Review of Dreamsongs, Volume I by George R.R. Martin
Dreamsongs, Volume I
by George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books were some of the first fantasy I read, back when I was in grade seven. One of my friends introduced me to fantasy by way of The Belgariad, and after polishing that off, I read the first three A Song of Ice and Fire books (yes, all three were out then, and the fourth one just came out recently!). Martin is one of my favourite authors, truly a brilliant combination of writer and storyteller: a master of the technique as well as the craft.
Martin is brave to publish Dreamsongs, which gives us--especially those of us who are younger readers and haven't been as exposed to the short fiction magazines of Martin's youth--a glimpse of Martin's formative years and the works with which he became a professional author. You can clearly see his writing improve over the course of the five-part book. Yet at the same time, even his early stories carry the kernel of creativity that's evident throughout this volume.
My favourites were "The Second Kidn of Loneliness", "And Seven Times Never Kill Man", "The Ice Dragon", "Meathouse Man", "Remembering Melody", and "Nightflyers". Having never read any of Martin's horror/SF stories, those latter "Hybrids and Horrors" made a significant impression on me--in particular, I'd compare them to Orson Scott Card in terms of ingenuity. Although "The Pear-Shaped Man" wasn't one of my favourites of this anthology, it's an excellent example of that Card-like creativity that makes Martin a prodigious writer: he knows how to get under your skin.
For those who have read other works by Martin, this will expand your knowledge of his oeuvre and his talents: he is indeed a science fiction/fantasy/horror writer, and everything in between. Plus, it will sate your thirst for more Martin stories in between books in A Song for Ice and Fire!
For those who are reading the works of Martin for the first time, this book is an excellent introduction.