Gordon R. Dickson was born 90 years ago

Gordon R. Dickson at Minicon 8 in 1974
Gordon R. Dickson at Minicon 8 in 1974

Gordon Rupert Dickson (photo ©Dd -b) was born November 1, 1923 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In 1937, after his father’s death, he moved with his mother in the USA, specifically in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Eventually he became an American citizen.

Gordon R. Dickson served in the U.S. Army between 1943 and 1946. In 1948 he earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Minnesota. He started his career as a science fiction writer with the story “Trespass”, written together with Poul Anderson, published on the magazine “Fantastic Story Magazine”. Over the years, the two of them wrote together the series of the Hoka, humorous science fiction later collected in various anthologies.

In 1956 , Gordon R. Dickson published his first novel, “Alien from Arcturus”, later expanded and published under the title “Arcturus Landing”. In some of his early novels you can already see the theme of human evolution, for example, in “Mankind on the Run”, also known as “On the Run” (1956) and in “Time to Teleport” (1960).

The fame came to Gordon R. Dickson with the Childe cycle, sometimes known as the Dorsai series, which began in 1960 on the novel “The Genetic General”, also known as “Dorsai!”. It tells the story of the inhabitants of a planet who offer their services as mercenaries, creating a sort of race genetically selected to excel as soldiers.

The Childe cycle is military science fiction but not only. In fact, the basic idea is that humanity must take further evolutionary leaps. In subsequent years, Gordon R. Dickson published the sequels to the first novel: “Necromancer”, also known as “No Room for Man” (1962), “Soldier, Ask Not” (1967), “Tactics of Mistake” (1971), “The spirit of Dorsai” (1979) , “Lost Dorsai” (1980) which won the Hugo Award and includes the story “Warrior” (1965), “The Final Encyclopedia” (1984) and “the Chantry Guild” (1988).

The Childe cycle also includes the anthology “The Dorsai Companion” (1986) and three novels focused on the character of Bleys Ahrens, appeared in “The Final Encyclopedia”: “Young Bleys” (1991), “Other” (1994) and “Antagonist”, completed by David W. Wixon and published posthumously in 2007.

In the ’60s, Gordon R. Dickson also wrote a series of children’s books: “Secret Under the Sea” (1960), “Secret Under Antarctica” (1963) and “Secret Under the Caribbean” (1964). In 1985, the three novels were collected in an omnibus titled “Secrets of the Deep”.

During his career, Gordon R. Dickson also wrote fantasy novels, especially the series of Dragon Knight: “The Dragon and The George” (1976) which won the August Derleth Award, “The Dragon Knight” (1990), “The Dragon on the Border” (1992), “The Dragon at War” (1992), “The Dragon, the Earl, and the Troll” (1994), “The Dragon and the Djinn” (1996), “The Dragon and the Gnarly King” (1997), “The Dragon in Lyonesse” (1998) and “The Dragon and the Fair Maid of Kent” (2000).

Gordon R. Dickson died on January 31, 2001 in Richfield, Minnesota, due to complications of a strong asthma, a problem he had suffered from all his life.

During his long career, Gordon R. Dickson was especially famous for his cycles but he also wrote many independent novels and short stories. His stories were generally based on ideas and their development didn’t include only the science and technology side but also the ethical one.

According to Gordon R. Dickson’s plans, the Childe cycle was supposed to be expanded to include stories set in the past. The last novel he wrote, “Childe”, remained unfinished and was never published. It’s a shame because it would have completed at least the part set in the future of one of the great cycles of science fiction.




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