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Dorsai (Childe Cycle) Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955


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Product Details

  • Series: Childe Cycle
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace (May 5, 1955)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441160123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441160129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,205,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dickson is among the best storytellers we have ever has...one of the finest makers that our field has ever known."--Poul Anderson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gordon R. Dickson was the Hugo- and Nebula-winning author of many classics of fantasy and science fiction, most famously the Childe Cycle (also known as the Dorsai series). He died in 2001.
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Customer Reviews

This is, I believe, the best of Dickson's Dorsai saga.
Dave Bara (dave.bara@boeing.com)
This was a great book, one of the earliest written and best military science fiction novel I have had the privelege to read.
Kat MacDougall
The characters are strong, the plot is somewhat predictable, but the writing is very good.
Mr. Donald J. Kaufman Sr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Brent Butler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 23, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to give this book more than three stars ... I really did. If Amazon and these reviews had been around when I was in my early 20s, the first time I read this book, I'd have given it five. Having just reread it, I was disappointed that it didn't stand up the way some novels of that day did.

Dorsai! is the story of a young man from a world which trains the top warriors in the sphere of human colonization. Donal is totally focused on career and assignment, to the exclusion of almost everything else in life. In an odd sort of contrivance that doesn't ring true, Donal inspires great loyalty in those around him, yet he often exhibits little to no loyalty himself. More than thirty years after my first reading, I know from experience that type of loyalty imbalance is unlikely. The military strokes of genius in the book also don't come across to the older and more experienced me as nearly so brilliant as they did 30 years ago. His first major success ... having his command climb trees to avoid a surprise attack ... is actually highly flawed in both reasoning and sound small unit tactics. (Trees provide some measure of concealment, maybe, but no actual cover from fire, and if the enemy catches on and starts dropping your trees ... BIG trouble! LOL Dickson's surmise that the enemy might not catch on where the tree based fire is coming from is just silly.) Other battles are better thought out, but not exactly the uniquely shocking plans they are presented to be.

Donal is a surprisingly unappealing hero throughout. Other than the circumstance that as the lead in the story you know you are "supposed" to pull for him, Dickson doesn't really give you ANYTHING to like about him. He is focused, humorless, and relatively uncaring in all his relationships ...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on July 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Dorsai!", by Gordon R. Dickson, is a science fiction novel set in a future wherein humanity has spread out to inhabit many different planets in several star systems. The different branches of humanity have evolved into a diverse group of different cultures. One of these branches of humanity is the Dorsai, a formidable warrior race. This novel follows the life and career of Donal Graeme, one of the Dorsai.

The 1993 TOR edition includes an introduction by David Drake, who notes that "Dorsai!" and Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" were both first published in 1959, and together form "the standard against which the subgenre of military SF must be judged." "Dorsai!" is certainly an enjoyable and well-written space adventure. Dickson effectively structures the story; we follow Donal as he rises up the military ranks from Senior Cadet to higher levels of responsibility. Dickson fills the book with fascinating details about Donal's world. It's particularly intriguing to get glimpses of the divergent human cultures and of the conflicts that exist among them.

Along the way the book addresses many significant themes, such as military tactics, the role of religion in a military organization, and leadership. At its best, "Dorsai!" goes beyond being just a solid adventure novel and can be genuinely moving and thought-provoking. Recommended companion text: Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War," another gem of military science fiction.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on June 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is acclaimed as a masterpiece of military SF but there are better examples in my opinion (both Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Haldeman's Forever War are markedly better) since this really has little to do with the actual mechanics of the military and the gritty life of a soldier as much as how soldiers fit overall in Dickson's Childe Cycle. At this point we're at book four in the cycle and really this seems to have the least to do with any of the other circulating themes (probably because it was written first and then revised retroactively to fit into what Dickson was building) since there's barely any mention of the Final Encyclopedia or the need to merge the Splinter Cultures. However, there is some crossover from Soldier, Ask Not, so at least we get a sense that everyone lives in the same universe. So we have to judge this one on its merit and honestly it's an entertaining novel, Dickson takes his now pretty much worked out universe and goes nuts by throwing Donal Graeme, a Dorsai who is slightly better than the average Dorsai, into the mix, letting him loose and causing all kinds of havok, the reason for which isn't of course clear until near the end. If you're not a fan of Dickson to begin with, this won't change your mind, Donal is perhaps his strongest character but he's still only an inch away from being a cipher and like all of Dickson's other main character he's so good at everything that it just sucks all the suspense right away, the book is a great read, but don't expect any dramatic tension at all . . . alas, this also makes the book a poor cousin of Tactics of Mistake (the main character was his ancestor) which had the same basic setup, guy really good at intuition outthinks everyone else to a ridiculous degree.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clint Aust Centre on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While the resolution of the episodes with in the book are very predictable, the journey is told well enough to hook the reader. Don't expect too much, and you will get pleasantly surprised by the structure, of the story
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