I never thought I'd find myself giving Zelazny a mere 2* for anything, but I really didn't get on with this. There is usually some sort of interesting idea as the kernel of a Zelazny story, often given one or more surprising twists. The interesting idea; that of a profession that can mould & manipulate "dreams" for people to help them solve their own neuroses, more or less; is present, but for once the author fumbles the execution. I've read SF where authors have tried to journey deep into psychological & philosophical territory, as this does, and it rarely succeeds. Even Zelazny, in this book, is no exception to that rule. If neither philosophers nor psychologists can agree amongst themselves, what chance does an author, probably with little in-depth knowledge of either subject, have of melding such open-ended abstractions into a tale without losing half their readers along the way? If, for example, you're convinced that Jungian psychology is so much mumbo-jumbo, whether it be false or incomprehensible to you, how are you going to get along with a story that requires you to believe in it?
On a less abstract level, the prose in The Dream Master is over-verbose, positively florid too often, and sprinkled with psycho- and philoso- babble. The story, such as it is, is disjointed, and there were quite a number of passages that appeared to me to be utterly irrelevant to what little plot there is. What is the purpose of letters from Peter, the protagonist's son, for instance? They appear to have nothing to do with what is going on. I wasn't surprised to find the ending was rather a mess (I won't say any more than that for fear of spoilering), as the whole rather was. In toto, Zelazny has tried to be too clever by half and hasn't pulled it off. The poor production of this edition also doesn't help matters. There are numerous typo's herein that, I presume, were in the original, but they are quite obvious & should have been corrected. Finally, the 254 page count is distinctly misleading - this paperback uses a surprisingly large typeface, with large bare margins all around each page. Of course, it might be that this is a facsimile reprint, which could explain both faults. I haven't been picky enough to actually sit down & do some sample word-counts on pages, but I suspect it's about half of what you'd normally expect. The reality is that your 254 pages amount to about 120, and if this is an extended novella, I can only wonder how short the original was because this, as it stands, is little more than a novella now.
I was going to end the review by saying that this is a bad 5/10 book, with the production quality comfortably making it a 2* rather than 3*. However, looking back over what I've written, I have to say that it really is only a 4/10, even ignoring the production. It's certainly no Lord of Light or Amber, not even a Jack of Shadows or Dilvish.
The Dream Master Paperback – 6 May 2011
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- Publisher : iBooks; New edition (6 May 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 254 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0743413016
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743413015
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.47 x 21.59 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 382,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Roger Zelazny was a three-time Nebula Award and six-time Hugo Award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy classics, including the short stories 24 Views of Mount Fuji, by Hokusai, Permafrost, and Home is the Hangman. Zelazny was the bestselling author of the ten-volume CHRONICLES OF AMBER series of fantasy novels, as well as the novels LORD OF LIGHT, and PSYCHOSHOP (written with Alfred Bester). Zelaznys novel DAMNATION ALLEY served as the basis for the 1972 cult film of the same name, starring Jan Michael Vincent and George Peppard.
3.9 out of 5
22 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries
UnsatisfyingReviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 January 2014
2 people found this helpful
One of the more experimental, classics-oriented works by ZelaznyReviewed in the United States on 15 February 2017
This was the first of Zelazny's works that I couldn't identify with on any significant level, nor get caught up in the plot. The protagonist is an uncharismatic snob and the descriptions require a much better knowledge of the classics than I have. This is less plot-based, at the more experimental spectrum of Zelazny's works. Even with a talking dog the story left me with a feeling of vague apprehension and little more.
One person found this helpful
Tony Marquise Jr.
You Can Die But Everyone Will Think You Are AliveReviewed in the United States on 12 July 2016
This is not a great science fiction book, but it is a good one. I do not want to give away the plot, but the hero of this book can shape(control) the dreams of others for character changing purposes. How and why he does this and the last pstient hedoes this for is the subject of this book. If a good book-an entertaining read- is what you are looking for,this book is what you are looking for,
SCIENCE FICTION THAT GOT IT RIGHTReviewed in the United States on 18 February 2015
I read this years ago, but it was like new for me. What particularly attracted me is how spookily accurate his 1960's predictions about the future are. He had much of it nailed! And, of course, he's an excellent writer.