The Dragon Masters – Jack Vance
Two races breed prisoners into specialized warriors.
Despite being one of Vance’s more celebrated stories, a re-read didn’t really change my view.
Vance starts with an interesting idea – that two antagonistic races breed their prisoners of war into specialized soldiers – and introduces it in an understated way. But the result lacks the usual Vance narrative charm, and emotionally, the story doesn’t go very far. It feels more like a sketch than a full story. It’s a shame, because as a novel, I think it could have achieved it’s promise.
Certainly worth reading, but if I had to choose a story for which Vance should have won a Hugo, this wouldn’t be it.