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WesternSFA
Dreamsongs Volume 1
by George R.R. Martin
Bantam Books, $18.00, 683pp
Release Date: October 16, 2012

This is a massive collection of early short stories and fan pieces – and it’s only Volume 1! Each section of the book is prefaced by an autobiography of a period of his life. The sections of this book start with his youngest, fanboy days and three examples of his earliest work. The second section is titled “The Filthy Pro” and contains his reminiscences of the first time he went pro and has four sterling examples of his work of that time. The third section is titled “The Light of Distant Stars” and more autobiography of his experiences during the late 1970s including his Hugo wins. This section has the lyrical “A Song for Lya” reprinted. A wonderful story that I’d half-forgotten. The fourth section is “The Heirs of Turtle Castle” and his commentary on this section is not to be missed. It’s easy to see the antecedents of his Ice and Fire series. These stories take us up thru 1980. The fifth and final section is titled “Hybrids and Horror.” Martin discusses the influences that produced the horror he’s written and the section includes six stories. One is “Sandkings” that I suddenly remembered reading way-back-when. It was originally published in Omni in 1979; I’m sure I still have that around here somewhere. It was a very affecting story but the creepiest, for me anyway, is “The Pear-Shaped Man.”

While it was fun to reread a few old favorites and exciting to find something new, what really made this book for me was Martin’s commentary, really an autobiography. ~~ Catherine Book

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