The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Dream Master was created when Roger Zelazny added approximately ten thousand words to the novella “He Who Shapes,” serialized in the January and February, 1965, issues of Amazing Stories. In the novel, Charles Render, a neuroparticipation therapist, enters the dreams of neurotic patients and treats them. He is preeminent in his field but detached emotionally because of the death of his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Miranda, nine years earlier in an automobile accident. He has a ten-year-old son, Peter, at boarding school and a twenty-nine-year-old girlfriend, Jill De Ville.

Render agrees to treat a young psychiatric resident named Eileen Shallot, who has been blind from birth, after turning down her proposal that he help her see through other eyes because of the dangers of that procedure. He arranges a session to show her basic forms, but she momentarily takes control of it and puts him into a suit of armor when he appears to her in his natural form. Her ability scares him, but he is flushed with pride at her success.

Despite several warnings, he continues to treat Shallot. He and De Ville leave for a skiing vacation in England and Switzerland. While touring Winchester Cathedral, he reviews his recent sessions with Shallot. He is proud of his work with her, which clearly is moving toward helping her to see. At their ski lodge, Maurice Bartelmetz, a legendary pioneer of neuroparticipation therapy and Render’s former...

(The entire section is 433 words.)