Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by LGN5, Aug 16, 2012.
Is it necessary to read the Retief novels in order?
Not necessary, but better.
Probably not "necessary", but I'd advise it; in fact, if memory serves, the original appearance was in a series of short stories, and I'd begin there (I seem to recall "Retief of the Red Tape Mountain" as the very first, but don't quote me).
The problem with the series is that it's a one-trick pony, and can get tedious as one sees the same "trick" over and over; funny when fresh, but then . . . .
Retief is a character created by Keith Laumer (of Bolo fame). He is a super-diplomat. Roughly similar SF characters are Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry and Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan.
That doesn't do it justice.
The Retief stories are parodies of diplomacy, with Retief as a maverick who actually gets things done, usually in a very, um, forceful way, saving the day while his superiors are twiddling and fiddling.
When you start on them, they seem savagely funny, but, as I said above, it's kind of a one-trick pony thing. One is put in mind of what someone once said about the composer Vivaldi: He didn't write 600 concertos, he wrote one concerto 600 times.
Separate names with a comma.