Dreamsnake

  • by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Narrated by Anna Fields
  • 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller and winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Dreamsnake is the haunting, critically acclaimed novel of an extraordinary woman and her dangerous quest to reclaim her healing powers.When the healer Snake was summoned, she traveled the blasted landscape with her three serpents. From the venom of two of them, she distilled her medicines. But most valued of all was the alien dreamsnake, whose bite could ease the fear and pain of death.When the dreamsnake is killed, Snake's powers as a healer are all but lost. Her only hope of finding another dreamsnake lies in a treacherous journey to the far-off Center City, where Snake will be pursued by two implacable followers: one driven mad by love, the other by fear and need.

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What the Critics Say

"Anna Fields narrates with her usual mastery of the nuances of plot, mood, and character.... Fields adds to the haunting sense of reality and possibility that underlies the events set forth." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Classic SF that's still fresh 30 year on

The 1980 Pan Edition of "Dreamsnake" snagged my attention because the graphics were original and intriguing and winning the Hugo AND the Nebula awards placed it alongside "Dune ", "The Left Hand of Darkness", "Ringworld " and "The Dispossessed " all by authors I knew well. Yet I had never heard of Vonda McIntyre.

I bought the book, was hooked from the first scene, read it compulsively for the next few days and have carried it with me from house to house ever since.

When I came across the audiobook version (with a much less inspired cover), I decided to find out whether the book was impressive because it was of its time or whether it was simply a good book.

The audiobook itself must have been pioneering as it was recorded by Blackstone Audio in 1999. You can hear its age from time to time in the sound quality but Anna Fields' talent as a narrator more than makes up for that.

I'm happy to say that "Dreamsnake" is just as good now as I remember it being then.

Even on the first read, I was aware of how deftly Vonda McIntyre tells her tale. She builds a complete view of a complex world, not by using info-dumps/quotes from historic chronicles, but by showing what people take for granted and what they question.

Back then I was also impressed by the liberal sexual mores of societies that embraced, polyamory and required adults to have control over their own reproductive capabilities. These were radical ideas back then but "Dreamsnake" neither sensationalises them nor pushes them as dogma.

On a second read, I became aware that Vonda McIntyre had done something truly remarkable that I didn't notice the first time around: she has written an exciting adventure that calls for bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of physical danger but where problems are never resolved through violence.

The strongest themes in this book are freedom, responsibility, and mutual obligation. Yet the book also reads as a quest-based adventure.

"Snake", the Healer in the book, remains one of my favourite characters in Science Fiction. She is honest, brave, determined to help others but not superhuman. She is prone to anger, guilty of arrogance from time to time and often endangers herself and others because of a fundamentally naive world-view. Yet she is the kind of person who will always inspire fierce loyalty without ever seeking to do so.

"Dreamsnake" is a short book by modern SF standards. On the re-read I was aware of how much more I wanted to know about this world and the people in it. There is enough here to power at least a trilogy. "Dreamsnake" was actually built on a short story "Of Mist and Grass and Sand" which perhaps explains its compact power and there were no sequels.

If you are an SF fan, you should count "Dreamsnake" as part of the cannon.

If you're not sure if SF is for you, give "Dreamsnake" a try and see if Snake and her serpents can win your heart the way they did mine.
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- Mike Murphy

The narration completes this well-rounded title.

If you could sum up Dreamsnake in three words, what would they be?

A slightly dark, very well detailed and believable story with rich characters and good pace. Well thought through and subtle in its future setting like hard sci fi should be. The narration was superb - Anna Fields has a charming yet soothing voice that can occasionally ignite characters.


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- MR

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-06-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.