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Young Bleys (Childe Cycle) Mass Market Paperback – February, 1992

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
Book 9 of 11 in the Childe Cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dickson ( Wolf and Iron ) returns to his monumental Childe Cycle, begun in 1959 with Dorsai! Stepping back from the events of the past two volumes, this installment details the childhood and maturation of the visionary leader Bleys Ahrens. Precocious Bleys becomes a nuisance to his mother and is sent to live with his uncle, a pious farmer on the backwater planet Association. There his elder brother Dahno, simlarly exiled, recruits him as partner in his interstellar organization of Others, those whose parentage is mixed among the three Splinter Cultures: Exotics, Friendlies and Dorsai. Eventually Bleys takes over the organization and turns it to his own, grander ends--the dominance of the many worlds by the Others. Dickson's work harks back to an earlier decade: there are no cyberpunks here; many of the SF trappings, such as floating chairs and electronic "readers" instead of printed books, seem outdated; women are practically invisible. Nevertheless the book is engaging and the prose serviceable, and fans of the series will not be disappointed. Dickson's work leaves the borders of the genre unchallenged, but reveals some of that genre's traditional strengths.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Removed from the care of his "Exotic" mother and sent to the demanding planet of Association (ruled by humans known as "Friendlies"), halfbreed Bleys Ahrens discovers a covert organization of crossbred humans which provides a focus for his growing sense of destiny. Set against the panoramic background of the Splinter Cultures, with their three distinct genetic strains of humans, Dickson's latest addition to his enduring "Childe Cycle" depicts a young man's coming of age and sets the stage for momentous events to come. Recommended for libraries that own previous series titles.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Childe Cycle
  • Mass Market Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (February 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812509471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812509472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,407,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 27, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Read all of the following: Dorsaii, Necromancer, Final Encyclopedia, Young Bleys, Other, Chantry Guild in that order. You
will enjoy Other's story of the not-so-evil Bleys Ahrens and the evolution of the first Others. The Others in the Final
Encyclopedia are viewed by an impressionable young teenager albeit a brilliant one. Once you get the more complex view
from the other side you understand why Hal is later pursued, Bleys' personal motivations, and why the Hal/Bleys relationship is so important to the series. You
will want to read this book for information and event that happen up to just prior to the Final Encyclopedia. You will keep reading it because it is a riveting story in and of itself. A lot of new information about
Bley's life is presented and the development of events key to the creation of the Other empire that you are not aware of in the
Final Encyclopedia. The next book in the series you should read is Other which picks up at the end of Young Bleys. [If you read Dorsaii/Necromancer first then it will be obvious why continuity flows better by skipping up to Final Encyclopedia then falling back to Young Bleys and Other.]
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have a feeling Dickson really had no idea how he was going to cap off his epic "Childe Cycle" and what conclusion to come to. The last two books, The Final Encyclopedia and Chantry Guild, both end in what can politely be called an anticlimax, both leaving a sort of cliffhanger for the next book to deal with. However, instead of wrapping it up after Chantry Guild, Dickson decided to focus on Hal's nemesis Bleys Ahern in the next novel (and the one after that) and show his more formative years. In one sense, this was a good idea, since Bleys (and the Others) really came out of nowhere, showing up in the beginning of the Final Encyclopedia and then making various appearances throughout that and the next novel, without us ever really finding out much about him. So this does strip away some of the mystery and gives us a look into what formed his main opposition to Hal, his view that humanity should retreat to Earth and regroup. Dickson unfortunately makes both arguments fairly reasonable and so it really doesn't seem to matter much how wins, except that all the characters get fairly hysterical over the potential outcomes. It hardly seems wrestling with the Universe over. As for the novel itself, it helps fill in the gaps, shows more of Bleys' brother Dahno (who we only saw very briefly in the Final Encyclopedia) and how Bleys got control of the Others organization and used it to further his own plans. This, alas, is where the lack of excitement comes in. Like most of Dickson's characters, most things come very effortlessly to Bleys. Since the prose is very readable and the story moves along fairly quickly you don't really notice it but it definitely takes out a lot of the drama of the book and gives you no real compelling reason to read further.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many writers, Dickson has been unable to escape the success of one of his early novels, in this case Dorsai. Young Bleys is the second novel to fail to finish the Child Cycle which grew out of the Dorsai trilogy since Final Encyclopaedia was supposed to (Final Encyclopaedia and Chantry Guild appear to have been reissued as Final Encyclopaedia 1 & 2).
As readers of Final Encyclopaedia will know, Hal Mayne, Dickson's hero (a science fiction equivalent of Moorcock's "eternal champion" who is in his third incarnation) is the leader of one side in an epic battle for the future of Human Evolution. The human race has separated since departing Earth into three "Splinter Cultures" -- Exotic (mystic), Dorsai (soldier), and Friendly (religious fanatic) and these races must be reunited so that the resulting Ubermenschen can fulfill their destiny among the stars.
Young Bleys is the story of Mayne's nemesis Bleys Ahrens. I can only assume that this is a devious attempt to deal with the ideological conflict at the end of Final Encyclopaedia in which Hal and Bleys discuss their differences in a truce: in a nutshell, Bleys believes that the human race is too screwed up to spread out like a tumour across the universe, and should return to Earth and sort itself out before proceeding. This sounds like a pretty sound idea to me, and regardless of Hal's arguments there is no way to show one side's ideas to be naturally superior to the other's.
How does Young Bleys shed light on this?
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Dickson's universe of the Splinter Cultures has been the setting for several excellent books, especially "Dorsai!" and "Soldier, Ask Not". Those books are creative and well written, with a good balance of action and introspection. The politico-military situations he sets up and their solutions are ingenious, the books contain semi-believable, likable characters, and there is a balance among the characters and story elements that keep them moving forward.
"Young Bleys" and its sequel "Other" appear to have been written by someone else. These two books exemplify the most wordy, tedious writing I have ever read from a reputable science fiction author. The otherwise admirable Gordon Dickson was apparently either too lazy or too self-indulgent to bother with even the most basic editing of either book. It takes ages for anything at all to happen. I'm not talking about action scenes, I'm talking about ANYTHING! For instance, one morning Bleys gets up and goes to see his brother. Simple, right? Not in Dickson's hands. He takes four entire paragraphs to move Bleys from home to office! He could have written, "The next morning, Bleys went straight to his brother's office" without losing a scintilla of relevant information. Instead, Dickson tells us what time Bleys woke up, what time he usually woke up, what he had for breakfast, that he showered and shaved (I kid you not!), every garment he donned from head to toe and what criteria he applied to making these momentous clothing decisions, how many floors he went down in the "disc elevator", what floor he arrived on, what his mode of transportation was, how much traffic he saw on his trip to his brother's office, what kind of vehicles comprised it, what his brother's reception area looked like.
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