Sunday, 16 March 2014

Book Review: The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny

The Dream MasterThe Dream Master by Roger Zelazny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zelazny's 1965 Nebula winner is a classic of 1960s New Wave science fiction. It follows Render the Shaper, a psychologist who attempts to help his patients by going with them into their dream worlds. Render has his own psychological problems, however, and when he meets a blind, attractive, female psychologist who wants to follow in his professional footsteps, trouble ensues. Render is at first hesitant about the impact the colorful dream world will have on someone who has never had sight, but it's his own sanity that he should be watching out for.
I found the idea intriguing, but the writing uneven. There are some brilliant and very trippy passages here and also some clunky one, especially in the dialog, in which many widely different people sound identical. The addition of a sentient dog adds nothing to the story and seems there only to satisfy the scifi buffs.
At its core, this is a brilliant novel, but its execution is lacking. Nevertheless it was highly influential and those interested in New Wave writing will want to read this.

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5 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Roger Zelazny was the writer who inspired me to write in the first place. I am not blind to his faults though. Towards the end of his writing, he experimented in his prose, damaging the flow of the story.

As an archaeologist, you might enjoy THIS IMMORTAL or LORD OF LIGHT oir ISLE OF THE DEAD much more than THE DREAM MASTER.

D.G. Hudson said...

I haven't read anything by this author, but I know others do like some of his work.

Thanks for the review!

Sean McLachlan said...

Roland: I read ISLE OF THE DEAD many years ago and remember liking it a lot!

Carol Kilgore said...

I like the dream world idea.

M. J. Joachim said...

It's so sad when a potentially really good book doesn't quite come together.

MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
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