Read Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre Online


They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career - for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rareThey called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career - for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another.Snake's only hope was to find a new dreamsnake - and on her quest, she was pursued by two implacable followers, one driven by love, one by fear and need....

Title : Dreamsnake
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780440117292
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 319 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dreamsnake Reviews

  • Sarah
    2019-01-18 16:53

    While this book gets docked a point or two for the cheesy 70s cover and the title, it deserves a place among the classics of the genre. I first read the Nebula-winning novella "Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand," in middle school, but I never realized that McIntyre had expanded it to novel length. It's a thoughtful adventure, a quest led by a mature and confident heroine, Snake. I love her as a character: she knows who she is, she is good at what she does, and she is comfortable in her own skin. I also love that this book is not your typical post-apocalyptic nightmare. It takes place so long after a nuclear catastrophe that society has rebuilt itself, albeit in a very different form. This lets McIntyre present us with a familiar but somewhat alien landscape, advanced and regressive technology, humans acting human but according to slightly different societal rules, all with lots of room to explore. While there are a couple of elements that seem as dated as the cover, all in all I thought McIntyre did a beautiful job of expanding that original story into the larger tale told here.

  • Mike Moore
    2019-02-02 15:02

    Look, I read a lot of science fiction. Enough that I would mention it. So I have a pretty high tolerance for silliness. This book overwhelmed my tolerance and left me staggered by the sheer nonsense of it all.Welcome to a post-apocalyptic future where isolated communities blunder about in moral turpitude waiting for an oddly naive young woman to come straighten them out with good sense and her trusty snakes. You see, snakes are used as drug dispensers in the future, and the woman (who's also named Snake) is a healer, so she carries around a cobra and a rattler for medicinal purposes. She's been entrusted by her teachers to walk the earth like that Caine dude. They trained her in medicine and herpetology, but somehow neglected to mention that other people might have odd customs like not respecting other people's property, drug addiction or killing snakes. Each of these come as a profound shock when she encounters them.Anyway, off goes our intrepid heroine. She meets a series of people whose incredible obliviousness creates problems that she handily solves. The fact that the problems are sometimes horrible is pretty well negated by their ridiculousness. In one instance, I imagine the mayor of a town (who was shocked and outraged by Snake's discovery of a rape victim) saying to his trusted adviser after she leaves "Say, whose idea was it anyway to have a brutal and overbearing unmarried man become the guardian for a disfigured girl on the verge of puberty? In retrospect, that wasn't an obvious choice."So okay, this is an empowerment fantasy and I can respect that, but it's so contrived that it becomes tedious. There are numerous loose ends and holes in the book, but the book doesn't suffer for them because it seems perfectly obvious how they would all play out. If anything, I'm glad the author didn't bother to explain more.

  • Wanda
    2019-02-01 16:57

    The publisher says:They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career - for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another. Snake's only hope was to find a new dreamsnake - and on her quest, she was pursued by two implacable followers, one driven by love, one by fear and need.Me:I enjoyed this short little tale of a healer trying to find her place in the world, making mistakes as we all do and struggling to find a way out of a bad situation. Finding companionship, love and an adopted daughter. A strong female main character, solving problems competently yet accepting help when it is offered. A book which passes the Bechdel test with flying colours [there is more than one female character and they talk to each other about something besides men].My only complaint was that it was too short—there were several interesting items which tickled my curiosity and made me wish that there was a sequel or that the original was a bit thicker, with more detail. For example, how did Earth get to this post-apocalyptic state? Who are the aliens who created the domes and brought the strange plants and dreamsnakes to Earth? Have they stuck around or who exactly is in the intact city dome? In a world where there are still so many books in which the female characters are stiff as cardboard or stereotypical caricatures , this book from the 1970s really shines as a book where I felt real affection for Snake. She is a realistic woman, with emotions and dilemmas that I can relate to. I must read more of McIntyre’s work.

  • Wastrel
    2019-01-30 11:51

    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

  • Andreas
    2019-01-26 10:12

    Dreamsnake is the extension of the award winning novelette Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand and is set at the same time and planet Earth as The Exile Waiting.It reads like a fantasy story like Tehanu for the first 50 pages before it becomes clear that it is a post-nuclear SF setting. It follows a young, female healer called "Snake" within her probationary year. The eponymous Dreamsnakes are one of three kinds of snakes that healers in this setting use. They are irreplacable, because they rarely reproduce, can't be cloned and a loss is therefore devastating for healers. Now, Snake lost her dreamsnake, and this novel is about the quest to find replacement.On her quest, she falls in love, adopts a child, goes through lots of harshness. She is presented in general as a strong woman, who commits errors but also learns from them. It is very easy to identify with her. Writing is often very emotional, it uses more descriptive than action-oriented scenes, is more on the quiet side. I found a very good interview at io9. McIntyre talks about how she came to the story (a Clarion workshop word draw), her reaction about Arevin's (non-)masculinity, the publishing situation in the 70s, the out-of-print problem of older book (and bookviewcafe's answer to it). She also talks about one of the side-character's (Merideth) gender - you might have noticed, that his/her sex isn't revealed at all through pronouns etc.The interview deepened my impression that there are lots of interesting ideas pressed into this slim book. Emotions, characterization, and setting are absolutely worthwhile your reading time, and it deserved the triple Hugo/Nebula/Locus awards.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-01 16:12

    Received to review via NetgalleyIt’s been quite a while since I read this, and I remembered it fondly enough, so when it came up on Netgalley, I decided to request it and do a reread. I only gave it three stars the first time, which surprised me when I looked it up and saw the raft of awards it got: Nebula, Hugo, Tiptree nomination, National Book Award finalist… I remembered it being quite like The Steerswoman in the narrative style, in the capable heroine; I remembered that the background of the story including queer and polyamorous characters in a casual, natural way — as well as plenty of capable women who knew what they were doing, who talked to each other (about things other than men!), who worked together.Happily, all of that is still there, especially Snake’s care for others: for Melissa, and also for Gabriel, for Arevin, for the people she treats as a healer. Even for her snakes, though that’s not so surprising given that her livelihood relies upon them. And there are some quite lovely tender moments between Snake and the people she helps and becomes friends with.The background of the story is fascinating too, and I don’t seem to have thought much about it before. It’s basically Earth, post-apocalypse, but exactly what that apocalypse was and how the aliens might have been involved, or even how long ago it was, are all shrouded and mysterious. And that background just lies behind the story, mostly not even used except in little bits — like the solution to breeding dreamsnakes. And there’s the whole issue of the healers using snake venom, how and why they would have begun that, how it all works. There’s room for half a dozen other stories here, though the one we’re told is a fairly straightforward redemption/quest story.It’s still not quite a five star read for me: there’s something rather detached about it, emotionally, despite the tender moments. Sometimes the background feels a little too much like painted scenery. But for the most part, it was enjoyable to revisit Dreamsnake, and worth the time.

  • Punk
    2019-02-16 12:52

    Snake is a healer on her proving year, travelling the vaguely post-apocalyptic landscape (there's always a vague apocalypse) to treat illness and injury using the venom of her snakes, but when her dreamsnake is killed she must find a new source for the extremely rare creature or she will no longer be able to work as a healer.This reads like an Anne McCaffrey book, except with more restraint. It's melodramatic -- the girl's name is Snake! only three other healers have ever been given that name!! she rides a tiger-pony she genetically engineered herself!!! It gets a bit ridiculous after a while. Oh, did I mention she uses "thee" and "thou" to address her snakes? For no reason that is ever, ever explained?I could live with all that -- I have read and enjoyed many Anne McCaffrey books -- but this isn't very exciting. The story meanders as Snake bounces from one problem to another without any real sense of risk or urgency, and the world-building is weak. Why are there alien domes? What's the story behind the snake healing?Here's the other major problem: there's a lot of ableist language. "Crippled" is tossed around freely, and a big part of the story involves a "crazy" following Snake. Apparently "crazies" are a common threat in the desert, though why is something else that's never explained.This society does have an open attitude toward sex (though somehow this leads to rape being a complete surprise, as if the two are in any way related), and many of the desert cultures live in three-people family groups. It's always nice to see something other than m/f couples as the standard. Two stars. This is more the story of Snake than the story of snake healing, and I wasn't all that interested in her. Let's just say I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd had violet eyes.

  • Mel
    2019-01-17 10:12

    This book is classic seventies feminist sci-fi. It is also slow and meandering. It explores some interesting social issues. It is nothing special in my opinion, but it was a fun read. I liked the main character. Her name was Snake and she used….yep…you guessed it…snakes to heal people. Scary snakes. Cobras and rattlers and snakes that I personally do not want anywhere near me. She was pretty tough and knew what she wanted. She had a few annoying moments, but was mostly a pretty good lead character. (view spoiler)[I felt like at the very end it kind of dissolved into a cheesy romance novel, so that was annoying, but that was after it had some fun action scenes that were unexpected, considering the pace was meandering, camel crossing the desert slow. (There actually are no camels in this but you get the idea.) (hide spoiler)]A solid three stars. I wanted a fun easy read and this delivered it; just don’t expect too much as some of it comes off as a little flat and predictable.

  • Tudor Ciocarlie
    2019-01-28 15:01

    As with all post-apocalyptic books by women, this one has a wonderful gentle tone. Maybe it is because men always cause the destruction of the world. So their story must be a redemptive one. The stories by/about women are much more about healing and remembering.

  • Andreea Daia
    2019-02-11 09:05

    Quick and dirty reading notes and (i)relevant thoughts(I read this novel a while ago, but I decided to go back and write a review, since is so little known. And what a pity that is. )✐ This is a very different kind of science-fiction and I read that the author had trouble finding a publisher since most folks took it for fantasy. In fact Dreamsnake reads like a classic western, and it's only the brief details (mentions of genetic engineering, craters of atomic bombs, collapsed domes of alien spacecrafts, etc) that set this novel in a extremely-far post-apocalyptic future.✐ The society presented ranges from the archaic tribal communities to a segregated super-developed city (the Center). In between these, there are the healers, leaving outside the Center but versed in genetic engineering. Over the last hundred of years, they altered the snakes such that, under catalytic drugs, the composition of their venom changes into useful drugs. Without the snakes, the healers are crippled and can do little for the sick. It is because of this that when the main character loses a very rare specimen, she finds herself at an impasse: return home in disgrace, or try to convince the Center to give her a new one. ✐ I read some reviews complaining that the novel has some scientifically obsolete facts. I disagree: the pure scientific details are so scarce, that I can hardly see how this book can ever become antiquated. I know little about DNA modification, but everything that is described in Dreamsnake seemed at least possible. Definitely much more scientifically attainable than the inescapable but 100% unfeasible faster-than-light travel that abounds in nearly every space-opera. Yet no one complains about FTL travel, even if the only possible way to accomplish it is to induce the space-time continuum itself to move faster than light and ride its wave, so to speak. Or no one complains when very recent novels mention having targets in the effective range of a laser ツ, or (my personal favorite) hitting a camouflaged target with a laser ツ ツ.✐ But I digress. What I liked most about this book was that it has overall an upbeat vibe. In fact unlike most novels which start from a relative high point and progress toward a low one, Dreamsnake begins at the nadir and advances toward apex.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-02-06 12:01

    My overall impression is that this in an interesting book, but I really want it to be the first in a series. The reason for that is because there are so many issues that are alluded to but not really explored. If there's a later book in which these aspects are more fully developed, then, cool, I liked this a lot. If not, well, then, there's a lot of promise that is just left to wither out on the blasted nuclear desert of this future Earth. (I presume Earth - it's suggested, but I suppose not explicitly said.)Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Sheila
    2019-02-01 17:02

    4 stars--I really liked it.This novel has a strange format. There's no real main story arc, but rather many smaller stories of Snake traveling, healing, and having adventures. This didn't bother me at all, since I liked Snake and enjoyed her wandering. The other characters were enjoyable as well. Despite being a very old-school SF novel, it still felt fresh to me.My first McIntyre, but I hope to read others!

  • Derek
    2019-02-12 10:09

    Having just finished the hugly disappointingThe Vor Game in my quest to read all the Hugo winners, this was a welcome breath of fresh air.It was controversial in its day (but probably not so much now), with its polyandrous and polygynous (why does my computer's dictionary accept the former, but not the latter?) family relationships, people who have sex for fun, and a female lead who enjoys male companionship but doesn't need it.Apparently, it rubbed some readers the wrong way that in a quest story set in a post-apocalyptic—and sometimes still radioactive—world, our "Mad Max" character is not only not a fighter but a healer. Personally, I loved the fact that while she carries a belt knife, it never even occurs to her to use it against an attacker.McIntyre is, by background, a biologist, so even though her method of using snakes to cure disease was pure fantasy at the time, it was grounded in solid science. Unlike so much older SF, what was then fantasy only seems more plausible now, not less. 

  • sologdin
    2019-02-08 12:58

    Nutshell: oneiromancer replaces plot-significant serpent, then celebrates by screwing some wasteland mutants.Has a piece of Tehanu insofar as key relationship in the story is female protagonist and adopted girl, who is a victim of a sexual offense.Likewise has a piece of This Immortal, The Einstein Intersection, or A Canticle for Leibowitz to the extent that it is set in a nuclear wasteland, has some spacefarers or aliens, is contaminated by mutants, and follows a peregrinating protagonist. It’s the opposite of Delany, though, because here the cities are afraid of wasteland mutants whereas Delany’s cities are pluralists and his rural folk are narrow-minded on the mutant question.Events occur somewhat episodically. Setting is not particularly memorable, and is the usual mix of primitivist barbarity and high tech found in far future, dying earth, and post-apocalyptic subgenres. Writing is proficient. Presentation of protagonist and adopted daughter is effective. Hugo award is plausible.Recommended for those who spend their lives in exile with the rest of the freaks, readers who live in a land where stars are seldom visible, and persons accustomed to an indefinable aura of abandonment.

  • Krazykiwi
    2019-02-03 09:45

    So hard to review a book that I loved so much as a teenager, and still read through rose-coloured glasses. And again with the crossover - although this reads very much like high fantasy, and that's what you'd probably think it was from the blurb, it's really a far-future post-apocalyptic sci-fi. It's also super-typical seventies feminist fiction (for both the good and the bad that brings). Snake, the protagonist, is a healer, using a curious mixture of what at first glance seems like shamanistic snake charming, and to this end she has a small collection of snakes that she carries with her as she wanders around looking for patients. Humanity now resides either in huge domed cities full of high tech, or, like Snake, outside in small tribal familial groups -- and they are not welcome in the cities. When Snake loses one of her snakes, the one that's actually an alien creature, and doesn't breed properly on earth, it's a big problem, because without them she can't do her job. She resolves to fix the problem by asking the city folk for help, and off she goes on a quest that ends up taking her somewhere else entirely.As a 17 year old, I would have rated this book a million stars out of five. As an adult, I have to give it four. The pacing is insane, the last quarter of the book is utterly nuts (but fun!), and I can't really gloss over the instalovey romance thing like I did back then. But the romance is a very tiny part of this book, a handful of pages at most. It's also a fast and easy read, with a strongly written woman as protagonist: Snake is self-reliant, sometimes to a fault, and she is utterly determined against overwhelming odds. She is also imperfect, she struggles with self-esteem issues after losing her beloved snake, she doesn't always read people well or know how to deal with them, and comes off a little naive. She just always picks herself up and keeps going though. I like Snake a lot, it's just about everyone else in the book I could give or take.Somewhat interestingly given current puppy antics surrounding sci-fi, this book grabbed the hat-trick of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus (and it didn't stop there, it got tons of awards). Also don't let the feminist slant put you off either. It's there, but in a very sci-fi way which is actually pretty fascinating and thought provoking.(view spoiler)[For instance, Snake runs across a character who is vilified because he accidentally got a girl pregnant - although both men and women are able to control their own fertility through bio-controlling their own temperature, she was too young and untrained (he was supposed to be her "practice dude" more or less, but he was just bad at it and messed up.)(hide spoiler)] I expect this isn't too easy to find these days, but if you ever notice that distinctive girl on the tiger pony cover in a used book store, you could do a lot worse than throwing a dollar or two at it.

  • Iraida
    2019-02-12 14:43

    2016 Reading Challenge: Un libro protagonizado por un personaje con mi profesiónEsta historia transcurre en un mundo postapocalíptico (presumo que la Tierra tras un desastre nuclear) del que se dan pocos detalles y en el que Serpiente, nuestra protagonista, tendrá que sobrevivir. Su oficio como sanadora depende de sus tres serpientes (Susurro, Sombra y Silencio), pero tras la pérdida de una de ellas deberá encontrar el modo de reemplazarla. El problema está en la escasez de serpientes del sueño que hay, por lo que su permanencia en el gremio de los curanderos puede estar en peligro. Serpiente del sueño es un libro que aboga por el feminismo, de ahí que en lugar de puntuarlo con 4 estrellas, como me hubiera gustado, lo haya dejado en 3. Porque esta novela debería ser leída en inglés, o en cualquier idioma en el que los sustantivos no puedan adquirir género (como ocurre en el español) y esa vertiente reivindicativa surta efecto. Intentaré explicarlo mejor.La colección Nova (Ediciones B) es una maravilla, así que difícilmente puedo tener queja alguna con su traducción/edición. De hecho, los obstáculos que el castellano supone para esta obra son previamente explicados por Miquel Barceló en una breve introducción, ya que no es un problema de los traductores, sino de las 'limitaciones' del idioma per se. Cualquier persona puede entender que mientras "the leader" en inglés no tiene género alguno, en español estamos obligados a escribir "la líder" o "el líder", desvelando el sexo de la persona a la que nos referimos. Se pierde así, completamente, el efecto sorpresa con el que Vonda McIntyre nos intenta aleccionar. Su novela está plagada de personajes femeninos que, en un primer momento (y en inglés, como digo), hemos catalogado mental y automáticamente como masculinos. Un farmacéutico, un líder o un decano que terminan siendo, páginas más tarde, una farmacéutica, una líder o una decana con nombres tan ambiguos que podría ser lógico creer que se estaban refiriendo a hombres. Ahí es donde McIntyre nos obliga a hacer autocrítica: ¿qué nos hizo suponer que eran hombres?Lamentablemente, ese juego lingüístico apenas podemos apreciarlo en la edición en castellano. Por otro lado, leerlo en nuestra lengua no nos impide disfrutar de una historia bastante peculiar y tierna, en cierto modo. Elaborada pese a su brevedad y parquedad, una bonita herramienta a favor del feminismo y una curiosa reflexión sobre la medicina (al menos para mí, que tan cerca la tengo). He disfrutado bastante leyendo este libro, pese a que me ha desilusionado ser consciente de todo lo que me he perdido por la traducción. Mi recomendación a quien esté interesado en él es que lo lea en inglés, a ser posible.

  • Christy
    2019-02-09 15:46

    In Dreamsnake, Vonda McIntyre tells a captivating and moving story about a healer, Snake, and her quest to find a new dreamsnake after the death of her first, Grass. Along the way, she meets a man, adopts a young girl, travels great distances, and overcomes many hardships, physical and emotional. She proves herself to be honorable, strong, wise, and the kind of character a reader can really care about. The relationship that develops between Snake and Melissa, the young girl she adopts, is deep and believable enough to have moved me to tears. What's more, so is her relationship with her snakes. I intensely dislike snakes; I am terrified of them, in fact. I am so afraid of snakes that not only will a picture of a snake in a book startle me but that I cannot bring myself to touch even a picture of a snake. However, because of the value the Snake places on her snakes (Mist, Sand, and Grass), I begin to care about the snakes, too. When Grass is killed early in the book, I feel only sadness and loss at the death of this small creature. Creating sympathy for snakes is quite a feat and McIntyre accomplishes it beautifully. Beyond good storytelling and compelling characters and relationships, McIntyre's novel is interesting because of its focus on biology as well. Snake is immune to her snakes' venom and is able to manipulate their venom to heal others; she also comes from a community of healers that is able to practice cloning and genetic manipulation. Furthermore, the post-nuclear apocalypse setting of Dreamsnakev is only hinted at, for the focus is not on the old technologies or on the "shiny metal machines" that many (e.g., Orson Scott Card) associate with science fiction; the scientific emphasis is instead on biological manipulation. This use of biotechnology will become more important in science fiction in later years, but in 1978 this was fairly groundbreaking.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-12 08:48

    I wouldn't have read Dreamsnake without one of my groups on GR reading it, I think. It's not something I would've come across otherwise, but I'm glad I did. It reminded me, in tone, of The Steerswoman (Rosemary Kirstein), and like The Steerswoman, it has a mature female main character who gets done whatever needs to be got done in her field, without too much fear of outsiders.I liked the world built up in glimpses, here: way post-apocalyptic event, a whole different sort of living... the hints of fear and loathing in the people of the city, hinting at what might have caused that fear and loathing. I liked the relationships suggested here: two three-way relationships, apparently both stable and functioning well, suggesting a whole culture of three-way relationships, or at least permissiveness toward them...I wasn't sure about the male protagonist -- I've forgotten his name already -- and would almost have rather done without him. I did like the build-up of the relationship with Melissa, though.Despite themes that normally bother me -- illness, rape -- I didn't find this difficult to read, at all. I read it in under two hours, in four or five sessions on a single day.While I liked it, I didn't find it mindblowing, though.

  • Spider the Doof Warrior
    2019-02-16 08:57

    Does disability HAVE to equal death in so many books?

  • Bradley
    2019-01-17 17:03

    I was worried that I might have thought this early SF dystopia might have not held up so well after nearly 40 years of a never ending stream of them, but considering that I recently watched some early Mad Max films, I'm all good. We have to place these things in their time.After all, where else are you going to get a surprisingly deep character and women's study dystopian future that includes aliens, nearly Bene Gesserit healers, the depths of adoption and justice, and a woman who embodies the symbol of wisdom as Snake? To be sure, the novel is mild in comparison with so many gritty Dystopians or even a grand portion of YAs, but it does have heart. In analysis, I can give it higher props for being some of the very first SFs of the time to bring in some of the new growing trends of fantasy, being darker and unwilling to look away from cultural injustice or be willing to devolve into character caricature. Like I said, the characters are developed carefully and realistically. The novel would never earn a Hugo these days, but we should never forget that those who start a trend that everyone later beats to death still began it. ;)

  • Bondama
    2019-01-22 14:02

    Vonda K. McIntyre's picture of a healer, who heals with snakes in a dystopian world. All I can say is that this will remain one of my most favorite book for the rest of my life. I spent so much in tears -- but they were good, honest tears, I was moved because the writing is exquisite.

  • Princessjay
    2019-02-07 12:12

    Absorbing story set in a well-realized world. The tale of one lone woman travelling through a harsh land and cultures differentiated by different levels & awareness of technology. I really appreciated how little info-dump exposition there is in this book. Everything arises from characters interacting with one another, a seemingly off-hand description here and there with no particular fanfare. These seem like genuine thoughts and actions from people who LIVE in their world, with entire lives' knowledge of background info that came to the fore as situation arose, not artificially displayed for some hidden reader /listener.The world itself, its harshness, the way people lived scrabbling to conserve and re-use every resource, is excellently realized, is thoroughly logically consistent and still beautiful.I like how the story begins with basic tribe-level subsistence-level life, ignorant of vaccination & complex medicine, then opens up from thereon to hint at greater and greater events, enlarging the scope and complexity of this world. Even though the story remains centered on Snake and her immediate concerns, it is fascinating how knowledg changes one's perspective. If the world is a terrifying and mysterious place to one person who has no understanding of technology, shift the perception to another person who has greater understanding and the very nature of the world shift as well (and we as readers get to experience these shifts first-hand). This happens several times in the novel, and the interaction of characters each with these different levels of understanding is masterfully conveyed.A story from a master storyteller, told with low-key poetry, and feels as relevant today as it did 40 years ago. Timeless. Highly recommended!

  • Geoff
    2019-01-27 13:04

    I enjoyed this post-apocalyptic journey with Snake as she travels a dangerous desert in search of a new dreamsnake.This book is certainly not for herpetophobics (fear of snakes) but I thought the Healer profession as presented in this book was very interesting. In our own world, snake venom is used to create antivenom but the slight twist McIntyre puts on this is great. It would have been great to learn a bit more about the healers and their science, but I could tell that isn't the type of book McIntyre wrote.For the most part, the book follows Snake through her journey but there are a few passages that follow Arevin, a love-struck tribesman. Every time he came up I was instantly bored, he serves very little purpose. There was also a time when the possibility of going 'off-world' came up. And this excited me. It would have been interesting to see Snake in a completely foreign environment. I feel there would have been some life-changing revelations for her.

  • Michael Woods
    2019-02-06 15:51

    As I re-read this novel, the House GOP is currently attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act - an action that, if they are successful, would restrict access to health care for millions of Americans. So, I can't help but think of the themes of this book in terms of the current political debate. The concerns McIntyre raises in this novel over thirty years ago - access to health care, the hoarding of important resources by a privileged few - remain as poignant today as they did then. It seems we haven't come very far in that time - maybe we've even gone backwards a little bit. But there is a sense of hope and optimism that pervades this post-apocalyptic tale, sadly missing in most current books in that genre. Characters, such as Snake, sacrifice of themselves for the public good and are motivated out of a sense of compassion for the suffering of others. These are positive traits of the human spirit, and I wish more science fiction writers shared this philosophy.Overall, McIntyre develops all elements of story telling in this novel very well. The characters are deep and complex; the setting is richly detailed and imagined; the plot flows logically without appearing too contrived; her narration pulls the reader into the story; and the themes, as I started out saying, are relevant and well supported. No wonder the novel won both Hugo and Nebula awards in 1979.

  • Viv JM
    2019-02-15 13:01

    3.5 stars, rounded up.Well, this was fun - in a slightly cheesy 1970s way :-)Dreamsnake is set in a future post-apocalyptic landscape, but it reads more like fantasy. It was more hopeful and upbeat than most such tales, and I enjoyed that about it. I like snakes, and I liked that they were used in healing work in this story. And the key to breading the "dreamsnakes" was fascinating and delightful. I really couldn't buy the romance aspect of the story, though, it just felt too contrived. I listened to the audiobook of this - the narrator was OK, but definitely needed speeding up!

  • Saphana
    2019-01-20 15:09

    What sologdin wrote. 100%.

  • Ruth Anne Corbett
    2019-01-19 09:57

    This is my favourite book of all time about to re-read again

  • Badseedgirl
    2019-01-17 13:10

    My major 2016 reading goal is to read all the “Hugo award for best novel” winning books. There are currently 64 books in this category. I would like to say this was an original goal, but the truth is my friend “Spoltz” over here started it way before me. I have decided to accept the challenge he laid down. Sixty-four books sounds like a lot but I have already read 18 of them previously. Many of these already read books were ones I picked up and randomly read before I knew anything about the Hugo’s or what they were. I might go back and re-read a couple of the ones I really like.My first 2016 book in this challenge is the 1979 winner, Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre. Every time I saw the cover of this novel, and read the novel blurb, I felt I had already read this book. Eventually I found out that Ms. McIntyre originally wrote a short story “Of Mist, and, Grass, and Sand” which was nominated for a 1974 Hugo award for short story and won a 1973 Nebula Award for best Novelette. I read this novel in middle or high school and I like the story so much that the plot stuck with me even if the title did not. Ms. McIntyre expanded the story and it became Dreamsnake. I love a post-apocalyptic novel and one with strong women characters. This novel has both. Dreamsnake is closer to a “cozy apocalypse.” There are no roving bands of survivors struggling to survive in a ravaged world full of “Mad Max” type characters battling for the last can of dog food. The society which the reader found themselves was several generations removed from the nuclear war which caused the world as we know it to end. Because of this, the author was able to create in “Snake” her main character, a precious combination of innocence and intelligence. Characters who are struggling for their survival rarely get to display this combination and survive. There was some sex and violence in this novel, but the way it was written, there was a barrier between the reader and the story and I never felt unduly concerned for the characters. Don’t get me wrong, in spite of this barrier, I just adored this book. From the moment I started reading it, I was engaged in this story. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Snake. I wanted her to find another dreamsnake to replace the one killed by the ignorant villagers. Although this is not a perfect novel. I would read other novels from Vonda N. McIntyre4 of 5 stars.

  • Jenni Joru
    2019-01-16 13:54

    Vonda McIntyre on yksi lempikirjailijoistani. Unikäärme on ydinkatastrofin jälkeiseen maailmaan sijoittuva tarina parantaja Käärmeestä, joka kulkee tiikerijuovaisella ponillaan yhdyskunnasta toiseen ja auttaa sairaita ja niitäkin, jotka ovat avun ulottumattomissa. Apunaan hänellä on jalostetut käärmeet ja seerumit, joiden avulla myrkyt saadaan toimimaan lääkkeiden ja rokotteiden tavoin. Kirja alkaa, kun Käärme hoitaa syrjäisessä autiomaaklaanissa sairasta lasta. Lapsella on suuri kasvain vatsassaan. Käärme valmistaa kobransa avulla seerumin, joka voidaan antaa lapselle aamulla. Yöksi Käärme jättää lapsen lähelle unikäärmeen, joka rauhoittaa ja antaa unen.Käärmeen vakuutteluista huolimatta hietakyiden kanssa elävät klaanilaiset pelkäävät käärmeitä niin paljon, että tuskin suostuvat välttämättömään hoitoon. Yön aikana joku klaanilaisista on säikähtänyt unikäärmettä niin, että se on tapettu. Käärme on vaikean tilanteen edessä. Unikäärmeitä ei saada lisääntymään, eikä niiden kloonaaminen ole helppoa. Uskotaan, että tieto unikäärmeiden alkuperästä ja lisääntymisestä on Kaupungissa, suljetussa paikassa, jossa kommunikoidaan maanulkoisten voimien kanssa. Parantajat ovat ennenkin anoneet apua ja tarjonneet yhteistyötä Kaupungille ja tulleet aina torjutuksi. Koko ammattikuntaa uhkaa hiipuminen, ellei unikäärmeitä voida enää saada. Käärmeen pitäisi palata Parantajien keskukseen kertomaan tilanteesta, mutta hän haluaa koettaa hyvittää tapahtuneen. Tarinan edetessä käy ilmi, että traaginen tapahtuma johtaa vaarallisiin seikkailuihin, mutta myös odottamattomaan menestykseen. Unikäärme on hieno kirja, tunnelmallinen, mielenkiintoinen ja jännittävä. Luulen, että yhtään biologiaan kallellaan olevat geekit pitäisivät tästä teoksesta (kuten myös Jeff VanderMeerista). Suosittelen myös tutustumaan McIntyren toiseen suomennettuun teokseen "Aurinko ja kuu", joka on kiehtova vaihtoehtohistoria aurinkokuninkaan hovista ja merenneidoista.

  • Joshua Gross
    2019-02-11 09:43

    I was a Vonda McIntyre fan before I read this book. Diana Gabaldon, at the beginning of one of the Outlander books, mentions Vonda McIntyre's book The Moon and the Sun and I decided to check it out. It was an amazing book about the court of Louis XIV at Versailles and a mermaid creature that is caught and brought there to live in one of the fountains. It was a wonderful book that I have already reviewed here. Recently, for my Young Adult Lit class, I saw we were reading a short story called Of Mist, Grass, and Sand by Vonda McIntyre and I was very excited to read more of her work. The short story was great, with a strong female protagonist, and was one of the best things I read in that class. I was glad to discover it was essentially the first chapter of her novel Dreamsnake, and the book is even better. Everything about this book is well done. The characters are vivid and interesting, with complex problems and emotions. Snake, the protagonist, is a strong, powerful woman who knows her job and does it well. While she understands her responsiblities in this world and to her community, she goes where she wants to and does what she wants to do. The book is well-plotted and moves along at a good pace without being predictable. The world she's created is interesting but firmly in the background, not overwhelming the reader with world-building. The book explored multiple themes relating to unwanted children, birth control, adoption, addiction, sexualty, fear, marginalization, community, and family, and does it gracefully and without sentimentality. This was a very forward-thinking book, particularly for the era it was written in.