I've never read a book from Gordon R. Dickson or Andre Norton....

D_Davis

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What should I read?

Where to start?

I'm hoping I dig these guys, because I always see a TON of their stuff for super cheap at many, many used book stores.

Thanks!
 

J-Sun

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I'm hoping I dig these guys, because I always see a TON of their stuff for super cheap at many, many used book stores.
That can be taken either way. :) Huge popularity for so many of their books to have been bought in the first place or huge unpopularity for so many people to part with so many of them. (But, in all seriousness, they were popular and esteemed by many.)

For Dickson, you should probably go for the Dorsai books. I don't know about Norton - I think I've only read some "Witch World" book and didn't like it. I agree with murphy in the impression that she was mostly a YA author. (I'm not that big of a Dickson fan, either, but I still think Dorsai is where to go.)
 

murphy

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I liked both Norton and Dickson when I read them years ago. Norton's SF usually dealt with an average young person dealing with unusual situations.

I've read quite a bit of Dickson also, try reading Wolf and Iron.
 

dask

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I remember enjoying THE SIOUX SPACEMAN by Andre Norton but I couldn't begin to tell you what it was about. It was part of an Ace Double, the other half being AND THEN THE TOWN TOOK OFF by Richard Wilson. I always gravitated toward the highbrow stuff.
 

clovis-man

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Most of Andre Norton's large output was, indeed, targeted to younger readers. However, they are still as literate as one might wish and refreshingly uncluttered with soporific detail. Her space operas tend to be good, trouble-free reading with no worries over relativistic debts owed to FTL space travel. there were always "blasters" "flamers" and (my personal favorite) "sleep rods". When space craft ventured into space they "blasted off". Colloquialisms in the dialogue were heavily imbued with space travel references, e.g., "he's not firing on all jets", etc.

Fun reading and even today, fifty odd years later, some of her early novels such as Star Rangers (retitled The Last Planet), Sargasso Of Space and Plague Ship are quite enjoyable and a great change of pace from contmporary authors. Don't sell her short.
 

dask

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In case you were responding to me I assure you I wasn't selling Norton short. Everything you said I agree with. I was merely alluding, perhaps a little too opaquely, to those old Ace Double covers especially accompanying titles like the Wilson. Great fun and no disrespect intended.
 

D_Davis

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So the Dorsai books are worth reading, even if the series never ended?
 

J-Sun

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Well, my memories not very good and it depends on what you're looking for. IIRC, the kind of over-elaborate almost vaporware 'Childe Cycle' was never finished and I never read the last couple but it seems like the first few Dorsai books were just good ol' Dorsai books. I think each was a more or less self-contained story - and there were several actual stories short of novel length that are pretty good. But if someone remembers them better, maybe they could give you more definitive information.

I've read quite a bit of Dickson also, try reading Wolf and Iron.
Guessing that was to me, thanks, but it probably wouldn't work for me. I don't generally care for post-apocalyptic fiction. I thought at first it was fantasy, which I generally care for less, but looking it up makes it sound like P-A SF, anyway.

I always gravitated toward the highbrow stuff.
there were always "blasters" "flamers" and (my personal favorite) "sleep rods". When space craft ventured into space they "blasted off". Colloquialisms in the dialogue were heavily imbued with space travel references, e.g., "he's not firing on all jets", etc.

Fun reading
dask and clovis-man: you both make her sound very appealing. :) Maybe I'll give her another try.
 

Riselka

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I've never read any of Dickson's work, and the only novel I've read of Norton's was Quest Crosstime - years ago when I was in my teens.

I enjoyed it, probably because it dealt with a type of time travel I'd never considered before - that being travel between alternate universes, rather than back and forth in time in our particular universe. I found the idea of travelling between the various timelines, determined by an event in history going one way instead of the other, an interesting concept.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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For a lot of SFF fans of my approximate age (at least in the US), Norton was one of the authors who first hooked us on the genre. She was prolific, her books were readily available, and she often, though certainly not exclusively, wrote about young protagonists with whom we could identify. Many of her stories were set in a far, far future, where humanity interacted with alien cultures. As well as SF and Fantasy, she wrote a fair amount of hybrid works.

By the time I discovered her books as a teenager, she had already written dozens and continued to be prolific, which meant that between the library, the school library, and the bookstores I had a steady supply of new (to me) Nortons to read. What could be better than that, when you're young and you discover a new favorite writer?

In her later years, some of her inspiration seemed to run dry, and to me it felt like after a certain point nothing was quite as good and definitely not as original. It was as though she was stealing characters, plots, and ideas from her younger self, and reusing them minus that first creative impulse that made them seem special. Eventually, she started collaborating with younger writers, which I am sure gave a big boost to their careers, but those books, too, were generally disappointing. My impression was that the collaborators were probably the ones who did the actual writing with Norton providing the ideas, and that they were trying so hard to write like Andre Norton that they failed to draw on their own strengths without being able to duplicate hers. (In the only one of those collaborations that I remember liking, the other writer was not trying to write like Norton, and stayed true to her own voice and style.)

I think her best stories were written in the late 50's, the 60's, and the early '70's.
 

kurzon

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Andre Norton's Catseye is one of my all-time faves; recommended.
Same. Norton's early SF has a unique voice which I've never read anywhere else. She favoured proud stoics, often poor or alienated in some way, overcoming their trials through grit, empathy, inventiveness and sheer endurance. Many of the earliest books are quite timeless. I recommend:

- Catseye
- The Zero Stone
- Beast Master
- Sargasso of Space (and immediate sequels)
- Star Guard
- Quag Keep (if you like roleplaying stories - do not go anywhere near the sequel)

Her fantasy stories are also good, but very different, and the later work comparatively weak.

Avoid the collaborations.
 

Beamer

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Most of Andre Norton's large output was, indeed, targeted to younger readers. However, they are still as literate as one might wish and refreshingly uncluttered with soporific detail. Her space operas tend to be good, trouble-free reading with no worries over relativistic debts owed to FTL space travel. there were always "blasters" "flamers" and (my personal favorite) "sleep rods". When space craft ventured into space they "blasted off". Colloquialisms in the dialogue were heavily imbued with space travel references, e.g., "he's not firing on all jets", etc.

Fun reading and even today, fifty odd years later, some of her early novels such as Star Rangers (retitled The Last Planet), Sargasso Of Space and Plague Ship are quite enjoyable and a great change of pace from contmporary authors. Don't sell her short.

Agree with pretty much everything in this post. Growing up I loved both authors in particular Star Rangers was one of my favorites by AN, and I think the book I enjoyed most by GD was Tactics of Mistake, one of the Dorsai books. I have collected pretty much everything I have ever found by both authors includeing a couple books by Norton that were more like period romance novels.
 
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