Back in the 1960s, Gordon R. Dickson was one of my favorite Science Fiction writers. He knew how to tell compelling stories. Dickson would throw some humor into some of his tales (a rarity back then). Hank Davis selected a representative group of Dickson’s stories for a 2003 BAEN Books collection. Hank Davis knew Dickson’s work because there’s a little bit of everything in these 400 pages of wonderful story-telling! And Hank’s insightful “Introduction” shows he’s just not an editor, he’s a fan of Gordon R. Dickson’s work. Dickson won the HUGO AWARD for “Soldier, Ask Not” for Best Short Story, 1965; “Lost Dorsai” for Best Novella, 1981; “The Cloak and the Staff” for Best Novelette, 1981. Dickson also won a Nebula Award for “Call Him Lord” for Best Novelette, 1966. And Dickson won a August Derleth Award (Best Novel, British Fantasy Society) for The Dragon and the George, 1977. Gordon R. Dickson’s strengths as a writer ore on display in Hank Davis’s fine collection. Inexpensive copies can be found on the Internet. GRADE: A
Introduction: The Dickson Edge, by Hank Davis 1
“Danger—Human” (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1957) 5
“Sleight of Wit” (Analog, December 1961) 31
“In the Bone” (IF, October 1966) 53
“3-Part Puzzle” (Analog June 1962) 83
“An Ounce of Emotion” (IF, October 1965) 103
“Brother Charlie” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1958) 133
“The Game of Five” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April, 1960) 175
“Tiger Green” (IF, November 1965) 217
“The Hard Way” (Analog, January 1963) 247
“Jackal’s Meal” (Analog, June, 1969) 297
“On Messenger Mountain” (Worlds of Tomorrow, June 1964) 325
“The Catch” (Astounding Science Fiction April, 1959) 391

18 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #475: THE HUMAN EDGE By Gordon R. Dickson

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Another typical crappy cover from Baen.
    I probably read most of these that are from the 60’s. I read a number of his novels such as Soldier Ask Not. But I haven’t read anything by him in decades. One of those writers like Poul Anderson, Keith Laumer, Christopher Anvil and James Schmitz who were staples of the 60’s but who dropped off my radar after that. Have read a few Schmitz stories recently and they hold up well. Have some books by these authors but find it hard to keep up with the newer stuff much less go back and read or reread these. Too many books too little time.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I know all about “TOO MANY BOOKS, TOO LITTLE TIME.” You’re right about Gordon R. Dickson dropping off the SF radar after he died in 2001.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Great minds think alike!

    I picked up a couple or three of his collections cheap a few years ago. I still have one yet to read, and may look for this one too.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I’ve enjoyed all the Hank Davis BAEN Books anthologies and collections he’s edited. Steve is right about Gordon R. Dickson’s works becoming scarce.

  3. Rick Robinson

    I’ve been very fond of Dickson’s work since I read “Soldier Ask Not” in Astounding back when. It’s a Dorsai story, and I like all of those quite a bit. I have several other of his books, either that I’ve read and enjoyed or haven’t gotten to yet. This sounds like a good collection, though I’ve read more than half of them. But then I’ve probably forgotten them so rereading would be a pleasure.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, Hank Davis (a former DAPA-EMer) does a nice job selecting a variety of stories to show off Gordon R. Dickson’s talents in THE HUMAN EDGE. You would enjoy reading this collection.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, the cover is by Dave Mattingly who has done better work. You’re right about BAEN Books cultivating a certain “look” for its cover artwork.

      1. george Post author

        Todd, I’m sure BAEN Books has done some focus groups and marketing surveys that support their cover artwork.

  4. Todd Mason

    Dickson is underrated, to be sure, and even with the awards, has always been. My favorite, or close to, YA writer of sf when I was very young, certainly my favorite among those also writing adult sf. THE SECRET UNDER THE SEA was my first of his, and I found the Hoka stories written with Paul Anderson soon after.

  5. wolf

    I fondly remember those Dickson stories in the 60s.
    probably already wrote about how I detected Astounding in a book/magazine store near the railway station one day walking from the train to University – I had to buy that, though it wasn’t cheap! 🙂
    And then the large format Analog and also some issues of F&SF – wonderful to read on the train back home …
    Rather OT, but you’ll enjoy it maybe:
    As a maths student I was part of a group that didan “excursion” with one of our prof’s assistants and we had to stop at a closed railway gate. While waiting there I said to no one in particular:
    Now if we could only teleport!
    Several students turned around and said something like:
    hey, you’re a SF fan? me too! That was the start of a small group of SF friends, with onw of them I later went to several SF cons in Germany …

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, I discovered Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines when I was a teenager. In those days it was possible to buy older SF magazines through mail-order sellers who used to send out catalogs. Now, of course, we have the Internet!


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