Perhaps I am too quick to judge books because Dreamsnake is another of the Hugo nominated books that I did not enjoy much at all at the beginning but soon found myself really enjoying, and while there were still parts of it where it felt as if things went on a bit too long overall and at times I really wanted to just put it down I can understand why this got attention though like some of the others I feel as if it is trying too hard to be important and not hard enough to be interesting.
The basic story is in a post apocalyptic world, but what I like about this world is that it hasn’t simply forgotten everything. People didn’t just suddenly become useless and forget how to do everything and the only real reason you know the world was destroyed is because of radioactive craters and other signs, but by and large people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, they have better things to do. This is something that a lot of other books could stand to remember.
The main character is Snake, a healer who has had her dreamsnake killed and is trying to decide what should be done next since that dreamsnake is one of the primary tools that she uses in her healing. This leads her on a long trip to a city where she believes she may be able to convince people to help her create more dreamsnakes. As she goes she uses her ability to heal people to survive. This is important to the story because it lets you see the fears and strengths of each group of people and gets her immediately involved in their lives. And really that is a large part of the book, as Snake becomes involved in each of these villages making things a bit better for them by performing generally pretty simple medicine such as inoculations, while other times she does very complex things.
I didn’t love this story and it wouldn’t be high on my list of recommendations, but that is more because it isn’t the type of story that I care for than anything about the quality of the story, so if you’re more interested in character than plot and want a lot of descriptions you’ll likely enjoy this far more than I did, yet there is a fair amount of plot here as well, it’s just how it moves forward that is not the way I prefer stories.