The Complete Dreamsongs ★★☆☆½

completedreamsongs (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Complete Dreamsongs
Author: George Martin
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 1146
Words: 494K

 

Synopsis:

Combining Dreamsongs I and Dreamsongs II into one omnibus, this collects the majority of Martin’s short stories from the beginning of his career to its publication date in either 2003 or 2006.

 

My Thoughts:

I really liked how Martin talked about the stage of his life when he wrote each story. It gave some background and made him a person. Even in his own words he comes across as an arrogant jackass and anyone who thinks he’s going to finish Game of Thrones had better look at his own self-proclaimed track record. With that out of the way….

This was some of the best writing I have read in a while. Martin has talent and he’s spent the time honing his skill and it shows. Based on the writing alone, this deserves 5 stars. If you like good story TELLING, then you need to read this.

However, WHAT he writes about is what took this right down to its current rating. Almost every story is sad, melancholic, depressing, horrific or down right twisted. While Sandkings is a fantastic horrorific short story, 1100 pages of that kind of things wears you down. These stories also gave me vivid bad dreams, to the point where I stopped reading this in the evenings.

I read this in small doses (I started in mid-April) and I cannot imagine the affect of trying to read this straight through. I would not recommend that to anyone, no matter how much they might enjoy Martin’s writing. While I plan on re-reading Sandkings every decade or so, I think that will be the limit of my Martin reading. I will assiduously avoid all his others writings.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

56 thoughts on “The Complete Dreamsongs ★★☆☆½

  1. Ola G says:

    I liked some of his stories, but never tried to read more than one at a time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading the comments abobve, but I don’t think I would have the patience to take on one story at a time; I wouldn’t be able to stop myself binge-reading them. Wonder why there’s such a gap between style and content here?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gehmeyr says:

    Just two months ago, I read Sandking (as part of Dozois‘s ultimate best of anthology). I‘m glad that it was mixed with other stories of different authors because I hate horror. But THIS story is just great, from a literary point of view but also from its characterization and plot arc. I think it is a must read and not totally deep into horror. Can’t say much about the other stories, though. My review of sandkings is here: https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/sandkings-%e2%80%a2-1979-%e2%80%a2-horror-sf-novelette-by-george-r-r-martin/

    Liked by 2 people

  4. YouKneeK says:

    I think you liked the writing better than I did, but I only read “Part I” which had a lot of his earlier stuff. I imagine I might have liked Part II better. I did like several of the stories though, especially Sandkings! And that Monkey story (can’t remember the full title, but the bizarre diet story) has stuck with me.

    I agree with you that Martin’s personal background was interesting to read. I laughed about your first paragraph because I think I do remember reading in his personal background sections some comments about him having trouble finishing things!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a friend who loved Game of Thrones (the books) recommend Martin’s writing to me… until she found out that I like hopeful — or at least not constantly depressing — stories. Then she told me that I should just read the Wikipedia synopsis instead of Martin’s actual works. Thanks for the confirmation on that. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I haven’t touched the GoT books and never plan too, even if they do get completed. Nothing I’ve heard about them endears them to me and after reading these short stories, there is no way I’d read a monster series by Martin :-/

      Glad you dodged that bullet.

      Like

    • Bookstooge says:

      Thanks for letting me know. I would ask that you remove the reblog as after I browsed your site you appear to have some adult content that I don’t wish to have associated with my name or site.

      Thank you.

      Like

  6. I’ve loved the ASOI&F books-I like the humour in amongst the betrayals and deaths! I’m beyond irritated waiting for The Winds of Winter. I don’t ever think we’ll see the final book and that really bugs me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, knowing GRRM it’s no surprise that his stories are not exactly a boatload of fun! 😀 Still, I enjoyed most of the stories – not all of them – and also the personal snippets that Martin shared along the way. And since I came to own these two books after listening to some of the stories narrated by the awesome Claudia Black, they will remain in the 4-star range for me… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bkfrgr says:

    Hmm, good to know that the overall tone is downbeat. I have the first volume of Dreamsongs kicking around somewhere … I’ll remember to take the stories a couple at a time when I get round to it. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. haha love your opening paragraph to your review! I don’t know if GRRM might complete GOT- although with lockdown he might have been forced to- but also given how rubbish the conclusion to the tv series is- and that the worst bits were confirmed as GRRM’s intentions- I’m not sure I care anymore. Part of my problem is how depressing (and in my opinion nihilistic) he tends to be. I think I’m going to limit my GRRM reading too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      You nailed him with the words “pessimistic” and “nihilistic”. Most of these stories fall into those categories perfectly.

      I think a lot of fans of GoT are starting to stop caring as well. I feel bad for them but I don’t see martin caring or doing anything about it.

      Like

  10. It’s nice to see that you still gave him two thumbs up for his writing style. As for the content, it does sound like something written on a rainy day. I’ll see if I ever get curious enough to want to know more post-GoT…

    Liked by 1 person

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