The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Childe Cycle (also known as the Dorsai Cycle) of novels and stories actually begins with Necromancer, in the later part of the twenty-first century, on an Earth ruled cautiously by the computers of the World Complex. Paul Formain, a one-armed mining engineer, resolves a stalemate between Kirk Tyne, head engineer of the World Complex, and Walter Blunt, head of the Chantry Guild. The Guild seeks the violent overthrow of the technocracy headed by Tyne. Formain manages to wrest control of the Guild from Blunt and send the human race out to the stars, something neither Tyne nor Blunt wanted.

The Tactics of Mistake takes place a century later, after the human race has settled Mars and Venus as well as thirteen other planets—called the Younger Worlds—orbiting seven other star systems. Cletus Grahame, a military genius from the planet Dorsai, pits himself against one of the most powerful men on Earth, Dow deCastries. Grahame wins the conflict, thus gaining independence from Earth for the Younger Worlds.

By the time of Soldier, Ask Not, in the late twenty-third century, the human race has fragmented into specialized types, called Splinter Cultures. The three main types are the Men of War (Dorsai), who live on Dorsai; the Men of Faith (Friendlies), who live on Harmony and Association; and the Men of Philosophy (Exotics), who live on Kultis and Mara. Helping to link all the Younger Worlds together are the members of the Interstellar News Ser-vices, including Tam Olyn. After seeing his brother-in-law killed in cold blood by a Friendly mercenary, Olyn embarks on a vendetta against Harmony and Association. When he is thwarted, Olyn returns to Earth, eventually to take over the directorship of the Final Encyclopedia, a gigantic information storage system orbiting the Mother Planet.

Dorsai! also takes place during the late twenty-third century. It is...

(The entire section is 781 words.)