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Thread: Retief Question

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    Retief Question

    Is it necessary to read the Retief novels in order?

  2. #2
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    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 . . . .

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    Registered User Pennarin's Avatar
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    What's Retief?

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    Earthman1
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    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.

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    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    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.

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