Gordon R. Dickson - Dorsai ????

Razorback

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I realize he had a long and prolific career, but I hadn’t read any works by Gordon R. Dickson until now. I don’t recall why, but I put Dickson’s Dorsai[FONT=&quot] series on my hunting list a few months ago. [/FONT] I’ve managed to collect the first 9 books in the series at used stores. I just read the first book, Dorsai. It had a few good moments, but it was pretty lackluster overall.

Dorsai was one of the earlier books in a career that spanned 40 years or more. I’m wondering whether this series improves significantly over time, or whether other works of his are significantly better. I would appreciate feedback from any familiar with Dickson’s work.

Thanks!


 

j d worthington

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Gordon R. Dickson and his Childe Cycle.... Hmmm... Well, while Dorsai was the earliest of them published, it actually takes place somewhat later in the set. However, some elements in Necromancer (the first in the set proper) are appreciated more for having read Dorsai first... yet reading them in their proper series-chronological order (to me, at any rate) adds considerably to the scope and the power of the concepts. Dickson included a table showing where each tale belonged in the history of his epic in The Dorsai Companion.

My own take is that I found it quite interesting but not that memorable when I first read it when I was young, but on rereading several of the stories some years ago, I found that it had grown considerably... so I'd give it a vote to stick with it, but perhaps (having read Dorsai) to now read them in order. In fact, if you could find a copy of the old SFBC edition Three to Dorsai (which includes Necromancer, Tactics of Mistake, and Dorsai!), Dickson included some framing material for that edition which helps to put things in context of the entire cycle -- the historical novels as well as the sf novels -- and really gives an idea of how spectacular a concept he has here....

These are quieter, speculative novels. While there is action, it's the interior evolution -- not only of characters, but of the various branches of humanity -- that he focuses on, often in very understated ways requiring some chewing over to get the full impact....

Incidentally, the following may help to get an overview of the series and how it works with its internal chronology:

Childe Cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'll see if I can't dig up my copy of Dickson's cycle and post his stated chronology (with the later books added) at a later point....


Childe Cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Razorback

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Been off line for a few days, but thinks for the feedback j.d. I didn’t know that the story chronology was different than the publication dates. I’ll keep an eye out for The Dorsai Companion and Three to Dorsai, but finding them anytime soon is a bit of a long shot. I have the main works from Three to Dorsai as stand alone books.

The Wikipedia article you provided is very helpful. Between your comments and the article, I’m motivated to see how the series develops. As best I can, I will go to the story chronology for further reading. The Wikipedia article is a bit fuzzy on where some of the pieces in The Spirit of Dorsai and Lost Dorsai fit in.

Thanks again for the feedback.


 

Pyan

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And keep an eye out for my favourite Dickson book as well, Razorback...Way of the Pilgrim. Thoroughly recommended.
 

j d worthington

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All the shorter works are included in The Dorsai Companion, along with a timeline; so if you can find that one, you'll save yourself from having to hunt down the other collections that include the shorter (non-novel-length) tales, with the exception of the original short version of "Soldier, Ask Not", which won the Hugo...
 

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