HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Tactics of Mistake by Gordon R. Dickson
Loading...

Tactics of Mistake (1971)

by Gordon R. Dickson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Childe Cycle (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7811111,802 (3.6)13

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
There's a lot more action in this book compared to the last one. We've also gone back in time, a century before the first book, to learn about the origins & the real strength of the Dorsai. A good, quick read with a neat ending.

The series is still going strong. On to the next book, [b:The Spirit of Dorsai|263119|The Spirit of Dorsai (Dorsai/Childe Cycle)|Gordon R. Dickson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173239011s/263119.jpg|2178639]. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Jun 19, 2013 |
Tactics of Mistake - Gordon R. Dickson
This is set in an earlier time than the last book, and the main character is Cletus Grahame, an ancestor of Donal. The title is the title of a work of what he sees as revolutionary strategy he is currently working on, being crippled and not so useful running around a battlefield.

He gradually uses his theories to become a very important man, and later on has increasing mental powers which allow him to heal his injured leg. His theories revolve around making the other guy screw up.

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2007/02/tactics-of-mistake-gordon-r-dic... ( )
  BlueTysonSS | Jan 3, 2013 |
DORSAI TRILOGY
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
Tactics of Mistake by Gordon R. Dickson is the Dorsai novel where it all began, so a prequel in many ways. This was a book I mooched along with Soothsayer in order to receive The Wind Crystal from a BookMoocher in Australia. All three are also registered with BookCrossing (my first experience with this). I think I will happily return Tactics of Mistake to the flow.

This book was moderately interesting, but not a keeper for me. I've read only one other Dorsai novel, which I liked well enough, though, once again, not enough to keep. These are books in the militaristic SF tradition about the ultimate warrior society. Which is to say, they are short on characterizations and dialogue, concentrating on action orchestrated by the idealized hero who can do no wrong.

This book features Cletus Grahame as the protagonist (straight white guy, of course) who revolutionizes warfare. What starts as a bloody contest between the Western Alliance and the Eastern Coalition (both Earth-based powers), or rather between their frontier planet catspaws, becomes the beginning of an independence movement. Not surprisingly, the Earth powers unite in an attempt to quash the outplanets. The whole thing is framed as a personal contest between Cletus and Dow deCastries (the straight white antagonist). Throw in a half-baked not particularly believable romance and some secondary characters who are turned around by our hero, and you have standard old-style science fiction. I think it also reflects the Cold War struggle as well, which adds to the sense of being dated.

There are some minorities included in the story. Melissa Khan (the love interest) and her father Colonel Eachen Khan are Afghani. They are the crux of the story, and provide Cletus Grahame entree to the Dorsai planet and its mercenary operations. The only obviously black person is Major Swahili, and his portrayal is perhaps the most negative. When Grahame starts leading the Dorsai to bloodless coups, he decamps because he loves the violence, killing, and personal risk and courage involved in warfare (in other words, he's the savage--pretty standard stereotype). Many of the names peppered through the book give it a multicultural feel: Lu May, Ad Reyes, Tosca Aras, and so on. With respect to the single female character, I will lift this quote directly from a review of Dorsai! because it applies equally well here: "Dickson also maintains his inability to write convincing female characters, is a step forward and a step backward, she's a strong, opinionated character, it's just that all her opinions are wrong and she spends most of the book making snide judgements about that clearly make her look stupid" (names changed to reflect current novel.

Perhaps the most interesting science fiction element for me is the concept of the Exotics, or the Association for the Investigation and Development of the Exotic Sciences. This group is all for revolutionizing human society by fostering "the seeds of further evolution." Our hero rejects their invitation with the observation, "You Exotics are essentially ruthless toward all men, because you're philosophers, and by and large, philosophers are ruthless people." It's a strong statement, and I'm not sure I agree with him, but I think I understand where he's coming from. This was the basic thesis in Seeing Like a State, which explores how ideas about social engineering when married to totalitarian political power lead to some truly devastating events.

So, moderately interesting, not particularly unique or original. Worth a quick read, definitely not written for female audiences (but then, how much from 1971 was?). Feels dated in many ways. Pretty classic Dickson. ( )
1 vote justchris | Feb 28, 2010 |
I tend to agree with TimothyBurke's assessment. This story is a Geek's dream fulfillment. Cletus is the misunderstood genius that can see and understand what no one else around him can.

While I haven't read all of the Dorsai books, this is definitely the best. I first read it as it was being published in serial form in Analog magazine. Have reread it a number of times since then.

Can I say that this is my favorite SciFi story without too much incrimination?! :-) ( )
  ittai | Dec 2, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gordon R. Dicksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AnthonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Royo, LuisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger...
Lessons: Anonymous
Dedication
First words
The young lieutenant-colonel was drunk, apparently, and determined to rush upon disaster.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Prelude to the "Childe" series, this book chronicles the start of the "Dorsai", a society of Mercenaries, and gives a taste of the "Exotics", a society of philosophers and the "Frendlies", a society of Crusaders-for-Hire.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
22 avail.
1 wanted
2 pay1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.6)
0.5
1 4
1.5
2 6
2.5 3
3 33
3.5 7
4 26
4.5 4
5 21

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,053,997 books! | Top bar: Always visible