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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wolf and Iron by Gordon R. Dickson

As is my wont, I sometimes will Google 'apocalyptic fiction' to see if it has discovered my blog. So far I've been disappointed. I always get left out. Today when I looked I decided to look at the wikipedia link that is at the top of the page. Nothing new there. I looked at the bottom of the page at the external links part. Just for the hell of it I looked the Post Apocalyptic Media link. I registered so I'd be able to read the forums. I get some good recommendations from PA forums. I was reading some of the posts when I stumbled on one that linked back here. A comment below the first took issue with this blog because I couldn't force myself to finish 'Wolf and Iron' by Gordon R. Dickson.

I did enjoy the basic premise of the story. World goes to shit because of economic collapse. For a while it looked as though it may actually come to pass. I had no problem with the main stem of the plot line. My problem was the wolf. I made the egregious error of reading the foreword. In this section a Harry Frank relates how this book is an expanded version of a much older (and shorter) story. He also explains his offense to the portrayal of the wolf in the original story. Harry is a wolf behavior specialist and he thinks that the wolf and the domestic dog are being conflated.

Mr. Dickson decides to revisit the short story and update it with advice/suggestions from the wolf specialist. So to be more specific I had trouble getting through all the text book type details of wolf behavior. The book should have another author listed. I feel that the chair of the psychology department at The University of Michigan, Harry Frank, Ph. D should share cover credit.

Some critics have lambasted Stephen King and claimed he had 'diarrhea of the word processor' when he reworked The Stand. Trust me, King has nothing on Dickson. He managed to turn a short story that is just a scosh under 34 pages into a rather daunting novel of 468. Too much wolf information. Way too much. I had to hit the eject button on it.

Also when I read I prefer to do it for pleasure. I do enough reading to learn in school and with my master's research an' things an' stuff an' junk.

I still have the book and now is a good time to give it a second go. Good news/bad news: I can read this for a break from my thesis and at sub-jobs without being sucked into it too badly. Might be quite awhile before I finish it though.


ft_ball_fn said...


I think it was my post at PA Media that "took issue" with your review of Iron and Wolf. I hope you don't think I was dogging your opinion. I like your blog a lot and especially your book reviews.. and everyone is welcome to their opinion. From reading your blog I think our taste in books are very different.

However I'd definitely recommend you give Iron and Wolf another go. Skip the "Foreword" section--I read for pleasure too and never read these sections--they add nothing to the story IMO. Once the story gets going its REALLY good (again IMO)... I put it up there with some of the best PA I've read.

Anyway--thanks for doing your blog! I hope you join in the discussions at PA Media!

Fear Death By Water said...

Last time I read it I was on page 288. I think jeebee had just found the resistant wheat had been discovered when I hit the ejocto button. I left the book mark in it.

ft_ball_fn said...

If you were 288 into Iron and Wolf you were in the meat of the story--probably not your cup of tea. :) I read you liked the Postman--I loved that book too. So much I can even tolerate the movie... I'm also a big fan of Dust by Pelligrino <--sp?

Would you be interested in swapping/selling some of your duplicate PA books?

Fear Death By Water said...

Be happy to trade!

Black Sun by Robert Leininger
Farnhams Freehold by Robert Heilein
Afterwar by Janet Morris
Davy by Edgar Pangborn (not the best quality)
Vanishing Point by Michaela Roessner
Greener than You Think by Ward Moore (abridged)
The End of the Dream by Philip Wylie
Bone Dance by Emma Bull
Ill Wind by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason
The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle
Dean Koontz The Taking
The City of Gold And Lead by John Christopher
The Sword of Allah by Richard Elliott
Shiva Descending by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler
Plague by Grahm Masterton
The Stand (uncut) by Stephen king

Let me know and we'll make a deal

100 pages into wolf and iron ... digging it this time!

ft_ball_fn said...

I thought I had more dupes than I do--I forgot I got rid of a bunch at a used bookstore a while back.

FireLance by Davide Mace
FireCloud by Kenneth McKenney
False Dawn by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Swan Song by T.J. Binyon
Armageddon, Earth's Last Days by Gran R Jeffrey

I'm currently struggling through The Collapse by Jeff Stanfield.. if I can't get through it I'd be willing to trade that as well... and I have The Last Ship by William Brinkley that I gave up on but plan to try again.

I've been looking for Plague by Graham Masterton for a long time... I'm also interested in Black Sun by Robert Leininger... read good things about both.

Did you write reviews of all of the books you posted? (I remember reading your review of the Tripod books, and Ill Wind). I have a bunch of the books you posted on the bookshelf but haven't read yet.. I'll have to do some searching of your blog.

Fear Death By Water said...

If you're willing I'll swap 1 for one with you. I'll take FireLance by David Mace for your choice of any book on my dup. list. Respond to my personal e-mail

I post on
under the handle: fear death by water.

perhaos you'd like to join.


ft_ball_fn said...

sent you an email...