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 I think for the most part GRD’s books don’t stay applicable as they rely so heavily on the author’s outdated philosophies, but the stories remain interesting and there are thought provoking points which are worth mining out of the stories.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!
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!
Thank you so much for joining in on this group read! I hope you enjoyed your meeting with Donal and are willing to give Gordon R Dickson a chance to win some space on your bookshelf!
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.
(Side question: What’s your favorite drink to enjoy while reading?)
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!
For those participating in the #VintageSciFiMonth Group Read of DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson I hope you’ve been enjoying it! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to start reading and are ready to discuss!
Caution! Possible Spoilers!
This discussion covers Cadet through Force Leader II. I’m really interested in your thoughts! One question I have when reading a Vintage SciFi Book is do you see this as a possible future for humanity? In this case how homogenous do you think colonized planets would be? It seems in this future they are taking such different paths that they’ve started to evolve differently.
In the case of Donal what are your first impressions? Do you think he is odd? Would we realize that if the author didn’t tell us he was? I think we would. His interactions and the way he carries himself set him apart. Do you think he should have given that contract to William or destroyed it?
Are you enjoying the pacing? To me it feels like quick glimpses and that keeps it moving fast. It seems to make it accessible for me.
Any initial thoughts? How do you think this book will turn out? Observations? Looking forward to your input! 🙂
Happy Vintage SciFi Month! The most wonderful reading time of the year! 😊😍📚🚀👏💫
For those who want to join in on the Group Read of DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson here is the handy reading schedule and planned discussion points! Please keep in mind that as GRD didn’t number his chapters and the various printings of the book make limiting it to page numbers difficult. Also feel free to read ahead! Or even more slowly! Read at your own pace. This is just a suggested guideline for the group so when we talk we know we aren’t spoiling anything. That said here we go:
Jan 1-4 Cadet through Force Leader II
Jan 5-7 Veteran through Sub-Patrol Cheif II
Jan 8-11 Hero through Protector
Jan 12-14 Protector II through Donal (end of the book)
On each Wednesday evening and Saturday Evening I’ll post a discussion post here on my website, link to it on both Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll post a reminder on Instagram. Feel free to join in on the discussion at any of these places that you like! This will be the central hub for everyone reading it, but I’ll gladly discuss it anywhere that works for you.
DORSAI! Is an excellent entry point into the world of Vintage SciFi! It’s a military SciFi that’s written in an accessible fashion and also shows the fascination SciFi writers had with evolution and The New (or next) Man. While it adds in philosophy it also keeps the story moving along. This will be my third reading of it so I obviously think it’s a worthwhile read! You can purchase it for kindle HERE.
Welcome to #VintageSciFiMonth and welcome to #DORSAI!
If 2016 doesn’t kill me then I’m going to get to celebrate a new year an another #VintageSciFiMonth in January! I’m so excited. Vintage SciFi Month has become an important part of my reading schedule. What is it? Basically: In January we read SciFi or Fantasy books published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more details!
Now as to my reading plans for January:
DORSAI! By Gordon R Dickson is the first book of his incredible Childe Cycle and I’ve been working through this series each January! This will be a reread for me BECAUSE I’m reading it with some friends who are starting their own Vintage SciFi Month journeys! If you aren’t sure what to read for this month please consider reading this book with us! You can purchase it here. If you want to see my review on DORSAI! you can find it here. I really enjoy this book which is why the next book on my list is….
Tactics Of Mistake also by GRD and also in the Childe Cycle! It is the fourth book in the series yet second chronologically. I’m excited to read this for the first time and discover more about this great universe.
What would a Vintage SciFi Month be here at RedStarReviews if there wasn’t a little Frank Herbert? The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a collection of his Short Stories that I’ve been slowly working on and will continue with during this month!
Michael Moorcock’s book The Silver Warriors is Fantasy, but Fantasy is totally ok by the rules of Vintage SciFi Month! I loved reading the Elric Saga and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for me!
Titan by John Varley was published in 1979 which is AFTER my birth year but it’s ok some rules can be bent AND the founder of the Month oks and books 1979 and prior so if your birth year is making it tough to find a SciFi book that interests you then open it up to 1979 and before! This whole month is supposed to be fun so feel free to have some fun!
Speaking of fun: I’ll be announcing a little Vintage SciFi Month giveaway here on my site on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned for details! Hope y’all have some excellent books picked out for the sixth annual Vintage SciFi Month!
January was #VintageSciFiMonth for several book reviewers. It is a wonderful idea created by LittleRedReviewer https://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com
and summed up it is simply this: In January read SciFi books published before your birth year. It is a lot of fun and I’ve been joining in now for a couple of years. I actively look forward to January reading now and purchase vintage SciFi books throughout the year with this month in mind.
This year I focused upon four authors: Frank Herbert, Gordon R Dickson, Joe Haldeman, and Henry Kuttner. These four authors didn’t disappoint.
Henry Kuttner is an inspiration for David Drake. Drake is one of the finest Military SciFi authors, so when he showcases one of his sources of inspiration it is worth taking note! Kuttner’s novella Clash By Night was published in 1943 with all the fears of an atomic war and ignorance of Venus that would have been prevalent at this time. However in this brief story Kuttner brings his characters to life and lets them dance across the pages. It was fun to read and also served as a good reminder to not destroy the earth.
Joe Haldeman is famous for his masterpiece The Forever War, and rightfully so. It is incredible. However his other works are also incredibly well done and worth reading. As is his book Mindbridge which was published in 1976. I couldn’t set the book down. Talk about a pageturner! You are drawn in within the opening sequence and are desperate to know where the story goes. Telepathy, First Contact, Morality, Love, Space Travel: all are topics this master covers and does so in an engaging fashion. Mindbridge is one book you probably haven’t heard of before that you should pick up and read.
When you think of Frank Herbert you think of Dune. When I think of his Dune Saga I realize again and again that it truly is my favorite work of fiction. Yet for so long it is all I knew of Frank Herbert’s work! I use Vintage SciFi Month as a chance to explore Herbert’s other works and The ConSentiency Universe is where I explored this month. I Started with the short story The Tactful Saboteur published in 1964 in which Herbert created an interesting universe of politics, legalities, and sabotage. He continued the series in 1970 with the novel Whipping Star. As you read the novel the title actually makes a lot of sense! Frank Herbert has a way of filling pages with action but hiding the action within the dialogue. He continued the series in 1977 with The Dosadi Experiment which is the novel I am reading (and loving) right now. There is one other short story set within this universe that I hope to read soon. This universe is vastly different from Dune but contains the creativity, philosophy, and study on humanity you loved in Dune.
Last year for Vintage SciFi Month I read the first book of Gordon R Dickson’s Childe Cycle: Dorsai! It was incredible. So incredible that I had to continue the series this year and so I read the next two books in the Cycle. Necromancer was published in 1962 but was set prior to the events of Dorsai! In it you see the origins of the Splinter Cultures which are the evolutionary children of humanity spread out amongst the stars. Necromancer sets the stage and the philosophy that caries the series forward. Soldier, Ask Not was published in 1967 and takes place at the same time as Dorsai! and within its pages we see more of Dickson’s grand view of humanity’s connectivity and the shaping of our next evolutionary step. You also learn the value of faith and love in the midst of reason. I can’t wait to read further within this series.
Altogether this Vintage SciFi Month has been a lot of fun and I’ve greatly enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the books my friends are reading and discovering during this time! Thank you to all who participated and cheers to great SciFi reads! I’m already looking forward to next year’s Vintage books!
A fellow Book Reviewer has declared January to be Vintage SciFi Month! For Vintage SciFi Month I decided to read a couple of books by Gordon R Dickson: Hour Of The Horde and Dorsai! GRD writes interesting books! His work feels like a mix between David Drake and Frank Herbert. GRD has been a very heavy influence on Military SciFi and spins very interesting tales that feature the continual evolution of mankind.
Hour Of The Horde puts the Fiction into Science Fiction. It’s a slightly laughable tale describing a horde of aliens that travel from Galaxy to Galaxy and eliminate all organic life before moving onto the next one. Somehow we know they do this and somehow we know they’re attacking us next. Ok so the overall plot fails because of simple distances involved. But the story itself is enjoyable because of the main character and his incredible drive to accomplish the impossible. He’s a flawed man that gets selected to represent humanity in our greatest hour of need and has to find ways to motivate several different alien species to accomplish their unified goal. A fun and enjoyable read.
Dorsai! is excellent. This is the first book of GRD’s famous Childe Cycle and it is a page turner. The main character (Donal Graeme) is like Paul Atreides without his prescience. He’s a person set apart longing to belong but embracing his uniqueness and in so doing possibly opening up the next step of human evolution. This book involves a lot of Military SciFi action and is one of the classics in that field. Well worth your time.
I’ve enjoyed Vintage SciFi Month and still have one more book to finish and review so be looking forward to my thoughts on Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C Clarke!