The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr (1976) by George R. R. Martin

An fantasy short story of George R. R. Martin’s, light on plot but heavy on atmosphere. Very melancholy.

Martin does a pretty good job building up an interesting setting and backstory in few words here, a lot of it eventually regurgitated in some form in later works (Bakalon, the name of a group of deities being “the Seven”, etc.).

The characters aren’t hugely interesting as people, but the fantasy story woven around them isn’t bad.


Unlike a lot of Martin’s other short stories focused on romance, I didn’t feel much personal emotional experiences Martin has been through here; this felt purely like a fantasy invention. It never really clicked with me because I didn’t find anything compelling to grasp onto. The characters were ciphers. The worldbuilding was interesting enough, but why invest in just a pretty good setting when it’s never used again? There was little plot.

I wouldn’t really call it a bad story, and Martin’s writing has clearly improved significantly by this point in his career, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I give it two songs, and a prophecy.


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