Vintage SciFi Month 2020 is almost here! This year for the lead up to the month we’ll be having some different bloggers hosting guest posts about the month to help spread the word to a wider audience! Stay tuned for more info!
Wolfling by Gordon R Dickson is the first book I completed for this year’s Vintage SciFi Month! It’s a really enjoyable page turner of a book, which places humanity and Earth high up on a pedestal. Mild spoilers to follow the photo below.
The cover itself is excellent! And I have enjoyed reading Gordon R Dickson’s books each January for this special month and this book was a good continuation of that enjoyment! That said it’s really arrogant and human-centric. I doubt seriously if we came in contact with a superior alien race that we’d be able to go toe to toe with them much less outplay them at their own games. Also… some of the terminology and situations were troubling from both a modern perspective and from the age in which GRD wrote this tale too. The plot and primary character is interesting though so overall I enjoyed this tale.
The question what put forth of how these Vintage SciFi books age. Do they stay applicable or get passed by. It’s a tricky question that probably applies to each book differently. I think for the most part GRD’s books don’t stay applicable as they rely so heavily on the author’s outdated philosophies, but the stories remain interesting and there are thought provoking points which are worth mining out of the stories. I don’t want to sound unfair to GRD, I really do think he’s a great author, I just think the more I read of his the more I see his biases shining through.
As y’all already surely know if you’ve been following me for any amount of time: January is always Vintage SciFi Month and this January’s reading was incredible! Let’s take a look at the three books I read this year.
Tactics Of Mistake by Gordon R Dickson is the fourth book of The Childe Cycle which I’m working my way through bit by bit each January. While it isn’t the best book in the series it is really good! It is a strong addition to an excellent series. If you’ve read Dorsai and wanted to know how the Dorsai became the most badass soldiers in the known universe then this is the book for you! If you’ve never wondered that but you still enjoy Military SciFi combined with Vintage Philosophy then this is still the book for you!
Up next was Philip K Dick’s classic of SciFi: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and it was an excellent story! I watched Blade Runner as a kid but I had never made time for the story it was based upon. I am glad I finally did! It was a very subtle story with a slow burn that once lit wouldn’t go out. Very enjoyable and easy to lose yourself in the story.
This January close to fifty people joined me for the #ReadDune Group Read, several of them reading Frank Herbert’s Dune for the first time! The good news is that almost everyone loved it! I mean how could you not love this book? This was either my fourth or fifth time to read it and I enjoyed it yet again! Getting to see everyone’s reaction to it was so much fun. Dune will always be special to me and I’m happy to report that it gets better with each reread!
I hope to see y’all join in on Vintage SciFi Month next January!
We recently announced the #ReadDune Group Read and now that we’re only a week away from starting we wanted to share the weekly target reading goals! This is a little tricky as there are so many different editions and each has its own page count. So it makes sense to do this by chapter, right? Right! Only… Frank Herbert didn’t number or name his damn chapters! The NERVE of that author! 😂
So everyone will need to keep count of the chapters they’ve read because we’re going to read a certain number each week. As this can get tricky we have another visual aide: each chapter starts with a section from fictitious history books and we’ll watch for specific chapter openings! This will (hopefully) work!
January week one we will read chapters one through fifteen and stop at the start of chapter sixteen you see pictured here! When you read “Greatness is a transitory experience.” you will have reached stopping point one. Everyone should be here by Saturday January the sixth. Next stopping point:
We will read chapters sixteen through the end of twenty-six and stop at the start of twenty-seven when you read: “At the age of fifteen, he had already learned silence.” This will be the stopping point on Saturday January the 13th. The next stopping point is fun:
That’s right! We stop at Book Three The Prophet! Frank Herbert came through for us on this split! Everyone should strive to be at The Prophet by Saturday January the twentieth.
The last week we shall read to the end of the story. With this pace we will all finish on Saturday January the twenty-seventh and then we’ll all hit play on the cheesy 80’s film adaptation and enjoy!
Read at your own pace but be aware that the conversations will include possible spoilers once we hit a Saturday goal as discussing anything from the week’s reading is fair game on a Saturday and beyond. Above all else please have fun!
Officially announcing the #ReadDune GroupRead I’ll be hosting for #VintageSciFiMonth this January!
We’ll be using the #ReadDune hashtag to help keep track and follow along of each other’s posts and be able to enjoy more discussions on it! So break out your copies of Dune by Frank Herbert and let’s start spreading the word!
For those new to how I handle GroupReads here are some details:
Each week we have a target page/location goal in the book. We don’t discuss in detail anything that takes place in the book until we reach that Saturday Goal, and then we discuss only the sections we’ve read so far. You’ll find it works really well. The Group DMs are normally very fun and respectful, and allow for discussing shared emotional reactions, general observations, and encouragement to reach the goal. Once we’ve reached a goal we discuss things that happened in detail and have fun with it. If anyone hasn’t reached the goal they’ll need to be careful about the Group DMs on the weekends as that’s when a lot of specifics get discussed. I’ll be looking into the page counts of the common versions but it’ll probably be between 130-150 pages a week of reading.
What are Group DMs? Everyone who wants to participate will be invited into a group DM on Instagram or on Twitter (whichever social network you prefer). There’s a limit on how many can join so there’ll be a few group DMs created. I’ll be in each one to help moderate and help keep spoilers to a minimum. We’ve got several first time readers joining in so everyone needs to be conscious about posting spoilers! That’s where the page goals will come in to play.
Since we tend to have more than one Group DM I’ll also post a #ReadDune Instagram post and Twitter Post every Saturday Morning so that everyone can publicly discuss the book (up to that page goal) with everyone else easily.
Ready for the cheesy fun part? At the end of it all on either Saturday the 27th or Sunday the 28th depending on people’s schedules we’ll all hit play at the same time on the fun and cheesy 80’s movie edition of Dune and have fun watching the movie together to celebrate finishing the book!
Posting photos of your reading of Dune is highly encouraged! Please post away and use the #ReadDune hashtag and we’d love if you used the #VintageSciFiMonth hashtag too! Above all have fun! This is one of my favorite books, and I think it has a broad appeal. I’m hopeful you’ll like it, but there is no pressure to like it! If you don’t it’s really ok as I’m not the author, just a fan.
Let me know on Twitter or on Instagram if you’ll be joining in! Check out my latest post on Instagram or my pinned tweet on Twitter to respond and let me know if you’re joining!
This #VintageSciFiMonth was a little busy for me so I didn’t get as much reading in as I would have liked to, but I did enjoy 2/3rds of the books I read!
This year I started off with a group read of DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson. This was my third time reading this classic SciFi tale of a young man who stood outside of humanity and eventually takes the lead of our species. It was interesting reading this one with other folks. Their perspectives added to my experience with the book!
Sighhhh….. I got the wrong book! The Silver Warriors is a sequel to an earlier Moorcock book: The Eternal Champion. I quickly changed my plans and downloaded The Eternal Champion to my Kindle Fire and devoured it! I truly enjoy his writing style. This book was a lot of fun to read.
Titan by John Varley was NOT fun to read. It was an awkward descent into the author’s sexual focus. When you tell a tale of First Contact NORMALLY there is some form of excitement in the humans…. but nope! None in Varley’s characters. That just interrupts their sex lives, but not really. They still focus more on that than contact with the aliens. The majority of their contact with aliens is spent marveling at the genitals of the aliens or trying to figure out which aliens they can kill and eat. Basically this is an awkward book and I hope you skip it.
Did you enjoy your Vintage SciFi Month reads? What books did you read? What authors did you try? Will you be joining in next year? We hope you will!
A special guest post from my Father! In honor of #VintageSciFiMonth he chose to read and review The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. My parents were my primary inspiration to read so it is with great joy that I share this review from my Dad with y’all:
It’s always good to find one’s roots, whether that is in life or in a chosen genre of literature. The roots of Sci-Fi can be traced to H. G. Wells and one of his classics “The Invisible Man.” Sci-Fi or fantasy literature works when a reader can “suspend belief” or have a “plausible impossible” story line.
In “The Invisible Man” Wells provides such a story line through a scientist who discovers the ability to render objects invisible. After a few experiments the protagonist turns himself invisible. The crux of the story then becomes his struggles and mad obsession of establishing a “reign of terror” and being able to use his exceptional situation to establish himself as the leader (and benefactor) of his reign. He soon finds that he is ill equipped to survive his invisibility without assistance. Once his secret is out, he struggles to continue and ultimately falls victim to his own avarice and unstable mental condition. As the story unfolds, the reader can see and understand how Wells has crafted a theme that is now a classic in Science Fiction writing. “The Invisible Man” is well written and should be read by all lovers of Science Fiction.
Caution! Spoilers ahead! We’re reading DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson for #VintageSciFiMonth and in this post we’ll cover Protector III through Donal (the end of the book)
DORSAI! will always be a favorite book for me. Yet even with this third read through I still feel this book is hurried. I wish the author had taken more time exploring Donal’s new abilities, his brother’s actions, the surrounding cast, and respected the female characters more instead of just using them to show off some aspect of Donal.
Questions for you: Did the ending events surprise you? Or were you expecting a planetary invasion after all the foreshadowing? Did you guess who Donal was kidnapping in Commander In Chief? What are your overall feelings on the book now that you’ve reached the end? Would you consider reading on in the series?
The next book in the series is Necromancer (formerly No Room For Man). It takes place long before DORSAI! and it sets the stage for the universe of The Childe Cycle. Soldier, Ask Not (one of my favorite titles ever) takes place parallel to DORSAI! and is quite intriguing. Tactic Of Mistakes is the fourth book and is a prequel to DORSAI! and follows Donal’s parents (I think). It is what I’m picking up to read next!
Caution! Spoilers ahead!
We’re reading DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson for #VintageSciFiMonth and in this post we’ll cover Hero through Protector.
Our hero, Donal Graeme, has gone and made himself into a full fledged once in a lifetime hero! But what side effects will the constant Shifting in space have upon his body, mind, and soul? He obviously has something special within himself, a gift from his diverse genetics combined with the unknown affects of the Shifting.
Donal now faces the results of being a hero: greater responsibility. What seems confusing is why did he choose to work with such zealots? I think it is because he knew he could manipulate them. Are you surprised by they way he left the job? Did you expect him to take the mercenaries with him?
Now to me the really interesting part of this section is his interaction with Sayona the Bond. You don’t have to tell me what it is, but do you have a personal philosophy? Do you think that we all do inside of ourselves? And what is this about Donal walking on air?
One other question: Which of the characters that Donal has pulled into his orbit do you find most interesting?
This Saturday we will post the final Group Read Post for DORSAI! Can’t wait to hear your final thoughts on this book!
Caution! Spoilers ahead!
We’re reading DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson for #VintageSciFiMonth and in this post we’ll cover Veteran through Sub-Patrol Chief II
Ok was anyone shocked at the revelation that Donal had Hugh executed? Seems a very Dorsai thing to do so it keeps with his character. I’m honestly not sure he truly realized all the benefits it gave to his side plans or not, but it really did benefit him! And now he has William as a true enemy… or William at least realizes Donal isn’t a common pawn!
As Empress8411 pointed out in our last discussion there is a lack of female representation in the series and it is a little frustrating. It would be so cool to see badass female Dorsai merecenaries fighting in this universe. Anea doesn’t progress much in this section. But at least she refuses to be Donal’s ego salve. I was excited to see a female first officer at first, but then war happened.
Are you the sort of reader that focuses on the description of the spacecraft? Or are you (like me) the sort that just quickly reads over that part and pictures something straight out of Star Wars and moves on?
Do you feel that Lee’s character has shifted unexpectedly? Does this line up with what we already knew of him?
Is the story compelling? Do you still feel like turning the pages? 🙂