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Dreamfall (2004)

Dreamfall (2004)

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3.87 of 5 Votes: 4
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0765303426 (ISBN13: 9780765303424)
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About book Dreamfall (2004)

I feel like I'm coming out of dreamfall myself—a long waking dream that started when I began reading the Cat series. Book lovers know what I'm talking about: your non-reading time feels like a haze, because you're not aware of the here and now. You're still inside the novel. While Psion was more of a coming-of-age/adventure and Catspaw more political intrigue, Dreamfall felt like a film noir, with Cat uncovering a mystery that leads him to the ghetto streets of Freaktown and eventually the corrupt and cold-blooded men that keep up the status quo. It's not as hard-bitten in style as something like The Big Sleep, though. Cat's longing for connection and forgiveness soften the tone, although he has some dark musings about human nature. Cat's thoughts added such texture to the story. He would often think with the delicacy of poetry, but switch to say something incredibly hard-as-nails out loud. Those reversals were so delightfully surprising. There was an overall feeling of isolation in this book. The isolation of your own biology, of a community kept at arm's length. The isolation we impose upon ourselves. Of how another being, whether human or alien, is ultimately unknowable. That sense of being blocked in wasn't obvious, but kept the events tied together nicely. Dreamfall is the third—and sadly, last—book in this series, and it feels more like an Empire Strikes Back than a Return of the Jedi; that soft minor chord before the music swells to a magnificent crescendo. (view spoiler)[There were many things left open-ended: Miya's new tech skills; Cat's mysterious tattoo; whether he'll ever fully get his telepathy back; when/if he'll return to Refuge; and the implication that Cat may be something more than either Human or Hydran. (hide spoiler)]

Vinge is one of my favourite scfi authors. Not only because she is a excellent writer but because she reveals a compassionate soul. Probably it is in this book where she shows this in a beautiful and, at the same time, a crude narrative. The core of the it is world of horrific and icy oppression and the counterpart, the fight for human values: dignity, fair dealing, justice, etc. It is the second time I read it, but at that time, almost ten years ago, I didn't notice how powerful the message was. I should say that the world she describes is not very much different to the world we are living today, with almost untouchable worldwide secret services, powerful private corporations doing as it please their greed, extreme inequality, colonialism in its worst form (does exist a good form?.

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Oh Joan D. Vinge. Why did you revive a series I enjoyed years after? I loved Catspaw and thought the ending satisfied Cat's tale quite well. Enter Dreamfall, which is just a mess of a novel. I'm giving it a 2 because I think Vinge's writing is still solid, I just truthfully think that there was no reason for us to go back and see how Cat's doing when his story felt complete prior. I wanted to enjoy this one, but I was just so frusrated with what the story was doing and how it moved, and that essentially killed what little enjoyment I had.

Given my love of Psion, this review is riddled with disappointment and someone else might give it another star out of some kind of misguided pity.Shambling adolescent sulker stumbles through grindingly plodding narrative. In the debut novel "Psion", the behaviour matched the age, but now it drags. Despite this, two random women throw themselves at our hero and two more sexually assault him (much less exciting than it sounds, no really). Psion has a wonderful spirit of magic and mystery, of a tense combative foe in a cruel uncaring world. Dreamfall has dreams crushed underfoot by mechanical processors.In a wonderfully backhanded review on the back cover of my edition a reviewer says "The cloud-reef backdrop is spectacular". True and desperate all at the same time...

Well, it was great to hear the end of the story for Cat. And although it did not end entirely happily for Cat, I felt like Vinge left enough unsaid to assume he'd figure out a way to enjoy a happy ending eventually. My biggest criticism is regarding Cat's tattoo. It was mentioned several times in book two, and in this third book it was brought up every few chapters. I am somewhat irritated it was not used as a plot point. I mean, the tattoo was not even part of Cat's character--he cannot remember when or where he got it. It was a dead end character trait, that was referenced too many times to be ignored. Because it kept coming up, I assumed it was important; and I am most annoyed it was not.Not my favourite installment of Cat's journey, but I do not regret finding out the next chapter of his life.

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