- The Dorsai, the name of both the people and their planet. They're a race of warriors, born and bred to be soldiers. They combine the military virtues of bravery, determination, and loyalty with an extraordinary athleticism. We never meet any evil Dorsai; they're pretty much all decent people, and many of them are heroic. So many of the stories feature them that the Childe Cycle is often called the Dorsai Saga. The Dorsai is a fairly poor planet; they survive mostly by hiring themselves out as high-priced mercenaries.
- The Exotics. They are a race of philosophers living on the two planets Mara and Kultis. (There's a famous typo in one of the books where a chapter about a character who's half-Maran is titled "Half-Moron"). The Exotics have developed psychology to the point where it's almost magic; they can do things like predict that a particular person will be at a particular place at a particular time, because the "ontological forces" insist on it. This sort of insight enables them to do very well in trade. They're also philosophical pacifists, so it's a good thing they can afford to hire the Dorsai to fight their battles. The Exotics' most important interest is human evolution. They understand a lot about the Splinter Cultures, and are constantly trying to discover what comes next.
- The Friendlies. They are religious fundamentalists living on the planets Harmony and Association. These feature many different Churches with differing beliefs, so there are constant low-level disagreements and battles on these worlds, though it rarely rises to the level of actual warfare. All the ones we see include strict discipline, simple ways of life, and a devotion to prayer and their church that makes them seem almost Amish. Like the Dorsai, the Friendly worlds are poor, and they also hire themselves as mercenaries, but where the Dorsai are elite troops, the Friendlies are cannon fodder. The Friendlies are the least sympathetic of the three, though Dickson goes to some effort to show the honor of their devotion to their faith.
- Earth just before space travel:
- The early days of space travel, with the Younger Worlds newly settled:
- The height of the Splinter Cultures:
- The decay of the Splinter Cultures
Necromancer (AKA No Room for Man)
Tactics of Mistake, "Amanda Morgan"
Dorsai!, Soldier, Ask Not, "Warrior", "Lost Dorsai", "Brothers"
This is told from two points of view.
The creative Hal Mayne: The Final Encyclopedia, Chantry Guild
The static Bleys Ahrens: Young Bleys, Other, Antagonist