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New Treasures: The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1 edited by Hank Davis

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best of Gordon R Dickson Volume 1-smallOver the last four years we’ve spent a lot of time and energy covering Del Rey’s 1970s-era Classic Science Fiction line, also know as the Best of…. series. In the process we may have angrily shaken our fists at the entire publishing industry once or twice, shouting “You don’t have the guts or the imagination to do something like this any more, do you??”

And of course, along comes Baen Books to prove us wrong.

Last week Baen Books released The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1, the first in a two-volume set collecting a generous sample of science fiction and fantasy from one of the most popular and celebrated SF writers of the 20th Century. It follows The Best of Bova, a planned 3-volume set, and their recent omnibus collections of Andre Norton, Murray Leinster, and James H. Schmitz.

The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume I, gathers together fourteen stories, predominantly from the first half of legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Gordon R. Dickson’s career, ranging from the early 1950s through the 1960s, including tales dragons, dolphins, aliens, werewolves, mutants and humans trying to make sense of an infinitely bewildering universe. A maiden aunt is suddenly given superpowers. An alien who looks like a large, sentient rabbit makes ominous announcement which make no sense from behind an impenetrable force shield. Humans besieged by an alien enemy refuse, against all reason, to give up fighting. And much more, in stories running the gamut from exciting adventure to stark tragedy to hysterical comedy. Plus the never before published “Love Story,” written for Harlan Ellison’s legendary, but never published anthology, The Last Dangerous Visions. And stay tuned for The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume II, with another generous display of Dickson’s virtuosity, covering his brilliant career from 1970s to the century’s end.

I was especially pleased to see that editor Hank Davis managed to pry another unpublished tale from Harlan Ellison’s clutches, where it has been languishing in the submission pile for The Last Dangerous Visions since 1973.

Dickson is something of a legend to old-school SF fans. His first SF story was “Trespass!”, written with frequent collaborator Poul Anderson, which appeared in the Spring 1950 issue of Fantastic Stories Quarterly. He won three Hugos and one Nebula award, and his books included the popular Dorsai series, the 9-volume Dragon Knight series that began with The Dragon and the George, and more than 50 standalone novels and collections published over a 50-year career.

Dorsai Ace

He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000, and died in January 2001, at the age of 77.

We’ve covered a handful of Dickson’s books over the years, including:

Dickson’s Dorsai! to Hit Small Screen by Bill Ward
Vintage Treasures: Jamie the Red by Gordon R. Dickson with Roland Green
None But Man
Dorsai/The Genetic General (1960)

Here’s the complete table of contents for The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1:

“Love Song” (previously unpublished)
“Miss Prinks” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June, 1954)
“Our First Death” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August, 1955)
“St. Dragon and the George” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September, 1957)
“Friend for Life” (Venture Science Fiction, March, 1957)
“Danger—Human” (Astounding Science Fiction, December, 1957)
“Fleegl of Fleegl” (Venture Science Fiction, May, 1958)
“The Question” (Astounding Science Fiction, May, 1958)
“The Girl Who Played Wolf” (Fantastic, August, 1958)
“The Dreamsman” (Star Science Fiction #6, 1959)
“One on Trial” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May, 1960)
“An Honorable Death” (Galaxy Magazine, February, 1961)
“Whatever Gods There Be” (Amazing Stories, July, 1961)
“Idiot Solvant” (Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact, January, 1962)
“Dolphin’s Way” (Analog Science Fact-Science Fiction, June, 1964)

The Baen Big Book of Monsters-smallHank Davis seems to have stepped into Eric Flint’s shoes at Baen, as the man keeping classic science fiction alive in paperback on store shelves. If you’re a fan of short genre fiction, you have a lot to be thankful to Hank for, including:

The Best of the Bolos: Their Finest Hour (2010)
A Cosmic Christmas (2012)
A Cosmic Christmas 2 You (2013)
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream (2013)
The Baen Big Book of Monsters (2014)
As Time Goes By (2015)
Future Wars … and Other Punchlines (2015)
Worst Contact (2016)
Things from Outer Space (2016)
If This Goes Wrong… (2016)

The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1 was published by Baen Books on April 4, 2017. It is 272 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $8.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Adam Burn. Check out the free sample at the Baen website.

No word yet on Volume 2 will appear. We’ll keep you posted.

See all our recent New Treasures here.

7 Comments »

  1. This is awesome. These are just the kind of anthologies that brought me into science fiction, and there can never be enough of them!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - April 12, 2017 6:15 pm

  2. Thomas — My thinking exactly!

    Comment by John ONeill - April 12, 2017 9:27 pm

  3. Dickson is another one of those authors that I severely neglected (I think because the public library only had The Dragon & the George, which I did enjoy). Must rectify.

    Comment by Joe H. - April 12, 2017 9:57 pm

  4. I wonder how much longer stories that were destined for THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS are going to keep trickling out? By now there must be enough for a reprint anthology of them, if anybody’s listening.

    I read and liked “Love Story”, which is a free sample on the Baen website, by the way

    Comment by dolphintornsea - April 13, 2017 3:43 am

  5. Sorry—the story is called “Love Song”, of course. The same error appears at least twice in the preliminary matter of the sample, before the story title. The correct title appears to refer to the haunting Elizabethan song “Greensleeves.”

    Comment by dolphintornsea - April 13, 2017 3:48 am

  6. > I wonder how much longer stories that were destined for THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS
    > are going to keep trickling out? By now there must be enough for a reprint anthology

    Dolphin,

    Very true! Wikipedia lists no less than 32 stories that have appeared so far, including tales by Daniel Keyes, Clifford D. Simak, Frank Herbert, Octavia Butler, Michael Moorcock, Algis Budrys, Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett, Joe Haldeman, John Varley, Jack Williamson, Fred Saberhagen, Cordwainer Smith, Michael Bishop, Christopher Priest, and many others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Dangerous_Visions

    Comment by John ONeill - April 13, 2017 11:34 am

  7. My favorite title from that TOC on Wikipedia: “Ugly Duckling Gets the Treatment and Becomes Cinderella Except Her Foot’s Too Big for the Prince’s Slipper and Is Webbed Besides”

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 14, 2017 4:37 pm


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