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Dorsai! (1976)

de Gordon R. Dickson

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Childe Cycle (1), Dorsai (3)

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1,5252111,160 (3.64)41
The result of hundreds of years of controlled genetic development, Donal Graeme--the finest of the galaxy's elite Dorsai warriors--embarks on a mission vital to the survival of the human race.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This science fiction story was written in 1959 when men were men and women were cardboard cut-outs. It tells about the early career of Donal Greame who is a very unusual Dorsai.

Humanity has spread to fourteen worlds held together by contracts but diverging in many other ways. Donal, as a Dorsai, is a mercenary soldier from a planet that has few other exports. Dorsai are super soldiers known both for their rages and their honor. But Donal is something more; he has a unique intuition that leads him to see the big picture of human life.

His adversary is William of Ceta who has his own plans for humanity which Donal opposes and out maneuvers. The story follows his growing career from his first post as a mercenary to Secretary of Defense for all the human planets.

The story includes the battles he fought, the strategies he used, and the people he gathered to himself along the way.

It is the first book in the Child Cycle - Dickson's epic set of connected stories about the future of humanity. The Child Cycle was never completed but did encompass ten books written by Dickson from 1959 until 1994 with an eleventh volume completed in 2007 by Dickson's assistant David W. Wixon.

It was an intriguing story about an imagined future and the people who will live in it. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jan 12, 2022 |
I read Dorsai! as the last volume of an omnibus edition, Three to Dorsai!. I didn't like Paul Formain of Necromancer, came to like Cletus Grahame of The Tactics of Mistake, and didn't like Cletus' descendant, Donal Graeme.

Donal is 'a Dorsai of the Dorsai'. Both of his parents' surnames, Graeme and Kenwick, very old names. He's 18. The author lauds him for several sentences, then states that people doubt Donal and consider him odd. The theme of Donal being odd runs throughout the book. The chapters are named for the rank Donal is holding at the time.


Cadet: 'The Recessional' by Rudyard Kipling is known as the Dorsai Hymn. Part of it is quoted here.

Man: We meet Donal's family.

Mercenary: Donal meets Anea Marlivana, Select of Kultis; William, Prince & Chairman of the Board of Planet Ceta, Tau Ceti; and Hendrik Galt, First Marshall of the planet Freiland.

Mercenary II:

a. Both of Donal's grandmothers were Maran, which becomes important later.

b. Galt and Donal discuss planetary governments.

Mercenary III: Donal experience Phase-Shift awake.

Force-Leader: Donal questions Unit Commander Hugh Killien, who is not amused.

Force-Leader [II]: Donal catches Hugh Killien where he shouldn't be, doing something he shouldn't be doing.

Veteran: Donal has unpleasant conversations with Prince William and Anea Marlivana.


a. Donal meets Elvine Rhy, step-niece to Marshall Galt.

b. Groupman Lee wants to be Donal's orderly and explains why.

Sub-Patrol Chief:

a. Donal gets to carry out his plan that was snubbed a couple of chapters ago.

b. Shai Dorsai! means 'true/pure/actual Dorsai'.

War-Chief: Donal receives a message about his twin uncles, Kensie and Ian, from his father.

Part-Maran: Donal meets Sayona the Bond and is told things about himself. Something strange happened.


a. We find out how some of the men who have chosen to follow Donal are doing.

b. There are 16 inhabited worlds in eight stellar systems between Sol and Altair.

Protector II: Donal and Prince William discuss reasons for war.

Commander-in-Chief II: Prince William shows Donal an unpleasant surprise.

This book came out in 1959, so I'll try to cut the author some slack about the way he portrayed his female characters and some of his remarks about women. In the end, I felt very sorry for Donal even after all he accomplishes. I also felt sorry for the principal female character, Anea Marlivana, both for the way she was written to be a ditz in her dealings with Donal and for the plans that were laid for her before she was born that she learns in the last chapter. The military conflicts and solutions are interesting, but Donal is no Miles Vorkosigan, who manages to be very likeable despite his faults. ( )
  JalenV | Oct 21, 2021 |
In my quest to review SF books from the Classic Era (1950s-60s) I am sampling authors I missed when I was reading SF as a teen. Dickson was one of them. I'm a little amazed at how much he wrote and how many awards for which he was nominated. He was born in the 1920s which made him a contemporary of most of the great Classic SF writers. He had short stories in over 20 different SF pulp publications and at least 40 novels.

I have been putting off reading this book. It just didn't interest me. Part of this is the senselessness of being a professional soldier just to be hired and die for any "dirt ball" tyrant that happens to be in power. In spite of this I found myself liking our hero as the story followed the progression of his career and life. Better then I expected but I will not be reading the rest of the series. ( )
  ikeman100 | Oct 2, 2020 |
“Dorsai!” by Gordon R Dickson: thirty five years ago I loved this. Now it seems very thin

In 1957, two years before the first version of “Dorsai!” was serialized in in “Astounding Science Fiction”, Peter Graham coined the phrase: “The Golden Age of Science Fiction is twelve.”

I started reading science fiction in the sixties when I was ten but I didn’t get to “Dorsai!” until my early twenties. I was still a twelve-year-old at heart and most science fiction excited me. I loved the puzzle-solving, the removal of constraints, the triumph of optimism. I was already being lured towards a different, more socially-based sensibility by writers like Ursula K Le Guin and her “Left Hand of Darkness” but I was still up for hard-core space opera when I read “Dorsai!”

At the time, I found it literally astonishing: the idea of a military race, bred to fight and lead and win, producing a genius who would shape the fate of many world’s by fighting as little as possible was new and fresh. The pace was brisk, The plot turned on its heals at lightning speed and the ending caught me completely by surprise. It was a celebration of what I was looking for in Science Fiction at the time.

So, when I saw the audio version on audible.com, I thought it would be fun to relive all of that.

It turns out, I’m not twelve any more. I was not thrilled. The plot is still clever and the pace is still brisk but how had I not seen how shallow the characters were, how ridiculously male-dominated the book was, how morally bankrupt the politics was and how dishonestly bloodless the fighting was?

“Dorsai!” is well read by Stefan Rudnicki and offers a pleasant way to while away the hours. It is a book of its time but that time is no longer mine. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
(Original Review, 1980-08-24)

On the question of Dickson's Dorsai or Childe cycle: I understand that originally there were to be 9 books. 3 historical fiction, 3 present day fiction, and 3 SF. I also read that publishers were unwilling to put out SF books of the size of the 3 proposed so they were each split in half. So far only 4 books have been published (or so I believe, correct me if I am wrong). These are "Necromancer", "Tactics of Mistake", "Dorsai!", and "Soldier Ask Not". That is the order of their internal chronology (i.e., read them in that order), not the order of their publication. Dickson is said to be working on at least two more books in the cycle at this time. I don't know about anyone else but I EAGERLY await these two books. In addition to the books there are several short stories associated with the cycle. Three of these are gathered together with a thin connecting tissue in "Spirit of Dorsai" (I'm not positive of the title, it should be in books in print though), one of these is the very strong story "Brothers" from the collection "Astounding" published in memory of John Campbell. The related stories also include "Lulungomeena", "The Lost Dorsai" (published recently in Destinies), and "Man of War" (as usual I'm not sure of the title, this is an older story and I'm not sure where to find it).

Two other Dickson books, "Home From the Shore" and "The Space Swimmers", deal with a theme/subject (I don't know which word to use) similar to that of the Childe cycle.

Listing the future segment of the Childe Cycle is a confusing task. Over the years that Dickson has been writing it, he has published material from the cycle in a variety of forms, from short story to novel, and under several names. Now as the future portion of the cycle nears completion the various pieces are being brought together with the appropriate framing material. The confusion comes in determining out how older work has been rearranged, expanded, and retitled.

According to an Ace advertisement, they will bring out the 5 books of the future segment of the Childe cycle in trade paperback form. Currently, 4 of the 5 books are available. They are DORSAI!; SOLDIER, ASK NOT; THE SPIRIT OF THE DORSAI; and LOST DORSAI. LOST DORSAI includes excerpts from the fifth book to be entitled THE FINAL ENCYCLOPEDIA. Steve has explained THE SPIRIT OF DORSAI. A cursory bookstore examination of LOST DORSAI indicates that it is a minor reworking of the Destinies novella. The excerpt and illustrations fill it out to full size.

I am not sure how all of the earlier titles which Steve lists will map into the 5 Ace books, if indeed all of them will. However, I have one speculation to offer on the basis of the framing material in the SF Book Club's THREE TO DORSAI, a single volume collection of "Necromancer", "Tactics of Mistake", and "Dorsai!" I suspect that THE FINAL ENCYCLOPEDIA will include the material in "Necromancer" and turn the future segment of the Childe Cycle into a non-recursive time loop.

The Dorsai books don't glorify war so much as humanity. Dickson claims to be describing the growth of a social consciousness. One of the major hallmarks of the Dorsai soldiers is that they win wars with the minimum of bloodshed. And that they honor their contracts, debts, and obligations. This extends to all phases of their lives. They also don't seem to hassle you for being whatever you are, unless you hassle them. Read the story "The Lost Dorsai" to see what I mean.

[2018 EDIT: I read the Dorsai cycle in its entirety back in the day several times over.]

[2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a “BBS language”.] ( )
  antao | Nov 14, 2018 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Dickson, Gordon R.autor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Alexander, Paul R.Artista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Alpers, Hans JoachimPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Anderson, PoulIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Brandhorst, AndreasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Emshwiller, EdArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lehr, FredIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lehr, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Podwil, JeromeIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Royo, LuisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rudnicki, StefanNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wöllzenmüller, FranzDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado


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The result of hundreds of years of controlled genetic development, Donal Graeme--the finest of the galaxy's elite Dorsai warriors--embarks on a mission vital to the survival of the human race.

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