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No Shield from the Dead   By: (1923-2001)

No Shield from the Dead by Gordon R. Dickson

In Gordon R. Dickson's gripping novel, readers are transported to a post-apocalyptic world where survival is a constant battle. Set in a dystopian future, No Shield from the Dead explores the harsh realities of a society grappling with the aftermath of a worldwide catastrophe.

The story centers around a diverse group of survivors as they navigate the desolate landscape, facing grave threats at every turn. Dickson's vivid descriptions transport the reader into a hauntingly realistic world, painting a bleak picture of a civilization on the brink of collapse. Through his evocative prose, he brilliantly captures the raw emotions and struggle for existence that define the characters' lives.

The protagonist, a resourceful and resilient young woman, serves as the anchor amidst the chaos. Her quest for meaning and connection amidst the ruins is deeply relatable and serves as a driving force behind the narrative. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to a motley crew of secondary characters, each with their own distinct personalities and aspirations. The author skillfully weaves their individual storylines into the overarching plot, creating a rich tapestry of human resilience and hope.

One of the book's standout aspects is its exploration of moral dilemmas and the lengths people are willing to go to survive. Dickson presents thought-provoking scenarios that make readers question their own notions of right and wrong. As the characters are pushed to their limits, they grapple with difficult choices, providing a nuanced study of human nature and the blurred lines between heroism and villainy.

Moreover, the author's world-building skills are commendable. He crafts a vivid and believable future, meticulously detailing the havoc wreaked upon society by the cataclysmic event. From the crumbling cities to the eerie wastelands, readers are transported to a ravaged world that feels both familiar and alien.

No Shield from the Dead demonstrates Dickson's mastery of pacing, as the novel expertly balances moments of intense action with quiet, contemplative moments. The book is replete with suspenseful sequences that keep readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly turning each page to discover the characters' fates. Furthermore, the seamless integration of thematic depth into the narrative ensures that the story lingers in readers' minds long after the final page.

While the book offers a captivating tale of survival and human resilience, it is not without its flaws. The pacing occasionally falters, with certain sections feeling rushed or drawn out. Additionally, a few plot developments leave the reader wanting more explanations or closure. Nevertheless, these minor imperfections do little to detract from the overall quality of the narrative and its thematic richness.

No Shield from the Dead is a haunting and thought-provoking read, showcasing Gordon R. Dickson's skill in crafting a riveting post-apocalyptic tale. With its captivating characters, immersive world-building, and exploration of morality, this novel is sure to resonate with fans of the genre and leave readers eagerly anticipating the author's next work.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from IF Worlds of Science Fiction January 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


By Gordon R. Dickson

No conceivable force could penetrate Terri's shield. Yet he was defenseless.

It was a nice little party, but a bit obvious. Terri Mac saw through it before he had taken half a dozen steps into the apartment. A light flush staining his high cheek bones. "This is ridiculous," he said.

The light chatter ceased. Cocktail glasses were set down on various handy tables and ledges; and all faces in the room turned toward a man in his late fifties who sat propped up invalid wise on pillows in a chair in a corner of the room.

"The Comptroller is perspicacious," said the old man, agreeably, waving one hand in a casual manner. "On your way, children."

And the people present smiled and nodded. Quite as if it were an ordinary leave taking, they pushed past Terri Mac and filed out the door. Even the blonde, Terri had picked up at the embassy ball and who had brought him here, strolled off casually, but in a decidedly less drunken fashion than she had exhibited earlier in the evening... Continue reading book >>

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