Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems” as Want to Read:
Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  199 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
This collection showcases the career-launching short fiction of Timothy Zahn, acclaimed author of Blackcollar, the Quadrail series, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

The pieces included in Pawn’s Gambit range from the adventure science fiction Timothy Zahn is famous for to post-apocalyptic tales and humorous fantasy. In “The Price of Surviv
ebook, 342 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi Fantasy
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5 stars. Overall a decent collection of short stories, mostly science fiction, with some fantasy mixed in. I didn’t find any excellent, but none was really bad either, which makes for a good book to borrow, for want of actually buying it.

Some notes about the stories:

“The Price of Survival”: An interesting enough conundrum about how far two species are ready to go to survive. But while their representatives mourn about simi
Joy Smith
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't a Timothy Zahn fan, though I recognized his name, but the book blurb intrigued me; the story descriptions sounded like ones I'd enjoy, even though I know that anthologies and author collections are a gamble 'cause sometimes only one or two stories are really good. However, I enjoyed all these stories; and although not every character is happy at the end because they don't--and can't--know what happened next, the endings are satisfying, and some are fun! The stories are all worth reading ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems by Timothy Zahn is a very highly recommended collection of 15 short stories that were previously published in magazines from earlier in Zahn's career. Here they are gathered together for the first time in book form. The opportunity to read this collection was a treat for me. I enjoyed every single story. Admittedly I loved some more than others, as is the case with almost any collection, but there really wasn't a dude in this collection. These are hard science ...more
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is great compilation of science fiction and fantasy short stories by Timothy Zahn. I was pleased at the variety of stories included: traditional sci-fi, “hard” sci-fi, paranormal fiction, a tale about mythical creatures like trolls and gnomes, and dystopian fiction. The wide variety made for an entertaining read.

Zahn has a smooth writing style: not too simple, but at the same time, not a treatise on particle physics and faster-than-light travel. He also writes excellent dialogue. I’ve
Judy Lesley
This collection of fifteen short stories is a great introduction to the writing of Timothy Zahn if you are unfamiliar with his writing, as was I. I'm sure it will also be of interest to readers who are already familiar with his many works. The following is a listing of the stories and the year of their first appearance in print as provided by the publisher in the back of the book:

"The Price of Survival" - 1981
"The Giftie Gie Us" - 1981
"The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment" - 1983
Kathy Sebesta
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
However did I miss this when it came out? Read all the stories, but I especially liked the title tale and Trollbridge and I bet you will, too.
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always Timothy Zahn does not leave the reader wanting. A series of short stories that pack a great punch and leave the reader wanting more.
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
I had read several of these stories when they were first published and I liked them just as much reading them again now. Timothy Zahn is a master of the twist you don't see coming!
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Physical reality is never obligated to correspond with our theories and constructs.”

An adequate collection of short science fiction. Quality decreases deeper into the book, however the last tale, the eponymous “Pawn’s Gambit,” is the best of the bunch.

“You risked your life to try to save people whose music you don’t even like.” “People are people, no matter what their tastes are.”

Quibble: No one would fly the two hundred miles from Frankfurt to Stuttgart. Train or car would be faster.

“Not paran
Pawn’s Gambit and Other Stratagems is a collection of short stories by science fiction author Timothy Zahn. Most of the short stories are science fiction, although a few were fantasy. Some are new, and some were familiar to me from reading one of his prior collections. I didn’t find any of the stories fantastic, but there were some I liked and some I didn’t like.

Two stories address contact between humans and aliens. In a “The Price of Survival,” an alien spaceship travels by scoping up matter fr
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very excited to hear Zahn got a collection of older short stories published. He's got 4 other such collections, but they've all been out of print for so long that they're hard to find.

* The Price of Survival - Unbearably sad first contact.

* The Giftie Gie Us - The nuclear war has mutated us.

* The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment - When does a fetus become human?

* Cascade Point - At first I thought this was gonna be Flowers for Algernon IN SPACE but then it twisted into something /r/GetMot
Donna Davis
Pawn’s Gambit and Other Stratagems is a collection of kick-ass science fiction stories, including a novella, produced digitally for the first time. This is the cool thing about Open Road Integrated Media: the publishers find outstanding work from the pre-digital era and bring it to present-day readers anew so that it can be widely read and appreciated all over again. But though these stories were written earlier, many of them have never been published in book form before. I got to check out the ...more
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

The pieces included in Pawn's Gambit range from the adventure science fiction Timothy Zahn is famous for to post-apocalyptic tales and humorous fantasy. In “The Price of Survival,” an alien ship arrives in our solar system without hostile intentions—but with a desperate need that could destroy humanity. “The Giftie Gie Us” is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, in which two lonely survivors find love amon
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first story in a collection usually sets the tone for the entire anthology, so a little sad that I didn't care for The Price of Survival. It was a little too science fiction-y for my tastes. Thankfully, the rest of the collection was more to my liking!

The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment was an interesting take on the when-does-life-begin question. And I really loved the ending, which I didn't see coming at all. Love when that happens!

One of my favorite stories was Clean Slate, about
GMCL Temecula
(A Kindle copy of this book was provided to me by NetGalley for review purposes. This review is essentially the same as the one I posted there.)

I've read and enjoyed Zahn's Quadrail and Dragonback series, so I had high expectations going in, and I was not disappointed. I'd even say that I prefer his short stories over his novels, even thought the Dragonback books in particular have a special place in my heart.

Zahn is best known for his space operas and sci-fi (particularly the novels he wrote fo
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Part of my extremely positive opinion is finishing the last page of this collection while listening to the most triumphant part of this Shostakovich suite I played almost most recently with other people. (It is a collection of tunes from The Gadfly.) I was so excited about it that I haven't bothered to fix the messed up pagecount tally.

I liked the editor's decision to close the collection with the title story, to build the reader's anticipation. I think my favourite tale of the others in this c
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Publisher: Open Road

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9781504016209

Genre: SciFI/Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: The pieces included in Pawn’s Gambit range from the adventure science fiction Timothy Zahn is famous for to post-apocalyptic tales and humorous fantasy. In “The Price of Survival,” an alien ship arrives in our solar system without hostile intentions—but with a desperate need that could destroy humanity. “The Giftie Gie Us” is set in
Grigory Lukin
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timothy Zahn's short story anthology is mostly great, with stories like "The Price of Survival," "Cascade Point," "Protocol" and "Pawn's Gambit" showing off some beautiful, hard science fiction. (All three take place in space, which just happens to be my favorite topic.)

On the other hand, there are some stories where main characters are two-dimensional cutouts with lower-than-average intelligence. They seem to be more like moral parables than the science fiction today's reader is used to. "Hitme
Ralph Blackburn
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pawn's Gambit and Other Stratagems by Timothy Zhan- This is a short story collection by an author more recognized for his novel output, especially his Star Wars related material, but this in no way lessens his short-form output's quality or relevance. Yes, some of these stories may be a little dated, but good story-telling never goes out of fashion. In the title story, "Pawn's Gambit", a kidnapped man must form an alliance to save the Human Race. A fine tale nominated for a Hugo. In "The Giftie ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a versatile collection of short stories and a novella, and for those who haven't had much experience with Timothy Zahn's work, it will offer you a glimpse into his creative mind.

The stories in this book vary in length and subject matter from dark to funny to just strange, but in a good way. This author has a way of making the impossible seem believable and makes it fun for the reader. If you like sci-fi, this makes a great sampler.

I got a kick out of the endings of some of these storie
William Bentrim
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pawn's Gambit by Timothy Zahn

Zahn frequently poses questions on social issues. This book of short stories, almost novelettes, has some stories that make you think. Cascade Point or The Giftie Gie may have been my favorites of the book.

Giftie Gie points out the disabilities or differences are often used to discriminate when the differences are often self imposed. I really enjoyed the interplay between Neil and Heather. The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment gave some thought to the ramifica
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a collection of fifteen short stories including the author's 1984 Hugo winning novella "Cascade Point." There is skillful writing in each story he has written. This will be a treat to read to newcomers of this author and will delight his fans. These are not "current" stories but are written in the 1980/90's. Science fiction is not always what you think it will be. I know some folks don't like some of the stories in this collection. I would like to think that if you read science fiction ...more
Casey Wheeler
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a kindle edition of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher with the understanding that I would write a review and post it on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, my blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I have read a number of novels by Timothy Zahn and always found that his books have been engaging and fast reads. This one was comparable to the previous works I have read.

This book is a series of short stories from the author's early career addressing a number
Kathleen Townsend
Pawn’s Gambit: And Other Stratagems is a collection of short stories and novellas, one of which won a Hugo Award, by Timothy Zahn. All have appeared elsewhere before being compiled into this book, with publishing dates ranging from 1981 to 2014. So, if you read a lot of his work chances are you’ll have come across at least a few of these before.

I’ve never read any of Timothy Zahn’s work before, and I’m tempted to read more of his work now. The stories were all written rather well – very easy to
Jack Graham
Full disclosure, I received this book as a free giveaway on Goodreads.

Timothy Zahn is a well known name amoung Science Fiction readers. But this is the first time actually reading something by him, instead of about him.

15 short stories giving the reader a great deal of how Timothy is able to set up the world and tell a story simultaneously. The stories themselves are all very different but have two comon elements. There is a problem that must be solved right now, and there is more to the solutio
Susan Krich
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a Goodreads book.
There are 15 short stories . They are science fiction and fantasy. These are not genres that I would usually pick for myself.I wanted to read this book because these 2 genres are favorites of my grandson.
It took a lot of concentration to read the first story because when I read, I hear the words in my mind and the names I was almost unable to pronounce. The stories that were not space stories were very good. I especially enjoyed numbers 6 and 11.
In any compilation there
Janet Sketchley
Quirky and clever short stories from respected science fiction author Timothy Zahn, including his Hugo-winning novella, Cascade Point. Of the 15 stories, I’d already read 5 in previous collections of the author’s work. The others were new to me, but all have been previously published in book or magazine format.

Content ranges from aliens to post-apocolyptic to speculative to fantasy, and as the word “strategems” in the title implies, there’s often a puzzle that needs solving if the character is t
John Wheeles
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overall the stories contained in this anthology were well written and entertaining. However, one story was particularly difficult because it used linguistic slang, from an alien language. Just to be clear, I am multi-lingual but still found this alien slang very distracting. Omission of the title is deliberate, so as to not influence your possible enjoyment of this short. The final eight shorts make choosing a favorite particularly difficult. Get a copy, settle into your favorite chair, and be p ...more
This book is full of fun and unusual short stories. I am not a sci-fi fan and some of the jargon went over my head. I am sure this impacted the way I felt reading the stories. However, some of the ones that were not heavy on the unusal terms were very good. I particularly liked "The Giftie Gie Us" I enjoy dystopian books and this short story fit that genre, with a cool sci-fi twist at the end.

I won this book in Goodreads giveaway, but the opinion was all my own.

Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was everything I've come to expect from Zahn. The titular story in particular was extremely well-written and the dilemma well thought out. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian
  • Straying From the Path
  • A Stark and Wormy Knight
  • The Ape's Wife and Other Stories
  • Foundling Witch (Diary of Anna the Girl Witch, #1)
  • The Child
  • Instant Frontier Family (Frontier Bachelors, #4)
  • John the Balladeer (Silver John)
  • The Last Defender of Camelot
  • The Pig Comes to Dinner
  • The Ones (The Ones, #1)
  • Out of the Ashes
  • The Fat Artist and Other Stories
  • Footsteps in the Sky
  • Salvation Lake (Leo Waterman, #9)
  • Word Puppets
  • A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters
  • Are You Still There
Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more
More about Timothy Zahn

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Gold-Son
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Regulars
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Childhood's End
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Mirror
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates)
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Raven's Peak (World on Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Swords and Deviltry (Lankhmar, 1)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dracula [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Stinger
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost Voices
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Isle of Blood and Stone
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Spirit Hunters
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Haven (War of the Princes, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Brilliance (Brilliance Saga, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Act Two (Cirque des Immortels, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Better World (Brilliance Saga, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Written in Fire (Brilliance Saga, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Final Act (Cirque des Immortels, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Secret of the Sirens (The Companions Quartet, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Siren
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ocean of Storms
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (Shannara, #1-3)
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Artful
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chains of Command (Frontlines, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Angles of Attack (Frontlines, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Lines of Departure (Frontlines, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Into the Dim
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Kull: Exile of Atlantis
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Fury (Blur Trilogy #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Gears of War  Aspho Fields
    $11.99 $1.99
  • City
    $7.99 $1.99
  • You Suck (A Love Story, #2)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Chocolate Touch
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Storm (Elemental, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mama Day
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Infinite
    $5.99 $2.49
  • Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Mermaid's Sister
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Boundary Born (Boundary Magic, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Kissed by Darkness (Sunwalker Saga, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Blood Kissed (Lizzie Grace, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Celia and the Fairies
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Last One
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Genesis
    $11.99 $1.99
  • To Honor You Call Us (Man of War, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Wool: The Graphic Novel
    $7.99 $2.99
  • And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Ticker
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard (Barsk, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Concealed (Lakewood, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99