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Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective (English Edition) par [Martin, George R. R.]
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Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective (English Edition) Format Kindle

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Longueur : 676 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit


Chapter One

A Four-Color Fanboy

In the beginning, I told my tales to no one but myself.

Most of them existed only in my head, but once I learned to read and write I would sometimes put down bits on paper. The oldest surviving example of my writing, which looks like something I might have done in kindergarten or first grade, is an encyclopedia of outer space, block-printed in one of those school tablets with the marbled black and white covers. Each page has a drawing of a planet or a moon, and a few lines about its climate and its people. Real planets like Mars and Venus co-exist happily with ones I'd swiped from Flash Gordon and Rocky Jones, and others that I made up myself.

It's pretty cool, my encyclopedia, but it isn't finished. I was a lot better at starting stories than I was at finishing them. They were only things I made up to amuse myself.

Amusing myself was something I'd learned to do at a very early age. I was born on September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey, the firstborn child of Raymond Collins Martin and Margaret Brady Martin. I don't recall having any playmates my own age until we moved into the projects when I was four. Before that, my parents lived in my great grandmother's house with my great grandmother, her sister, my grandmother, her brother, my parents, and me. Until my sister Darleen was born two years later, I was the only child. We had no kids next door either. Grandma Jones was a stubborn woman who refused to sell her house even after the rest of Broadway had gone commercial, so ours was the only residence for twenty blocks.

When I was four and Darleen was two and Janet was three years shy of being born, my parents finally moved into an apartment of their own in the new federal housing projects down on First Street. The word "projects" conjures up images of decaying high-rises set amongst grim concrete wastelands, but the LaTourette Gardens were not Cabrini-Green. The buildings stood three stories high, with six apartments on each floor. We had playgrounds and basketball courts, and across the street a park ran beside the oily waters of the Kill van Kull. It wasn't a bad place to grow up . . . and unlike Grandma Jones' house, there were other children around.

We swung on swings and slid down slides, went wading in the summer and had snowball fights in the winter, climbed trees and roller-skated, played stickball in the streets. When the other kids weren't around, I had comic books and television and toys to pass the time. Green plastic army men, cowboys with hats and vests and guns that you could swap around, knights and dinosaurs and spacemen. Like every red-blooded American kid, I knew the proper names of all the different dinosaurs (Brontosaurus, damn it, don't tell me any different). I made up the names for the knights and the spacemen.

At Mary Jane Donohoe School on Fifth Street, I learned to read with Dick and Jane and Sally and their dog, Spot. Run, Spot, run. See Spot run. Did you ever wonder why Spot runs so much? He's running away from Dick and Jane and Sally, the dullest family in the world. I wanted to run away from them as well, right back to my comic books . . . or "funny books," as we called them. My first exposure to the seminal works of western literature came through Classics Illustrated comics. I read Archie too, and Uncle Scrooge, and Cosmo the Merry Martian. But the Superman and Batman titles were my favorites . . . especially World's Finest Comics, where the two of them teamed up every month.

The first stories I can remember finishing were written on pages torn from my school tablets. They were scary stories about a monster hunter, and I sold them to the other kids in my building for a penny a page. The first story was a page long, and I got a penny. The next was two pages long, and went for two cents. A free dramatic reading was part of the deal; I was the best reader in the projects, renowned for my werewolf howls. The last story in my monster hunter series was five pages long and sold for a nickel, the price of a Milky Way, my favorite candy bar. I remember thinking I had it made. Write a story, buy a Milky Way. Life was sweet . . .

 . . . until my best customer started having bad dreams, and told his mother about my monster stories. She came to my mother, who talked to my father, and that was that. I switched from monsters to spacemen (Jarn of Mars and his gang, I'll talk about them later), and stopped showing my stories to anyone.

But I kept reading comics. I saved them in a bookcase made from an orange crate, and over time my collection grew big enough to fill both shelves. When I was ten years old I read my first science fiction novel, and began buying paperbacks too. That stretched my budget thin. Caught in a financial crunch, at eleven I reached the momentous decision that I had grown "too old" for comics. They were fine for little kids, but I was almost a teenager. So I cleared out my orange crate, and my mother donated all my comics to Bayonne Hospital, for the kids in the sick ward to read.
(Dirty rotten sick kids. I want my comics back!)

My too-old-for-comics phase lasted perhaps a year. Every time I went into the candy store on Kelly Parkway to buy an Ace Double, the new comics were right there. I couldn't help but see the covers, and some of them looked so interesting . . . there were new stories, new heroes, whole new companies . . .

It was the first issue of Justice League of America that destroyed my year-old maturity. I had always loved World's Finest Comics, where Superman and Batman teamed up, but JLA brought together all the major DC heroes. The cover of that first issue showed the Flash playing chess against a three-eyed alien. The pieces were shaped like the members of the JLA, and whenever one was captured, the real hero disappeared. I had to have it.

Next thing I knew, the orange crate was filling up once more. And a good thing, too. Otherwise I might not have been at the comics rack in 1962, to stumble on the fourth issue of some weird-looking funny book that had the temerity to call itself "the World's Greatest Comic Magazine." It wasn't a DC. It was from an obscure, third-rate company best known for their not-very-scary monster comics . . . but it did seem to be a superhero team, which was my favorite thing. I bought it, even though it cost twelve cents (comics were meant to be a dime!), and thereby changed my life.

It was the World's Greatest Comic Magazine, actually. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were about to remake the world of funny books. The Fantastic Four broke all the rules. Their identities were not secret. One of them was a monster (the Thing, who at once became my favorite), at a time when all heroes were required to be handsome. They were a family, rather than a league or a society or a team. And like real families, they squabbled endlessly with one another. The DC heroes in the Justice League could only be told apart by their costumes and their hair colors (okay, the Atom was short, the Martian Manhunter was green, and Wonder Woman had breasts, but aside from that they were the same), but the Fantastic Four had personalities. Characterization had come to comics, and in 1961 that was a revelation and a revolution.

The first words of mine ever to appear in print were "Dear Stan and Jack."

They appeared in Fantastic Four #20, dated August 1963, in the letter column. My letter of comment was insightful, intelligent, analytical—the main thrust of it was that Shakespeare had better move on over now that Stan Lee had arrived. At the end of my words of approbation, Stan and Jack printed my name and address.

Soon after, a chain letter turned up in my mailbox.

Mail for me? That was astonishing. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Marist High School, and everyone I knew lived in either Bayonne or Jersey City. Nobody wrote me letters. But here was this list of names, and it said that if I sent a quarter to the name at the top of the list, removed the top name and added mine at the bottom, then sent out four copies, in a few weeks I'd get $64 in quarters. That was enough to keep me in funny books and Milky Ways for years to come. So I scotch-taped a quarter to an index card, put it in an envelope, mailed it off to the name at the top of the list, and sat back to await my riches.

I never got a single quarter, damn it.

Instead I got something much more interesting. It so happened that the guy at the top of the list published a comic fanzine, priced at twenty-five cents. No doubt he mistook my quarter for an order. The 'zine he sent me was printed in faded purple (that was "ditto," I would learn later), badly written and crudely drawn, but I didn't care. It had articles and editorials and letters and pinups and even amateur comic strips, starring heroes I had never heard of. And there were reviews of other fanzines too, some of which sounded even cooler. I mailed off more sticky quarters, and before long I was up to my neck in the infant comics fandom of the '60s.

Today, comics are big business. The San Diego Comicon has grown into a mammoth trade show that draws crowds ten times the size of science fiction's annual WorldCon. Some small independent comics are still coming out, and comicdom has its trade journals and adzines as well, but no true fanzines as they were in days of yore. The moneychangers long ago took over the temple. In the ultimate act of obscenity, Golden Age comics are bought and sold inside slabs of mylar to insure that their owners can never actually read them, and risk decreasing their value as collectibles (whoever thought of that should be sealed inside a slab of mylar himself, if you ask me). No one calls them "funny books" anymore.

Forty years ago it was very different. Comics fandom was in its infancy. Comicons were just starting up (I was at the first one in 1964, held in one room in Manhattan, and organized by a fan named Len Wein, who went on to run both DC and Marvel and create Wolverine), but there were hundreds of fanzines. A few, like Alter Ego, were published by actual adults with jobs and lives and wives, but most were written, drawn, and edited by kids no older than myself. The best were professionally printed by photo-offset or letterpress, but those were few. The second tier were done on mimeograph machines, like most of the science fiction fanzines of the day. The majority relied on spirit duplicators, hektographs, or xerox. (The Rocket's Blast, which went on to become one of comicdom's largest fanzines, was reproduced by carbon paper when it began, which gives you some idea of how large a circulation it had).

Almost all the fanzines included a page or two of ads, where the readers could offer back issues for sale and list the comics they wanted to buy. In one such ad, I saw that some guy from Arlington, Texas, was selling The Brave and the Bold #28, the issue that introduced the JLA. I mailed off a sticky quarter, and the guy in Texas sent the funny book with a cardboard stiffener on which he'd drawn a rather good barbarian warrior. That was how my lifelong friendship with Howard Waldrop began. How long ago? Well, John F. Kennedy flew down to Dallas not long after.

My involvement in this strange and wondrous world did not end with reading fanzines. Having been published in the Fantastic Four, it was no challenge to get my letters printed by fanzines. Before long I was seeing my name in print all over the place. Stan and Jack published more of my LOCs as well. Down the slippery slope I went, from letters to short articles, and then a regular column in a fanzine called The Comic World News, where I offered suggestions on how comics I did not like could be "saved." I did some art for TCWN as well, despite the handicap of not being able to draw. I even had one cover published: a picture of the Human Torch spelling out the fanzine's name in fiery letters. Since the Torch was a vague human outline surrounded by flames, he was easier to draw than characters who had noses and mouths and fingers and muscles and stuff.

When I was a freshman at Marist, my dream was still to be an astronaut . . . and not just your regular old astronaut, but the first man on the moon. I still recall the day one of the brothers asked each of us what we wanted to be, and the entire class burst into raucous laughter at my answer. By junior year, a different brother assigned us to research our chosen careers, and I researched fiction writing (and learned that the average fiction writer made $1200 a year from his stories, a discovery almost as appalling as that laughter two years earlier). Something profound had happened to me in between, to change my dreams for good and all. That something was comics fandom. It was during my sophomore and junior years at Marist that I first began to write actual stories for the fanzines.

I had an ancient manual typewriter that I'd found in Aunt Gladys' attic, and had fooled around on it enough to become a real one-finger wonder. The black half of the black-and-red ribbon was so worn you could hardly read the type, but I made up for that by pounding the keys so hard they incised the letters into the paper. The inner parts of the "e" and "o" often fell right out, leaving holes. The red half of the ribbon was comparatively fresh; I used red for emphasis, since I didn't know anything about italics. I didn't know about margins, doublespacing, or carbon paper either.

My first stories starred a superhero come to Earth from outer space, like Superman. Unlike Superman, however, my guy did not have a super physique. In fact, he had no physique at all, since he lacked a body. He was a brain in a goldfish bowl. Not the most original of notions; brains in jars were a staple of both print SF and comics, although usually they were the villains. Making my brain-in-a-jar the good guy seemed a terrific twist to me.

From the Hardcover edition.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Martin's multi-faceted career, there are two television scripts, voluminous author commentary, an introduction by award-winning editor and writer Gardner Dozois and a comprehensive bibliography. This must-have volume by one of the brightest stars in the field of imaginative fiction|George R.R. Martin published his first story in 1971 and quickly rose to prominence, winning four Hugo andf two Nebula Awards in quick succession. His magnificent epic saga A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is redefining epic fantasy for a new generation. George R.R. Martin lives in New Mexico.|George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE saga is a bestseller all over the world Martin has redefined epic fantasy for a whole new generation of readers This collection is the definitive look-back over the career of one of the greatest fantasy writers ever Martin is equally adept at every type of imaginative fiction, winning multiple awards for his science fiction, fantasy and horror Martin's stunning historical dark fantasy novel FEVRE DREAM is a Fantasy Masterwork Essential reading for anyone who loves imaginative fiction 'An American Tolkien' TIME

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1771 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 676 pages
  • Editeur : Gateway (18 septembre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002U3CCUG
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°140.192 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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a must-have if you're a fan of The Song Of Ice and Fire, it will show you how talented and creative George R.R. Martin is and how wide is the universe he created... you'll get to travel to distant stars, in a mix of science-fiction, fantasy and horror that will let you discover how different are all the planets in our galaxy. I've discovered a new George R.R. Martin thanks to this collection and I hope it will be the same for you...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x91324c3c) étoiles sur 5 113 commentaires
207 internautes sur 211 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91640e58) étoiles sur 5 Brilliant 27 novembre 2007
Par Reza - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Two things before I start the review: I am a big fan of Mr. Martin's 'Song of Ice & Fire' saga (like many fans, I'm eagerly awaiting the release of 'A Dance With Dragons'). The second point is that I have never been a fan of short stories. Well, up until now.

When I first heard about the release of Dreamsongs, I wasn't too thrilled. I knew Martin as a brilliant epic storyteller, but I was not sure whether his talents in creating complex, deep characters, exciting storylines, and magnificent settings could fit into the small world of short stories.

Suffice to say that my worries about Dreamsongs almost kept me from being exposed to some of the best stories that I have read. Dreamsongs is a collection of short stories written by Martin throughout his career as a writer. These tales cover a spectrum of genres including fantasy, science fiction, and even horror. I would like to emphasize one point: Every signature element that brought Martin to the pinnacle of fame that he has today is present in this collection of his earlier works.

Stories: Original, deep, and engaging are the words that come to mind when describing the tales in Dreamsongs. What I found surprising was how personal some of these stories were. From the fight for honor and country in 'The Fortress' to the very depths of human needs and emotions in the touching 'A Song for Lya'; From socio-political issues in 'And Death His Legacy' to war and propaganda in 'The Hero', I was hooked and pulled into the story every time. The tone of these tales can be commonly described as dark. I found myself thinking about these stories afterwards the way I thought about some of the Twilight Zone episodes: The stories are fiction, but there is always an underlying message in every story that rattles the reader a bit.

Settings: as Mr. Martin takes you away on a journey through planets, deep space, ancient temples, alien cities, lost highways, and mysterious jungles, he masterfully places you right in the middle of events. Fans of 'Song of Ice & Fire' will immediately recognize Martin's skill (which he apparently possessed from even his earliest of stories as a teenager) in making the settings come to life in the reader's mind.

Characters: Vulnerable, introspective, possessive, cowardly, mad, illogical, heroic, tired, fearful, lonely, and brave. You will come to know the characters in these stories as if they were real people. One thing that I found absolutely amazing was how the author could masterfully develop these characters in a few pages in a way that he did with the amazing cast of 'Song of Ice & Fire' within volumes of books.

I would easily recommend Dreamsongs to any fan of Geroge R.R. Martin or any fantasy/sci-fi reader who has been so unfortunate in life as to have never read any of his books. Ladies and gents, you are in for a treat.
45 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9164336c) étoiles sur 5 Masterful fiction alongside insightful introductions. 11 décembre 2007
Par Scott Andrews - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This collection, whether in its 2003 limited-edition single-book format or in this new two-book one, showcases the career of a true master. Most fantasy novelists can't write prose well enough to succeed at the short form, and most fantasy short fiction stars can't write plots entertaining enough to attract fans to their novels. Perhaps it's Martin's cross-genre skill, equally adept at fantasy, science fantasy, and horror, that enables him to master both the short and novel formats, or perhaps it's the writerly training of that bygone era when short fiction was more common and more populist. Regardless, his classic award-winners like "Sandkings" still shine opposite early works like "The Fortress" and recent ones like "The Hedge Knight."

The other bounty in this collection is Martin's introductions to each chronological section, describing where he was at that point in his life and career, then detailing the genesis of all the stories. These commentaries offer insight into the man and the evolution of his craft.

Perhaps after he finishes his current saga, he'll dip back into short fiction, or write shorter pieces in between his longer projects like Stephen King does. That would surely offer great reads, and it might bring some fan attention back to the forgotten short fiction format.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x916406c0) étoiles sur 5 3/5 of a Masterpiece - Beware If Buying the Audible Version! 3 janvier 2016
Par Dawn M. Davidson - Publié sur
This review is of the Audible version of volume 1 of George R.R. Martin's Dreamsongs. I want to make that clear, because in this case the version severely impacts my review. I bought this as a Whispesync-for-Voice upgrade option. I did see that it was listed as "Unabridged Selections," nevertheless, I was still extremely disappointed when, only 3/5 through the book, the audio ends. What?? This can't be right! Oh yes, yes it is. Rather than recording selections throughout the entire book, they decided to record only the first 3 sections. Why? I have no idea.

This choice was especially upsetting, since I paid what to me is a premium for this book - twice as expensive than the longer, unabridged recorded versions of The Outlander series, for instance. And of course this price is on top of the cost of the ebook version. The choice to stop 3/5 of the way through means, for instance, that the trumpeted "Sandkings" story is NOT amongst those that are recorded. For those of us who do have eyes that work, and who purchased the book version as well, then yes, it's possible to read the story that way. But if you purchased the audiobook because you absolutely cannot read with your eyes, then you are going to be VERY disappointed.

What's actually presented in the recording, however, is excellent. The readers are all good, including Martin himself. The production values are good. And of course the stories are by and large excellent. My favorite of the ones that are recorded is Song for Lya, though there are many good ones. For me, as a person preferring fantasy over SF, the choice to truncate the book where they did meant that the stores I am MOST likely to enjoy are left out. But even so, the largely SF selections at the beginning were fascinating and satisfying. Surprisingly so, in some cases, since like other reviewers, I am usually less fond of short fiction than the sprawling multi-volume sagas for which he's become more well known in recent years. But it was fascinating to hear these tales written when he was very young, and to hear the personal backstory in his own voice.

If your choice is this Audible recording, or not getting to read his work at all, then yes, I guess you should go ahead and purchase it. Martin is certainly a master at prose, and his skill and humor shows up throughout. But if there is another way for you to read this book, so you get the entire thing, then I highly recommend you do that instead, and save yourself the frustration.

If I had the option here, I'd give this 5 stars for the material, and only 2 for the truncated recording. Since I don't, the whole thing gets averaged to a 3 star rating. Buyer beware!
38 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91640dd4) étoiles sur 5 GRRM's fantastic roots 2 décembre 2007
Par Cecil - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I've been a big George R.R. Martin fan since reading "Fevre Dream" when I was a bit younger; although many of his fans seem to only be familiar w/ Song of Fire & Ice, I can assure you that most of his other works are just as good. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that many of his early and lesser known works were being collected and published in one volume, and I was quite upset when the original release date was changed(the release date for the US Dreamsongs was originally announced over a year ago at the same time the UK version; it was then scrapped and split into the 2 volumes for release here).
The fact that so many of the selections were award winners/award nominees speaks highly of the book to begin with, and although many of the stories in the first half of the book were written by a very young Martin (and it shows), the entire collection is filled with stories that grab hold of you and characters that you can really care about (a Martin specialty, imho). And though I've never been a big fan of anything that falls into the horror genre, I read and thoroughly enjoyed each and every story in the collection. The intros to each section are particularly enjoyable to read, as Martin discusses his sucesses and failures and the variety of influences on his early works, as well as some interesting anecdotes from his childhood.
My favorites from this volume include "The Exit to San Breta", "The Second Kind of Loneliness", "With Morning Comes Mistfall", "A Song for Lya", "The Way of Cross and Dragon", and of course, "Sandkings". I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dreamsongs, even for those who are not fans of short stories (I'm generally not); it is also a great introduction to Martin for those who are unfamiliar with his works - just don't judge the whole book by the first few stories!
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x913aa384) étoiles sur 5 If you're a fan of Martin's novels, well worth your time 27 décembre 2010
Par Ryan - Publié sur
Format: Relié
(My thoughts on all three volumes)

A Game of Thrones (and its followups) made Martin a household name among fantasy nerds, but not many of us knew he had been writing for so long.

Those who enjoyed that series but haven't checked out his back catalog are missing something special. Going back to his early 20s, it's clear that he had obvious gifts and a love for the craft, even in the face of the thankless job of writing for fanzines and short-lived monthly periodicals. Check out a story he wrote in college, set during the Swedish-Russian war of 1808, which offers crisp characters and a delicious sense of the divisions war can create among allies.

As a fantasy writer, Martin gives readers what most readers are looking for: exotic worlds populated by characters both colorful and familiar. Yet, Martin's stories tend to be darker and more ambiguous than the norm. The Hedge Knight novella is a fine example of this, taking the reader into a Knight's tournament in the Ice and Fire universe through the eyes of the likable but clueless young bumpkin, Dunk. Soon, he's in over his head with dangerous games of skill and equally dangerous intrigues between powerful lords. Sadly, many fantasy pieces offer too brief of a visit to the worlds Martin created for them -- as he acknowledges in his commentary, he'd often start a series, then never return to it.

And those who only know Martin for fantasy may be surprised to find that he's an accomplished science fiction writer. These pieces offer atmosphere, exotic worlds, and human drama, but with more reflectiveness than the fantasy pieces and a dark, speculative edge. Many of them feel surprisingly fresh and undated. The horror stories fare a bit less well. Martin deploys some tongue-in-cheek humor, but the pieces, with their cultural references, can't help but feel like products of the 1980s.

Then there are the commentary pieces, revealing a man who's just as much of a geek as much of his readership. He even sounds a bit like the Simpson comic store guy!
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