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Necromancer

(Childe Cycle #2)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,553 ratings  ·  70 reviews
aka No Room for Man
Throughout the Fourteen Worlds of humanity, no race is as feared and respected as the Dorsai. The ultimate warriors, they are known for their deadly rages, unbreakable honor, and fierce independence. No man rules the Dorsai, but their mastery of the art has made them the most valuable mercenaries in the known universe.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 15th 1998 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1962)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,553 ratings  ·  70 reviews


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Stephen
Oct 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-space-opera
3.5 stars. Chronologically, this is the first book in Dickson's Childe Cycle though it was written after the Hugo Award winning Dorsai!. I was really torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one as it had some really amazing ideas and was very well written. Unfortunately, I thought the plot was a little slow and the period between great ideas/revelations dragged a bit.

That said, I would still recommend reading this as it is a fairly short book and provides some very worthwhile insight into the univers
...more
Jacob
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, vintage-scifi
Truly enjoyed reading this book for Vintage SciFi Month! Felt the action was well paced and the story engaging and enjoyable.
Jim
Dec 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
There isn't much action in this book compared to the rest of the series & the philosophy is a bit weird, but the observations about society are fantastic. In some very interesting examples, he points out the craziness that happens when a society has everything it needs & no longer has to focus on survival. Sound familiar? It is. Amazingly so. There's also a brief look at what happens when a computer runs a society. Very interesting & worthwhile reading, even if you don't read any other book in t ...more
Rowena Tylden-Pattenson
I am not really sure what I just finished.

I didn't enjoy this really, in any sense. I have this feeling that Dickson was trying to do something big and grand with this, but it just mostly passed right over my head. It made just under 200 pages feel more like 600, and took me longer to finish than a 600 page novel too!

With the plot, not much really seemed to happen, and when it did, it was a bit disjointed. Mostly things get metaphysical and philosophical very quickly, which put me off a bit- esp
...more
Michael
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not how I expected the intial Childe Cycle book to go... it could have been a great book, but it's weighed down by Dickson's use of parapsychological / philosophical goobledegook that chases its own tail into incoherence. ...more
Mitchell
Wow. That was weirder than I remembered. This was a really early book for Dickson to have written in the Childe Cycle. It would have worked better if he had written it in order hence writing it later. As such it kind of overreached in terms of what the Chantry Guild could do at this point. Well at least from what I remembered. This book was also unevenly paced. And our main pov character Paul in some way doesn't do much. And still with the occasional token female character. And lots of philosoph ...more
Christopher Sutch
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book because it's mainly a philosophical novel in which most of the action takes place (appropriate to its subject matter) "off stage." It's a novel of ideas not action. This disappointed me when I first read it 25 years ago, but I can appreciate it better now (and after having read it in its proper relation to _Dorsai!_: AFTER that novel, not before it). It's important to the overall arc of Dickson's Childe Cycle, but not a necessary novel to the understanding of the Cycle a ...more
prcardi
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 4/5
World: 5/5

Some writers simply function on a different plane of existence. There, the mechanics of worldbuilding, the requirements of anticipation and climax, and the function of characters all work differently in a novel. Gordon R. Dickson compiled this book on whatever plane he operated on and then brought it over to the reader. The work survived the shift, and we get a delightfully bizarre work.

This reminds me a lot of (view spoiler)
...more
Scott
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I'd just finished Dorsai! and was eager to read more about the protagonist, so imagine my disappointment when I realized that Necromancer took me back several centuries to a more mundane Earth.

Normally, stories spread across immense timelines work to establish some common thread, however tenuous it may be. For example, the main character of one work may be the great, great, great uncle of a side character in another work. These connections, I think, are important in helping the reader re-orient
...more
Stuart McMillan
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Reread, some 35 years later as part of a look at the Childe cycle.

This was the first one I read when I was about 15, setting the scene for an attraction to the world of the Dorsai that stayed with me long enough that I felt I had to reread it a whole generation later.

Like the earlier 'Genetic General' there's an awful lot of empty space in this novel that we're invited to fill-in with our imagination. This is what makes it all a bit weird as, with the following books the gaps are all filled in.

A
...more
William Bryant
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Necromancer follows the fortunes of Paul Formain, a mining engineer in the late 21st century who endures several accidents. His quest for self-discovery, and recovery from losing his arm, leads him to embrace the Chantry Guild (the Fight Club of science fiction). The Guild embraces a philosophy of destruction with the hope of making space for the rise of a new evolutionary form of humanity (kinda like Tyler Durden's philosophy). What they use to achieve their goals are the Alternate Laws or Alte ...more
astaliegurec
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gordon R. Dickson's 1962 novel "Necromancer (Childe Cycle Book 2)" straddles the line between science fiction and fantasy. There's a lot of parapsychology or perhaps the occult in the book (which isn't really surprising given what Dickson's setting up here). As with the first book of the series, "Dorsai! (Childe Cycle Book 1)," I'd read it multiple times before this, with the last reading being around 30 years ago, and enjoyed it. But, since it was written back in the 1960s, it carries a lot of ...more
Sirbooksage
3.5 stars. This is an odd book, far more a metaphysical, philosophical, look at human society and the impact of a life of comfort, through all-encompassing technology, and the splintering impact it can have upon society. While the 2nd book in the Childe Cycle books of the Dorsai, the events in this predate the rest of the Dorsai books in that this deals with Humanity on Earth before they went out among the stars and splintered into vastly different groups. Dickson tackles a lot of ideas here, so ...more
Bill
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Baffling, but a necessary step along the path

After beginning with a fairly straightforward description of a mining accident set in the future, Book 2 of Gordon Dickson’s Childe Cycle then shifts from one incomprehensible scene to another. The whole book is like a mad hallucination, but I don’t think it was intended to make sense on its own. Rather, it serves as a way of setting up the plot for the rest of the Cycle yet to come.
Wilson
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed the twists & turns I did not see. Not at all like the preceding book, ie set near present day with science fiction elements but was set far in the past relative to the first book. The action progresses similarly to the first book meaning it advanced quickly and without preamble. I went into this blind and I enjoyed it but it might have been better had I prepared myself. The ending was spooky and hailed back to the first book. Ready for more.
Leon Rogson
Expected a warrior

Too much Deus ex machina, both real and mythical. Incomplete plot, but interesting premise. Not based on tactics, but on enlightenment of the obscure kind we cannot reach.
Barry Beaven
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Makes sense of the series

Next book in series having re read in eBook for first time in many years. More of a novella in sequence in the form of prequel.
Lots of deep human questions and little action but needed explanations of later events.
Brian Chafin
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Read only if you are a completionist and a fan of Dickson’s Childe Cycle. With little character or plot development, this book doesn’t stand on its own. It also isn’t truly necessary for the Childe Cycle, although it does elaborate on some of the series’ themes.
John
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting plot development and interpretation of magic in a modern setting. It is a very good book, but I was not aware that is was the second in a series at the time of reading it. So I have to go back to read the previous book.
Tony Perry
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read the Dorsai series (Childe Cycle) many years ago, but I think at the time of that first reading I had missed the significance of Necromacer. It is in fact a very important piece in describing the germination of the Dorsai universe.
Erik Wennermark
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 I thought this was absolutely brilliant... until the end, which seemed forced and not worthy of the story.
Kasey S
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The reason I started being a huge fan of Gordon Dickson.
Dara Tohill
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Had some interesting parts but other than them was nothing but cheap over the top sci-fi scenarios
Marsha Valance
A novel of the Dorsai. A Science Fiction Book Club selection.
Michael J
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and thought provoking, a good read.
Sandmancpp
Jun 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
The book was tedious. The first book wasn't great, but this one was a chore to read. Based on the first two books, I will not read the rest of the series. ...more
Gabriel Clarke
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Hmm. After the (by today's standards) atrocious Dorsai, I had low expectations. I certainly wasn't expecting an early sixties existential SF novel in the vein of Alfred Bester (though lacking the stylistic pyrotechnics) or even Dick. Other reviewers have described it as filling in the plot holes of the Dorsai sequence but there's something more philosophical and ambitious going on here, even if it doesn't entirely succeed. There's also one of the most interesting unintentionally hilarious "token ...more
Douglas Debner
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book to review because it isn't your standard sci fi. So difficult, in fact, that I took a look at another review to see what others were saying about it.

The one other review I looked at proclaimed this a prequel to Dorsai! instead of being book 2 in the series as it is listed on Goodreads. That is an understandable mistake because the proof that this isn't a prequel only comes at the end and only in subtle reference to Dorsai! which I probably would have missed had I not re
...more
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Good enough - almost VanVogt and a Superman

It should be read before Dorsai, as it recounts facts happening on Earth before the splinterong of the cultures.
A bit slow at the beginning, and we watch Paul Tremain growth in spirit.
He approaches the Chantry Guild wishing To be able to gronw a new arm, because he lost one in a mine accident.
Freatiche accident which he barely survived. Then he reads about this Guild and the Alternate Laws, which account for all people gifted with artistical capabiliti
...more
Al Datum
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read Necromancer because it's the first book in the Dorsai series, and I truly loved Dorsai when I first read it (I love military sci-fi). I have to say that Necromancer was nothing like Dorsai, and I probably would have put it down if it wasn't necessary as a beginning to the series.

The book just didn't catch me, and as I write this I find that I have almost no memory of the book (I remember the coal car where the main character lost his arm, and I remember that he was supposed to somehow ope
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Necromancer (Childe Cycle #2) by Gordon R. Dickson 3 14 Jan 20, 2019 12:17PM  

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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.

Other books in the series

Childe Cycle (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Dorsai! (Childe Cycle, #1)
  • Soldier, Ask Not (Childe Cycle, #3)
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • Spirit of Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #5)
  • Lost Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #6)
  • The Final Encyclopedia (Childe Cycle, #7)
  • 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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