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1st edition cover
|Author||Gordon R. Dickson|
|Genre||Military Science Fiction|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Dorsai! is the first published book of the incomplete Childe Cycle series of science fiction novels by Gordon R. Dickson. While it is the first book published in the series, later books are set both before and after the events in Dorsai!.
The novel was originally published in serialized form in Astounding Science Fiction, starting in May, 1959. A shorter, revised version was published in paperback by Ace in 1960 under the title The Genetic General. A re-edited and expanded version of the novel was published under its original serialized title, Dorsai!, by DAW in 1976. This version of the novel was reissued as one half of an omnibus edition, Dorsai Spirit by Tor in 2002, The other novel contained in Dorsai Spirit is The Spirit of Dorsai (originally published 1979).
The book is about Donal Graeme, warrior extraordinaire. In the Childe Cycle universe, the human race has split into a number of splinter cultures. Donal is a member of the Dorsai, a splinter culture based on the planet of the same name, which has specialized in producing the very best soldiers. Since each splinter culture specializes in a specific area of expertise, a system of trade labour contracts between the cultures allows each planet to hire the expertise they need. The Dorsai, inhabiting a resource-poor world, hire themselves out as mercenaries to other planetary governments. Donal has great ambitions, and the book follows his rise in an episodic manner. The book begins as a straightforward tale of his career and then becomes something else, as it becomes clear there is something different about Donal Graeme himself.
Characters in Dorsai!
- Donal Graeme
- Anea Marlivana
- William of Ceta
- Ian Graeme
Literary significance and criticism
Dorsai! is an influential part of the genre of military science fiction. The novel, as part of the Childe Cycle series, still has a strong following within the science fiction community, as evidenced by the continuing activity of the Dorsai Irregulars, and the 1999 filk album, Shai Dorsai. In the foreword of later editions, the novel is said to have explored the role of a commander the way Starship Troopers explored the role of a trooper.
Awards and nominations
- Dorsai! was nominated for a Hugo award for best novel in 1960. It lost to another of the pivotal early works of military science fiction, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
- The Genetic General / Time to Teleport, (1960, Gordon R. Dickson, Ace Double, #D-449, $0.35, 159+96pp, paperback)
- The Genetic General, (1967, Gordon R. Dickson, Ace, #F-426, $0.40, 159pp, paperback)
- Three to Dorsai!, (1975, Gordon R. Dickson, Nelson Doubleday, hardcover, collection)
- Dorsai, (1976, Gordon R. Dickson, DAW, #UW1218, 236pp, paperback)
- The Genetic General, (1986, Gordon R. Dickson, Ace, ISBN 0-441-16023-9, $3.50, 305pp, paperback)
- Dorsai!, (1988, Gordon R. Dickson, Easton Press, $32.00, 162pp, hardcover)
- Dorsai!, (1989, Gordon R. Dickson, Sphere, ISBN 0-7221-2972-6, £2.50, 176pp, paperback)
- Dorsai!, (1993, Gordon R. Dickson, Tor, ISBN 0-8125-0398-8, $4.99, 280pp, paperback)
- Dorsai Spirit, (2002, Gordon R. Dickson, Tor, ISBN 0-312-87764-1, $25.95, 432pp, hardcover)
- 1960 Hugo Awards, retrieved December 5, 2010
- Barron (editor), Neil (2004), Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction (5th ed.), Westport, Connecticut, US: Libraries Unlimited, p. 186, ISBN 1-59158-171-0
- Bester, Alfred (November 1960), "Books", The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Mercury Publications) 19 (5): 93
- Clute, John; Peter Nicholls (1995). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 331–332. ISBN 0-312-13486-X.
- Cotts, S. E. (October 1960). "The Spectroscope". Amazing Stories (Ziff-Davis Publishing Company) 34 (9): 135.
- Miller, P. Schuyler (July 1961). "The Reference Library: Building Universes". Analog Science Fact/Science Fiction (Street & Smith Publications, Inc.) 67 (5): 168.
- Miller, P. Schuyler (August 1967). "The Reference Library". Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Condé Nast Publications, Inc.). LXXIX (6): 169.
- Pohl, Frederik (November 1960), "Worlds of If", If 10 (5): 83
- Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 143. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.