Fevre Dream

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 7, 2013

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

Eight people gathered at the North Village Library for this meeting. Our topic was the 1982 novel Fevre Dream, published well before its author became famous for writing Epic Fantasy. Fevre Dream is a novel set in the 1800s, about a Mississipi riverboat and its crew encountering vampires. All of us had read Martin before. All of us started the book and finished it.

One reader said the book’s tone fit the locale and story, and she appreciated how the author kept the reader emotionally distant from all characters except the riverboat captain. She appreciated this book’s unique version of vampirism, although she felt one of the major vampires characters was a cliched adolescent. She felt the book was a good exploration of the role of violence in human behavior.

Another enjoyed Martin’s prose so much that she read the book aloud to herself. She enjoyed the Mississippi River setting and thought it made perfect sense that vampires might live on a river boat.

A few others had mixed feelings about the book. One reader was not interested in riverboats and found the book was slow to get started, but that the story picked up the pace in the second half. He did appreciate Martin’s notion of vampires being a separate species from humans. ¬†Another participant found the writing was interesting but the story was unmemorable. Yet another enjoyed the historical setting and depiction of life on the Mississippi, but overall felt the book was too depressing.

One reader enjoyed the book completely. She loves riverboats and George R. R. Martin’s work. She enjoyed the story from beginning to end. She liked reading about the elaborate meals served on the boat. She was intrigued by the conflict between the old and young vampires. She found the violence in the book was at times gory, but felt that it evoked memorable imagery. She was touched by the ending, which showed the passing of the steamboat era.

At the end of the meeting, there was some discussion of books that might have similar appeal. One attendee recommended The Great Steamboat Race by John Brunner, which tells the true story of a historical race. Another participant recommended David Weber’s Out of the Dark, a science fiction novel with vampires.

Afterward, several of us had a nice dinner at Tarka.

–A. T. Campbell, III