DREAMSNAKE by Vonda McIntyre


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McIntyre's Nebula-Award-winning ""Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand"" is an extraordinary short story; why blow it up into a novel? Happily, the expanded version has its own attractiveness. As before, the protagonist is the young traveling healer Snake, trained to manufacture her own antitoxins from the venom of Mist and Sand, the live cobra and rattler she carries on her journeys through the deserts and mountains of her blighted planet. To the original tale--in which the superstitious hysteria of a sick child's parents destroys Snake's third and most precious serpent, Grass the ""dreamsnake""--is now added snake's quest for another dreamsnake. She is pursued in her travels by a mysterious figure in desert robes and sought from far by Arevin, a young man who has loved her since her healing of the child. Some of the virtues of the short-story version are necessarily gone. Much that was left unstated or understated has been filled in: the feelings of Snake and Arevin; the prevailing state of medical science and its implications for various peoples; the off-world origin of the dream-snakes with their hallucinogenic venom. The result is a more conventional, preachier narrative than ""Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand,"" but a sound and forceful one.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin