Paperback, 319 pages

English language

Published Dec. 14, 1986 by Dell Pub. Co..

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5 stars (1 review)

Dreamsnake is a 1978 science fiction novel by American writer Vonda N. McIntyre. It is an expansion of her 1973 novelette "Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand", for which she won her first Nebula Award. The story is set on Earth after a nuclear holocaust. The central character, Snake, is a healer who uses genetically modified serpents to cure sickness—one snake is an alien "dreamsnake", whose venom gives dying people pleasant dreams. The novel follows Snake as she seeks to replace her dreamsnake after its death. The book is considered an example of second-wave feminism in science fiction. McIntyre subverted conventionally gendered narratives by rewriting a typical heroic quest to place a woman at its center, and by using devices such as avoiding gender pronouns to challenge expectations about characters' gender identities. Dreamsnake also explored varying social structures and sexual paradigms from a feminist perspective, and examined themes of healing …

6 editions

Snake is a lover, not a fighter, but she'll still fight

5 stars

I rarely read or watch anything more than once, so books that I read more than once for the pleasure automatically get perfect ratings from me. This is one of those books. The main character is a healer; her quest involves finding ways to help her and her fellow healers help people more effectively. There is some plenty of action in her confronting the dangerous elements of a world devastated by nuclear war and apparently held in thrall by distant alien rulers. There are plenty of elements I wish had been fleshed out more, like who ARE those aliens? But those unresolved questions didn't overshadow the enjoyment I got from watching Snake grow in confidence and use both her strength and her intelligence to escape dicey situations. Highly recommend, especially to those who enjoyed, for example, "The Light From Uncommon Stars" by Ryka Aoki or the Monk and Robot series …