. R. Martin - Dreamsongs, Volume 2 « Fyrefly’s Book Blog

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