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3.9 out of 5 stars36
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2002
It was twenty-years old, and had an ugly cover, so I figured A SONG FOR LYA was out-of-print for a good reason. But since being blown away by A GAME OF THRONES, I have yet to find anything of Martin's less than superb. This short, but fabulous book turned out to be no exception.
Sci-Fi and Horror are blended to excellent result in this collection of 10 short stories, featuring telepaths, ghosts, strange life forms, and very imaginative worlds. The standouts were "With Morning Comes Mistfall", "Override", and the Hugo Award-Winning title-story, "A Song For Lya", but in truth- there wasn't a bad apple in the bunch.
My personal favorite was, "Dark, Dark Were The Tunnels" where Nuclear Armageddon has destroyed the face of the Earth long ago, and only two groups of people have survived. It took me a few pages to realize just what I was reading, but then it really pulled me in!
Finally, this great collection has been reprinted, and every last one of the stories within are certainly worth your effort. G R R Martin is an amazing short story writer, and I've read a bunch of his out of print collections- They are all excellent! I've been praying for two years now, that he would come out with a giant collection containing ALL of his novellas and short stories, but I guess they are going the route of simply rereleasing the old collections.
Keep an eye out for these stories:
The Hedge Knight
Sandkings
Nightflyers
In the House of the Worm
A Song For Lya
Portraits of His Children
With Morning Comes Mistfall
You'll be glad you did!
-Lysander
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 June 2012
One of the earlier works of George R.R. Martin, 'A Song for Lya' is a pretty intriguing short story. Two 'talents' are sent amongst the Skheen on a mission to understand why they all engage in a sort of ritual suicide. Over a period of days, they explore why an ancient civilization is perfectly happy not developing further and why they all merge with a parasitic being that devours them in the end.

The writing is certainly compelling and one can recognize elements of what later made George R.R. Martin so successful with his A Song of Ice and Fire - Volumes 1-5 Box Set. At the same time the issues of love, religion, etc. are perhaps a bit big to be dealt with in ca. 70 pages. Not saying that the treatment was unsuccessful, only that some readers may find it a bit rushed and if you do not like open endings, you may find it unsatisfying.

Still, an interesting short story and something to read while you are waiting for the new installment of 'A Song of Ice and Fire'.
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on 21 December 2010
I read this novella many, many years ago and it still remains one of my all time favourite. If you can get hold of a copy of the complete collection of stories - With Morning Comes Mistfall, Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels, etc. then do, you won't be disappointed. Beautifully written and will bear reading over and over again.
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on 6 October 2014
If you've an hour or so to spare you can read this all in one go, rather than having to devote months of your time to one of his more recent "novels". This was written close to the end of his short-story writing phase (the 1970s), and if you've followed his career from the word go as I have, you'll know what a superb short story writer he used to be. Often with little to say, beyond a cliche of an idea and a much-trodden plot, his talent was in how he wrote, not what he wrote, and this is a prime example of what I once called "well written rubbish". You enjoy it for the writing, not the shortcomings of the content. By no mans his best short piece, but this was the one that brought him to the attention of audiences beyond science fiction, by virtue of bagging an award or two. And once that milestone was reached, his career in writing took off, covering TV scriptwriting (Beauty and the Beast), and vast self indulgent fantasy novels (you know the ones I mean), and sadly he rarely wrote any further short works.

You'll find better short stories than this in his two anthologies, Song Of Stars and Shadows, and Sandkings, but neither sadly is yet available in kindle. But if you read for the joy of the written word alone, with no other requirement, this is a must in any collection. You'll want to read it many times over to wring out every last bit of enjoyment.
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on 20 March 2012
George R R Martin is a natural story teller. Whilst strictly speaking the quality may vary. The creative story lines are still compulsive reading. It is great to read and learn from this man's writings.
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on 7 December 2013
Having read all the published Song of Fire and Ice as well as The Hedge Knight, I was not expecting a completely different genre. From epic fantasy to introspective sci-fi. I now know that this was written long before A Song of Fire and Ice but still the variation is dramatic. A good read nonetheless and I liked the idea put forward for man's search for a divinity.
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on 20 June 2013
I enjoyed this short story very much . The characterisation is good enough to make me interested in the characters. The plot reminds me of an intruiging incident on one of the planets in Heinlein's Methuselah's Children but goes into much more detail about human reactions and understanding.
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on 17 July 2014
Set far into the future rather than the past, this early work of George RR Martin is defiantly worth a read if you are a fan.

I found it difficult to get I to for the first 1/4 of the book as it is so much different to the world of westeros, I did overall enjoy reading this short story
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on 1 June 2014
Wow ... How different from Game of Thrones. This is so far in the future ...or is it? This book is very thought provoking ... And it's all about choices ...
Some know where they are going ... Some don't care ... And others need to be lead ... Which one are you ?
I know who I am :-)
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on 16 June 2016
This a perfect exploration of the human psych, the search for God and what it means to be human. A bittersweet tale about human endurance, and dichotomy between independence and love. Probably one of the most thought provoking stories I have read in a long time.
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