The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny

I don’t know why this one is largely under the radar. Imaginative, nicely written, vision of the future which isn’t so wrong -love the dog.

But is there anybody who has read this and understands the ongoing part of the man walking along the road who ends up killing himself? Is this Render? Is this how he escapes being trapped in another person’s dream? Is everything that happens in the book a dream except for this part of it?

I don’t understand it. Manny doesn’t understand it.

Having looked around online – and you have to look deep, the interesting discussions are pages into Google – I discover lots of people unhappy about the things in the book that don’t bear a relationship to the main plot, such as Render’s son. It seems that this is the answer:

Zelazny originally wrote the novella (yes, novella) “He Who Shapes”
during 1964, and it was published in the January & February 1965
issues of Amazing. It was about 31,000 words in length, and it won the
Nebula for novella, tying with Aldiss’ “The Saliva Tree.” Later, he
was convinced by Damon Knight to expand the novella into a novel, and
he did this by writing extra sections that were inserted throughout
the text, thereby creating a final length of about 45,000 words. He
did this expansion *after* writing …And Call Me Conrad. This
expanded version of “He Who Shapes” was then published under the title
The Dream Master by Ace Books, and it appeared later in 1966 – *after*
This Immortal – with the Ace code #F-403 on the cover. Thus, The Dream
Master was the second novel to be written – expanded from an earlier
novella – and it has always been recognized as Zelazny’s second novel
– including by the author, who knew when he was writing it – despite
what is currently claimed in Wikipedia. Maybe somebody will fix
Wikipedia now. Chris Kovacs Alt.books

It would be interesting to compare and one assumes that the shorter version will be more cohesive.

Whatever its faults, it’s hard to put down and I thoroughly recommend it, along with digging into Google to find the interesting sci-fi reads. I love the way they don’t all herd onto the main book sites.



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