History Creator / GordonRDickson

21st Nov '16 7:12:01 PM PaulA
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* AIIsACrapshoot: In "And Then There Was Peace", a robot has been made that is programmed to destroy all implements of war. [[spoiler:This turns out to include the people who fight.]]
* AllAnimalsAreDogs: Averted in the novel ''Wolf and Iron''. In the forward, the author relates that the original short story had the titular wolf acting like a dog. A reviewer gave him grief about it, so when he expanded it to a novel he made the wolf more, uh, wolflike.
* BearsAreBadNews: A set of three novellas was collected into ''The Right to Arm Bears''. The Dilbians, bear-like natives of the planet Dilbia, have ThePlan as their hat.
* CapturedSuperEntity: Inverted in "Danger--Human!", where alien scientists are studying a captured human.
* CityOnTheWater: ''Home From the Shore''.
* ComputerizedJudicialSystem: Played for black comedy in "Computers Don't Argue", set in a society where all record-keeping is computerized. A filing error transforms a minor civil dispute over a book into a major criminal prosecution over the alleged [[{{Literature/Kidnapped}} kidnapping of Robert Louis Stevenson]].



* DogsAreDumb: In ''The Magnificent Wilf'', the hero's Great Dane is given the ability to talk by aliens. Examples of things it says are as follows: "Love Tom. Love Lucy [his owners]. Love Love Love Love." "Play? Frisbee? Play?" "Ow! Flea! Bite flea! Bite Bite Bite Bite Bite. Crunch flea. Aaaahhh."
* GreatEscape: In "Danger--Human!", aliens abduct a human space traveler and place him in an inescapable prison so they can study him and learn about his species. By the end of the story, he has found a way to escape the inescapable prison.



* TheHiddenHour: "Zeepsday" is about an alien race that shows humanity that there is an eighth day in the week.
* HughMann: In ''The Alien Way'', an alien tries to secretly land on Earth and disguises himself to infiltrate a military facility. Actually he looks like a partially shaved flat-muzzled bear in a rough approximation of human clothing, and the only reason he has any success in fooling the people he meets is that they knew he was coming and are luring him into a trap.
* HumansAreCthulhu:
** "[[http://www.baen.com/Chapters/0743471741/0743471741___1.htm Danger -- Human!]]". The various alien species of the galaxy have records reaching back to a particular point in history, where a terrible catastrophe whose nature is now lost to the ages wiped out nearly everything. The only surviving records include a map indicating Earth with the note indicating extreme danger. A research group eventually decides to capture a lone ordinary human, under the tightest possible security that they can muster, to study and perhaps figure out why. [[spoiler:As one can probably guess when exposed to this treatment the human in question snaps. He manages to overcome all of their security measures through human ingenuity. He steals a starship and is last seen on a course back to Earth. The head researcher realizes what's going to happen next and despairs.]]
** "The Monster and the Maiden". The "monster" is a scuba diver. The "maiden's" home is beneath the surface of [[StockNessMonster Loch Ness]].
* HumansAreSpecial:
** ''The Human Edge'' is an entire collection of short stories playing variations on this theme.
** "Danger--Human!", the story that opens the collection, featured aliens who have captured a human for study. During previous eons, humans have been found to be responsible for the destruction of galactic civilization, multiple times, and the aliens wanted to find out what trait or stimulus caused this change, in order to prevent it. Multiple security precautions are used including a sealed chamber, constant surveillance, and a single exit guarded by a 20-foot-high force field that only turns off for a short period of time during certain parts of the day. In the end, the human character, who has been repeatedly vivisected, psychoanalyzed, and generally given a rough time, snaps. He manages to escape his chamber, evade all surveillance, and somehow pass through or above the force field, completely unaffected by it. He then hijacks a nearby interstellar cargo vessel and heads back to Earth. The aliens are all suddenly feeling an existential dread as they realize that they have just provided humanity with the reason and the means to destroy galactic civilization once again.



* LogicBomb: In "The Monkey Wrench", a man attempts to shut down a meteorologic arctic station just for bragging rights. He is able to do so by prompting a paradox to the machine, making it incapable of doing anything than computing the paradox. Ironically, this condemns him and his partner to freeze to death, as all the vital controls of the station were provided by the machine.
* PostApocalypticDog: The hero of ''Wolf and Iron'' makes friends with an actual wolf. After being scolded by a wolf biologist who read the original short story, Dickson worked hard to make the wolf wolf-like and ''not'' dog-like, so it's not a perfect fit for the trope. Unusually, the apocalypse is an economic collapse rather than a physical or military disaster.
* PunyEarthlings: In ''Spacial Delivery'', the two alien races who come into play are both giants compared to humans. A member of the species who act as the antagonists of the story (enormous beings from a high-gravity planet) once showed up to the Olympic Games on Earth and casually proceeded to break several human track and field records in quick succession without even trying, just to show his contempt.
* RedBaron: In ''Spacial Delivery'', the Dilbians are a culture of bear-like aliens who give everyone epithets. The most badass member of the race is known as "One Man"...as in "one man army."
* ScaramangaSpecial: From ''Hilifter'' (1963):
-->''Whistling a little mournfully, he began to make the next best use of his pile of property. He unscrewed the nib and cap of his long, gold fountain pen, took out the ink cartridge, and laid the tube remaining aside. He removed his belt, and the buckle from the belt. The buckle, it appeared, clipped on to the fountain pen tube in somewhat the manner of a pistol grip. He reached in his mouth, removed a bridge covering from the second premolar to the second molar, and combined this with a small metal throwaway dispenser of the sort designed to contain antacid tablets. The two together had a remarkable resemblance to the magazine and miniaturized trigger assembly of a small handgun; and when he attached them to the buckle-fountain-pen-tube combination the resemblance became so marked as to be practically inarguable.''



* TailorMadePrison: In "Danger--Human!", the aliens construct an escape-proof cell, consisting of metal physical enclosures, an impenetrable force field, constant armed surveillance, and access only for carefully monitored brief periods to provide food and water, to study a human they abduct to try and find out why humans kept conquering the galaxy. He escapes.



* UrsineAliens: The Dilbians.

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* TimeAndRelativeDimensionsInSpace: In ''Time Storm'', time travel is used deliberately for space travel.
* {{Unishment}}: In "Zeepsday", a human is placed on trial in a galactic court for insulting an alien. He is found guilty and sentenced to be "confined" by his fiancée for a year, with all expenses paid by the insulted alien. The judge recommends they spend the year at a very expensive vacation spot.
* UrsineAliens: The Dilbians.In the stories collected in ''The Right to Arm Bears'', the Dilbians are described as intelligent grizzly bears. They're noted for being good-humored and good-natured {{Gentle Giant}}s.


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* YouAreNotAlone: "Steel Brother". A young man is alone running a robotic outpost in space to guard against the alien enemy. He can't face the fear until [[spoiler:after he fails in battle and finally surrenders his mind to the computer memory banks where he discovers that the past (deceased) commander of the post left him a message, the same one every member of the corps leaves for his successor, "You are not alone, all along the frontier there is one of us standing guard, even if you die, another will take your place"]].
21st Nov '16 5:28:53 PM PaulA
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* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Dickson loved this trope. If there are humans and aliens in the story, there's definitely ValuesDissonance and misunderstanding, often very deep. [[HumansThroughAlienEyes For both sides.]] It even happens between humans from different planets. How successful, convincing or realistic those systems of values were, is... ''very'' debatable.



* HumansAreSpecial / HumanityIsSuperior: If the setting has humans against aliens, humans always win. Often just because they are oh so awesome. In more reasonable works they win by being [[{{Determinator}} very persistent]].
21st Nov '16 5:27:52 PM PaulA
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** Occasionally subverted, like in ''The Odd Ones'' short story. Aliens ascribe different disgusting ideas to humans, up to and beyond HumanResources, but in the end humans prove quite nice from their point of view, and all visible oddities stem from having two sexes.


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* HumansThroughAlienEyes: In "The Odd Ones" short story, aliens ascribe different disgusting ideas to humans, up to and beyond HumanResources, but in the end humans prove quite nice from their point of view, and all visible oddities stem from having two sexes.
13th Dec '15 9:51:49 AM Graybeard
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* WorldOfChaos: The whole theme of his novel ''Time Storm'', in which the eponymous storms can change a locale's time frame by thousands of years or more as they pass.
13th Dec '15 9:51:49 AM Graybeard
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10th Oct '15 7:01:57 AM tkzv
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* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Dickson loved this trope. If there are humans and aliens in the story, there's definitely ValuesDissonance and misunderstanding, often very deep. [[HumansThroughAlienEyes For both sides.]] It even happens between humans from different planets. How successful, convincing or realistic those systems of values were, is... ''very'' debatable.
** Occasionally subverted, like in ''The Odd Ones'' short story. Aliens ascribe different disgusting ideas to humans, up to and beyond HumanResources, but in the end humans prove quite nice from their point of view, and all visible oddities stem from having two sexes.
31st Dec '14 7:04:11 PM tkzv
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* TechnologyUplift: Discussed in ''Wolfling'', where mankind meets an interstellar empire of HumanAliens. Every High-Born (a member of the ruling race) receives enough education to uplift a stone-age planet to the imperial level.
31st Dec '14 6:47:36 PM tkzv
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* LaserBlade: In ''Wolfling'' the preferred weapon of High-Born (haughty, but highly advanced Human Aliens ruling an interstellar empire) are hand-sized "pipes" that project an energy beam, length of which can be varied during fight.
27th Jul '14 2:22:59 AM tkzv
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* {{Heavyworlder}}: In a short story, which adds an uncommon corollary: things fall faster (or rather, accelerate at a higher rate) on a high-gravity world. One alien from such a world is somewhat stronger, but much faster, because falling over on such a planet is a ''bad'' idea and being able to catch falling things is usually helpful too.

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* {{Heavyworlder}}: In a ''Hour of the Horde'' and some short story, which adds stories add an uncommon corollary: on a high-gravity world things fall faster (or rather, accelerate at a (because of higher rate) on a high-gravity world. One alien acceleration). A HumanoidAlien from such a world is somewhat stronger, but much faster, because falling over on such a planet is a ''bad'' idea and being able to catch falling things is usually helpful too.
29th Jun '14 12:07:51 AM tkzv
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* SuperweaponSurprise: In a short story, an aggressive alien race discovers Earth by analysis of floating space debris and launches a covert surveillance mission as a prelude to invasion. Sadly for the aliens, they discover that the humans not only know about them, they used the alien mission as a tool to psychologically profile the would-be conquerors and find out all about ''their'' civilization and military capabilities.

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* HumansAreSpecial / HumanityIsSuperior: If the setting has humans against aliens, humans always win. Often just because they are oh so awesome. In more reasonable works they win by being [[{{Determinator}} very persistent]].
* SuperweaponSurprise: In a short story, ''The Alien Way'', an aggressive alien race discovers Earth by analysis of floating space debris and launches a covert surveillance mission as a prelude to invasion. Sadly for the aliens, they discover that the humans not only know about them, they used the alien mission as a tool to psychologically profile the would-be conquerors and find out all about ''their'' civilization and military capabilities.capabilities. Then humans sent a message about how they've deceived the aliens, together with images of spaceships ready to strike the alien homeworld and an offer of peace.
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