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The Final Encyclopedia, Volume One of Two (Childe Cycle) Paperback – November 15, 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
Book 7 of 11 in the Childe Cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Makes me want to stand up and cheer!" --Analog

"A fitting climax to the grandest saga in the history of SF." --Ben Bova

"In The Final Encyclopedia Gordon R. Dickson has brilliantly continued the classic future legend begun in Dorsai! and the award-winning Soldier, Ask Not." --Anne McCaffrey

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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Product Details

  • Series: Childe Cycle (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; First Edition edition (November 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312861869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312861865
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,986,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Nielsen on November 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Gordon Dickson's The Final Encyclopedia is a fitting conclusion to a top-notch science fiction series.
It tells the story of Hal Mayne, who as an infant was found deserted in a spaceship among the stars. He was raised by tutors representing the three cultural "splinters" from Dickson's future world - the military Dorsai, the fanatically religious Friendlies and the mystic Exotics. In a superficial sense, Mayne draws upon his experience with all three groups to battle an opposing group (the Others) for mankind's future.
That being said...
The book is much deeper on many levels. In it, Dickson pays tribute to each of mankind's splinters and demonstrates the worthiness of each group. The Dorsai, of course, are lionized as honorable and unbeatable warriors. The Friendlies are praised for their stalwart and unshakeable faith and their willingness to endure any ordeal without flinching in service of that faith. The Exotics are valued for seeking mankind's continued development in intellectual and paranormal areas.
In Dickson's world, Mayne journeys to each of the splinter cultures and begins to realize his purpose is to ensure mankind's continued development as a culture. Opposing him are the Others, another group of humans whose heritage is drawn from a combination of the splinter cultures. The others are led by Bleys Ahrens, who sees a future in which the Others serve as a ruling class to the lesser members of mankind.
During his journeys, Mayne runs into members of each splinter culture who represent the best of that culture. For the Dorsai, it's Amanda Morgan; for the Friendlies, it's Rukh Tamani, the charismatic freedom fighter; and for the Exotics, it's Amid.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I do have to say that there's really no reason for this novel to be split into two somewhat pricy volumes . . . the original paperback was published in one large volume so it's not like it's impossible. But whatever. This is by far the largest volume in the Childe Cycle, for good reason, because it seems that mostly everything in the series has been leading up to this volume. When last we left Donal Graeham had basically sorted out all the Cultures and brought some semblance to peace. Now the story takes place quite a while later and things are rapidly falling apart. Another quasi-Culture called the Others, led by Bleys Ahern, are taking over everything and threatening to thrust the entire human race into a period of stagnation from which it will never recover. For some reason Bleys and company are searching for a young man named Hal Mayne, who was raised on Old Earth by people from all three major cultures. When he finds he has to leave Earth suddenly, things start to get interesting. Dickson really takes the time to stretch things out to epic length here and this is probably the most in depth look at the working of his little future history that we have seen yet. By giving the series its first major challenge (and indeed it's a point he's been trying to make throughout the other books, just now he's putting a physical sense to it) he adds a sense of drama and reality to it. All his skills here are at their peak . . . his characterizations are excellent (men and women, for once the latter are better than ciphers), his descriptions of the worlds are detailed and focused, his discussion of philosophy is more or less interesting and the story moves along quickly enough.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is for the kindle edition only!! Dickson was a great author, and the Childe Cycle was his masterpiece. The Final Encyclopedia was the climax of that cycle.

But it didn't end where this bastardized ebook ends. Only one half of the book is included. Worse, there doesn't appear to be any kindle version of the rest of the book. This was a rather large paperback (~700 pages) when printed. I had hoped to replace it with this ebook, but that's not possible as it stands. Amazon should update this ebook to include the remainder of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
When I read the Final Encyclopedia, I realized that it is very similar in theme with that of the novel Dune. First off, you have a character who does not know that they will be the ulitimate leaders in society. Furthermore, you have a vast array of societies that must be brought together. Throw in a couple of genetic programs and some family secrets, and you have two parallel books.
But, this novel does have its own identity and style. For one thing, it has one of the greatest projects humans have ever built in the Final Encyclopedia. Yes, the book is long, and boring at times. But the overall picture shows the sociological impact that is present in this novel. You may want to read the other books in this series, because then you can see the real Hal Mayne in this novel This appears on the surface as a pure military novel, but drive a little deeper, and you will see this is a war of the minds. A great analogy of a chess match written in a book.
The book had great character development, especially in Hal Mayne. Furthermore, the universe that Dickson creates is unique and interesting. It can be slow and boring at times, but yet at other times it is highly intellectually stimulating. Don't just read the surface value of this novel, dive into the symbolism and meaning behind what is shown. This novel may not appeal to a person due to its size alone, but I must admit that it is a crowning achievement for a unique universe in the science fiction world. Pick it up and read it!
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