Best 1978 Adventures (6)
October 26, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1978 adventure novels. Happy 40th anniversary!
Vonda N. McIntyre’s New Wave sci-fi adventure Dreamsnake.
In the far future, many years after a devastating nuclear war, genetic manipulation of plants and animals is routine, and humankind has reverted (evolved) into a neo-tribalist social order. Snake, a healer immune to snakebites, carries with her three snakes — Grass, Sand, and Mist — whose venom she uses in her potions. When fearful nomads cripple Grass, a small and rare “dreamsnake” from off-world, whose venom is capable of inducing heroin-like torpor and LSD-like hallucinations, Snake embarks, across a desert of black sand on a quest. Along with a patient who is suffering from radiation sickness — there are pockets of radiation left here and there — Snake heads to the city of Center, in hopes of persuading the Otherworlders who visit there to sell her a new dreamsnake. Hers is a picaresque journey involving a desert-dwelling dreamsnake-venom addict, a handsome young lover, an abused 12-year-old girl, a giant bandit, a character whose sex is never specified, and many hallucinations.
Fun facts: Dreamsnake started as a story called “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand,” which won a Nebula Award. The novel version won the 1979 Hugo Award.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.