Vonda N. McIntyre
Dreamsnake Cover



My major 2016 reading goal is to read all the "Hugo award for best novel" winning books. There are currently 64 books in this category. I would like to say this was an original goal, but the truth is my friend "Spoltz" over here started it way before me. I have decided to accept the challenge he laid down. Sixty-four books sounds like a lot but I have already read 18 of them previously. Many of these already read books were ones I picked up and randomly read before I knew anything about the Hugo's or what they were. I might go back and re-read a couple of the ones I really like.

My first 2016 book in this challenge is the 1979 winner, Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre. Every time I saw the cover of this novel, and read the novel blurb, I felt I had already read this book. Eventually I found out that Ms. McIntyre originally wrote a short story "Of Mist, and, Grass, and Sand" which was nominated for a 1974 Hugo award for short story and won a 1973 Nebula Award for best Novelette. I read this novel in middle or high school and I like the story so much that the plot stuck with me even if the title did not. Ms. McIntyre expanded the story and it became Dreamsnake.

I love a post-apocalyptic novel and one with strong women characters. This novel has both. Dreamsnake is closer to a "cozy apocalypse." There are no roving bands of survivors struggling to survive in a ravaged world full of "Mad Max" type characters battling for the last can of dog food. The society which the reader found themselves was several generations removed from the nuclear war which caused the world as we know it to end. Because of this, the author was able to create in "Snake" her main character, a precious combination of innocence and intelligence. Characters who are struggling for their survival rarely get to display this combination and survive.

There was some sex and violence in this novel, but the way it was written, there was a barrier between the reader and the story and I never felt unduly concerned for the characters. Don't get me wrong, in spite of this barrier, I just adored this book. From the moment I started reading it, I was engaged in this story. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Snake. I wanted her to find another dreamsnake to replace the one killed by the ignorant villagers. Although this is not a perfect novel. I would read other novels from Vonda N. McIntyre

4 of 5 stars.