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The Final Encyclopedia (Childe Cycle #7)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  740 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In The Final Encyclopedia the human race is split into three Splinter cultures: the Friendlies, fanatic in their faith; the truth-seeking Exotics; and the warrior Dorsai. But now humanity is threatened by the power-hungry Others, whose triumph would end all human progress. Hal Mayne is an orphan who was raised by three tutors: an Exotic, a Friendly, and a Dorsai. He is the ...more
Paperback, 696 pages
Published October 10th 1985 by Ace Books (first published October 1984)
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Apr 24, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Asimov's Foundation is probably the best known sf future history series. For a long time this has seemed odd to me, because it really doesn't hold a candle to Dickson's Childe Cycle. Dickson had a vast vision of telling the story of future human evolution. Not evolution to be a bit taller and smarter or having gills or the ever popular beings of pure energy, but evolution to a new level of Creativity. One of the main threads of the series is how space colonization lead mankind to fracture into m ...more
Jeff Miller
Mar 03, 2016 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel was kind of Dickson's Dune in that it was superior space opera. Intricate culture building and culture clashes. An attempt to guide multiple civilizations to prevent decline. Hal Mayne is no messiah figure, but there is some aspect of this. There are some interesting contrasts between this and dune and the problems of stagnation. While Dune is the superior novel, I certainly enjoyed my re-read of this one after some decades.
Lawrence Duplessis
Jan 03, 2016 Lawrence Duplessis rated it it was amazing
Hal Mayne is the search for self. He is the mythical child rescued from the wilderness, and as he grows to adolescence the wilderness calls to him. What is his purpose? What will he find?
The Final Encyclopedia represents a place, but it is also the hope and culmination of many journeys.
The novel is worth reading on its own, but really shines as it unites the threads of humanities' progress and struggle.

The author cites "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" a few times as history is important to
May 13, 2016 Kathi rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a complex, somewhat mythical saga of the coming of age of Hal Mayne and the maturation of his understanding of the challenge facing the human race--to embrace stasis or change. Hal comes to believe that change and growth are the only ways the human race can survive, but his evolutionary counterpart, Bleys Ahrens, believes stasis is the mechanism of survival.

The scope of this story expands considerably upon that of the earlier books in Dickson's Childe Cycle, but remains true to its r
Christopher Sutch
Nov 17, 2010 Christopher Sutch rated it it was amazing
This is a great book (though tremendously long) that at last states, more or less plainly, what's going on in Dickson's Childe Cycle series. Along with the other main-trunk novels of the series, _Dorsai!_ and _Necromancer_, this book continues to lay out Dickson's arguments about history and evolution by setting up the final conflict (this was to have happened in the unpublished final volume, _Childe_, which will not probably never see the light of day) between two evolutionary forms of humanity ...more
I loved the entire Childe cycle when I first read them 25 years ago. But, with The Final Encyclopedia (the 5th book I believe) I realize that I just read a large number of pages in a novel in which nothing much happens. Hal Mayne, the protagonist starts out as a young child and through the course of the book grows up. However, mostly he flys to the Dorsaii, or to the Exotics, and then to the Friendlies asking for their help but not giving them any details. He does this 2 or 3 times until the end ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Epic Conflict

An Epic Conflict

I love Gordon Dickson's Childe Cycle. I enjoyed Hal Mayne's journey among the splinter groups of mankind, and particularly liked the author's humanizing presentation of the people of the Friendly worlds. In this book the reader can begin to understand this culture and even identify with them. Some of the hero's inner soliloquies are too wordy and convoluted and become tiresome. Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite books in The Childe Cycle.

Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
This book answers a lot of the previous questions, ties up threads that have been left dangling. I wish it had been about 1/2 the length. Certainly 1/3 could have easily been cut. There is a lot of repetition of points previously made. They're hammered home here, multiple times each.

It's an interesting theory that Dickson puts forth: an almost intelligent racial evolution. While I found it repetitive, some readers might like the various ways he puts the same material; different perspectives &
mark mathurin
May 10, 2015 mark mathurin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A vision of the inner workings of man seeking that forever go beyond the limits all feel imposed on themselves in this frail shell we call Self. A nice combination of thrilling chases interspersed with philosophical and poetic musings..each time I read this it means something different, something more than each younger me discovered. Dickson created a classic series gaff publishing this imho...
Jul 11, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps one of the finest SF books ever written. Dickson is at his most eloquent as he writes the story about Hal Mayne and his slow movement toward Destiny. Part of his Childe cycle, and more essential, part of his Dorsai universe, this grand tome is at once captivating and thought-provoking. There were times I stopped in mid-sentence to savor either the concept or the language.

If you are not a the core a science fiction fan, then this book will probably leave you cold, but for all of y
Linda Geletei
Mar 11, 2016 Linda Geletei rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Disappointing ending could have been a descent SciFi the book needs a lot of editing good story line better luck with next book
Jun 24, 2014 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Clearly the pinnacle work of the series, at least philosophically. This work is a bit much on the exposition, but a good read nonetheless.
Mar 10, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
A bit too long and philosophical, but a good read.
Oct 19, 2012 Enrico added it
i've been re-reading the dorsai series. it's an excellent idea -- to
bring together various strands of humanity via some sort grand synthesis.
but it's really showing its age. oddly for science fiction, it seems to rely
largely on mysticism to solve it's plot problems. that does not appeal to
I've read this before, but I'm re-reading it now, inspired by just reading "The New Space Opera" anthology. I remember the inspiring grand sweep, and am charmed anew by the literary and musical references. Hal Mayne hears Peer Gynt as he descends into the mines and now, so do I.
May 13, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing
I thought this was the coolest book ever when I was 12. This was before the Internet and the concept fo the final encyclopedia really blew my mind.

Also funny because I read this first and didn't know it was book #7.
Steve Smy
Feb 08, 2012 Steve Smy rated it it was amazing
Really need the title on record here to be fixed!!

A magnificent tome! While drawing so many loose threads together, new ones are left to draw us on further…
May 06, 2012 Peter rated it it was ok
Just didn't quite work for me - well written and entertaining anyway
Mar 24, 2011 Henning rated it liked it
A pretty slow moving book.
Mike S
Sep 01, 2010 Mike S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-sci-fi
Well written.
Diana Brown
Diana Brown marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Forrest Zimmermann
Forrest Zimmermann marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
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Schatzl rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2016
Phillip Braden
Phillip Braden marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2016
Matthew Gilmore
Matthew Gilmore rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2016
William Carnell
William Carnell marked it as to-read
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Steve rated it really liked it
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Gordon Rupert Dickson was an American science fiction author. He was born in Canada, then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota as a teenager. He is probably most famous for his Childe Cycle and the Dragon Knight series. He won three Hugo awards and one Nebula award.

More about Gordon R. Dickson...

Other Books in the Series

Childe Cycle (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Dorsai! (Childe Cycle, #1)
  • Necromancer (Childe Cycle, #2)
  • Soldier, Ask Not (Childe Cycle, #3)
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • Spirit of Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #5)
  • Lost Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #6)
  • The Dorsai Companion (Childe Cycle, #8)
  • The Chantry Guild (Childe Cycle, #9)
  • Young Bleys (Childe Cycle, #10)
  • Other (Childe Cycle, #11)

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“But you keep fighting!”
“Of course!” said Child. “I am of God, whatever or whoever else is not. I must testify to Him by placing my body against the enemy while that body lasts; and by protecting those that my small strength may protect, until my personal end. What is it to me that all the peoples of all the worlds choose to march toward the nether pit? What they do in their sins is no concern of mine. Mine only is concern for God, and the way of God’s people of whom I am one. In the end, all those who march pitward will be forgotten; but I and those like me who have lived their faith will be remembered by the Lord—other than that I want nothing and I need nothing.”

Godlun dropped his face into his hands and sat for a moment. When he took his hands away again and raised his head, Hal saw that the skin of his face was drawn and he looked very old.
“It’s all right for you,” he whispered.
“It is fleshly loves that concern thee,” said Child, nearly as softly. “I know, for I remember how it was in the little time I had with my wife; and I remember the children unborn that she and I dreamed of together. It is thy children thou wouldst protect in these dark days to come; and it was thy hope that I could give you reason to think thou couldst do so. But I have no such hope to give. All that thou lovest will perish. The Others will make a foul garden of the worlds of humankind and there will be none to stop them. Turn thee to God, my brother, for nowhere else shalt thou find comfort.”
“they’re blinded by the limited focus of their attitudes toward time and history. They only look as far as their own lifetime. No, they don’t even look that far. They only look at how things are for their own generation.” 0 likes
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