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The Human Edge [Mass Market Paperback]

Gordon R. Dickson , James Baen
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 25 2003
A master of science fiction examines what happens when powerful aliens meet puny humans--with results ranging from chilling to utterly hilarious. Getting along in the Universe can be tricky, but those monkey-boys and girls from Earth can get pretty feisty themselves when the situation calls for it. And if you bet on the side of the mighty alien armadas that have conquered half the galaxy, you might end up losing, as you've overlooked the winning human edge....

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Product Description

Review

"Dickson is one of science fiction's standard-bearers."

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Human Edge is a collection of twelve stories of various lengths by the author. The subject and title were initially suggested by Jim Baen, but the selections were made by Hank Davis. These twelve stories were originally published during the period from 1957 to 1969, but I have read (and enjoyed) most to them in anthologies or in the author's previous collections. However, insofar as I am aware, none are currently in print elsewhere.
The first story sets the theme, for "Danger - Human" (1957) vividly points out that there is more to mankind than meets the eye. "Sleight of Wit" (1961) is a classic con game in strange circumstances. "In the Bone" (1966) gets down to the basics. "3-Part Puzzle" (1962) teaches a lesson about stereotyping. "An Ounce of Emotion" (1965) refutes the idea that advanced technology instills rationality. "Brother Charlie" (1958) continues the lesson on intelligence versus rationality.
"The Game of Five" (1960) is a companion piece to the novel Spacial Delivery, where a Consul drafts someone to complete a task and gets more than he expected. "Tiger Green" (1965) is a story of a terrible misunderstanding on the part of an alien society. "The Hard Way" (1963) is actually a longer story and has been published as a short novel; the story is another variant of the theme of "3-Part Puzzle", but this time the aliens have never found any peers. "Jackal's Meal" (1969) recapitulates a theme by Kipling. "On Messenger Mountain" (1964), the longest story, is about versatility and instrumentality. "The Catch" (1959) is about the perils of competency.
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By SlanFan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The first review of this book is written by somebody who obviously hasn't read or even seen the book, breaking the first rule of reviewing. "Kkahle" also breaks the second rule of reviewing by not knowing what he or she is talking about. Specificially: The Human Edge is a collection of short stories by Gordon R. Dickson, all with the theme of human/alien conflict, with the humans coming out on top, often against overwhelming odds, and all the stories were written well before the author's Death in January 2001. Furthermore, Gordon R. Dickson had no wife, so none of his books were finished by his (non-existent) wife after his death. (Is this reviewer thinking of some other writer?) Kkahle closes his/her non-review with the words "Be careful." Anyone who reads any other review by Kkahle definitely should follow that warning--but about Kkahle's reviews. As for the book, it is a generous helping of stories by a science fiction master, and the longest of them, "On Messenger Mountain," is, in my opinion, one of the best stories Dickson ever penned. If you're a Dickson fan, or just an sf fan, unless you have managed to collect the magazines in which these stories originally appeared, this book is a must-buy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clarification- not a rating. I haven't read it. Feb. 2 2004
By Marilyn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Just to clarify the above review, if you check the Baen Books website, you will find that this title is a reprint of short stories originally published in the 50's and 60's in various SF magazines. It is not written by a ghost writer but is a chance for readers to enjoy old favorites or find new ones if they weren't around back then. Unfortunately, this program requires me to rate the book and I haven't read it yet. I just didn't want it to die on the vine because of previously given faulty information.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Writer Jan. 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The real Gordon R. Dickson is dead. This is a ghostwriter. It looks pretty good. If Gordon R. Dickson did write this, it must have been before this year. Maybe his wife finished the rest of the book(?) It has been know that his wife did help him write some of his books (i.e. part of The Dragon and The Gnarly King). Technically, though, Dickson has been dead since the middle of last year. It could be as good as Gordon R. Dickson style, but it could also be different if it is a ghostwriter. Be careful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Introduction to Various Facets of Gordon Dickson March 19 2004
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Human Edge (2003) is a collection of twelve stories of various lengths by the author. The subject and title were initially suggested by Jim Baen, but the selections were made by Hank Davis. These twelve stories were originally published during the period from 1957 to 1969, but I have read (and enjoyed) most to them in anthologies or in the author's previous collections. However, insofar as I am aware, none are currently in print elsewhere.

The first story sets the theme, for "Danger - Human" (1957) vividly points out that there is more to mankind than meets the eye. "Sleight of Wit" (1961) is a classic con game in strange circumstances. "In the Bone" (1966) gets down to the basics. "3-Part Puzzle" (1962) teaches a lesson about stereotyping. "An Ounce of Emotion" (1965) refutes the idea that advanced technology instills rationality. "Brother Charlie" (1958) continues the lesson on intelligence versus rationality.

"The Game of Five" (1960) is a companion piece to the novel Spacial Delivery, where a Consul drafts someone to complete a task and gets more than he expected. "Tiger Green" (1965) is a story of a terrible misunderstanding on the part of an alien society. "The Hard Way" (1963) is actually a longer story and has been published as a short novel; the story is another variant of the theme of "3-Part Puzzle", but this time the aliens have never found any peers. "Jackal's Meal" (1969) recapitulates a theme by Kipling. "On Messenger Mountain" (1964), the longest story, is about versatility and instrumentality. "The Catch" (1959) is about the perils of competency.

The author is chauvinistic about humanity and more than a litte mystical in these stories. Of course, you should know these tendencies if you have read his works. While aliens herein are mostly used as foils for the competent humans, the author has also created a few alien characters in other works that were worthy partners, and sometimes mentors, for humanity.

The author often portrays human characters whose performance exceeds their accepted limits. He contends that genetics can strenghten human talents and introduce new ones and that such talents can be better trained. However, the author usually extends this argument beyond reasonable bounds and then presents various reactions that such superior abilities might produce in human (and alien) society.

Highly recommended for Dickson fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of daring and cunning exploits, with occasional humor.

-Arthur W. Jordin
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Science Fiction Shorts... March 26 2007
By Travis Estes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great compilation of stories envolving Humans interacting with alien races. The overall theme of this book is that humans have an ingrained advantage over aliens. In each story takes a unique aproach to this overall theme. I highly recomend this book, it's a great book to read when you have a little time to kill as it's not to heavy a read, and you can finish a story in one sitting fairly easily. I won't go into any of the stories as I don't want to spoil it. In summary, you should buy this, the stories are memorable and well written. A great addition to anyones library of SF...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Now for my next trick May 25 2007
By Gunner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Human Edge

The Human Edge (2003) by Gordon R. Dickson is a collection of short stories selected by Hank Davis which includes:

Danger-Human (1957)

Sleight of Wit (1961)

In The Bone (1966)

3-Part Puzzle (1962)

An Ounce of Emotion (1965)

Brother Charlie (1958)

The Game of Five (1960)

Tiger Green (1965)

The Hard Way (1963)

Jackal's Meal (1969)

On Messenger Mountain (1964)

The Catch (1959)

Highly recommended for Dickson aficionados

Gunner May,2007
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC FICTION Jan. 6 2012
By 88 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having had only limited exposure of Dickson before reading this, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of all of the stories. Adventure scifi is my favorite and Dickson excels in creating mini worlds, plots and characters that are believable and great fun. Each story offers hope for humanity in the millenia to come. I highly recommend this book.

I only wish Baen Publishing would stop the annoying habit of placing horrific cover art on their books. The pictures on most of their books in general, and for this book in particular, have no reference to any story in this excellent book and may dissuade readers away.
4.0 out of 5 stars Clarification- not a rating. I haven't read it. Feb. 2 2004
By Marilyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Just to clarify the above review, if you check the Baen Books website, you will find that this title is a reprint of short stories originally published in the 50's and 60's in various SF magazines. It is not written by a ghost writer but is a chance for readers to enjoy old favorites or find new ones if they weren't around back then. Unfortunately, this program requires me to rate the book and I haven't read it yet. I just didn't want it to die on the vine because of previously given faulty information.
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