An Earth man is picked (or sent by his boss/superior) on a one way trip to a distant empire (their emperor had some mad daydream visions, which everyone chose to ignore, for fear of being seen as admitting the emperor's sickness).

The dominant class's main trait was their height and enhanced capabilities (velocity, strength, intelligence).

The nobleman/tall aliens duel often (using some kind of rings??) The Earthling is given a military honorary post (if I'm not mixing my stories). In time the Earthling climbs the nobleman value ladder and uncovers a threat to the emperor and is rewarded with his return back to Earth.

He returns with a female nobleman love interest (which I believe it was less tall than the other members of the ruling class being perceived because of that as inferior by them).

  • How long ago? Hardback? Softback? Are they aliens in this distant empire or other humans? – FuzzyBoots Jan 8 at 19:53
  • If you can, visit scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… for more info to edit into your question. – FuzzyBoots Jan 8 at 19:54
  • I believe, more than 10y ago (can't really remember if Hard or Softback) I do remember it was in english.Do not recall aliens only the tall human-like aliens – Pete Run Jan 8 at 19:58
  • This almost sounds like a conflation of several volumes of the Sten nonology, by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch. – Zeiss Ikon Jan 8 at 20:20
  • Something very like this happened to Retief once, that's how he ended up a battle commander, or whatever that rank was... – DavidW Jan 8 at 21:09

This sounds a great deal like Gordy Dickson's "Wolfling" which is also the answer to this question: Spy from Earth studies Galactic Empire nobility and prevents plot to depose Emperor. I will copy the answer mostly from that.

See http://www.baen.com/wolfling.html

Baen's blurb says:

When the first expedition from Earth reaches Alpha Centurai III, it makes a starling discovery: all life, including humankind, is governed by the Throne World. The Earth is a mere outpost in a vast star empire.

Jim Keil was a superman on Earth, but on the Throne World he is nothing more than a "wolfling," a trained pet whose sole purpose is to entertain the High-Born. But Jim Keil will show the High-Born that the people of Earth aren't so easily tamed.

Earth is a Lost Colony. When Earth rediscovers the Empire, Jim Keil is selected to try to penetrate the nobility and learn enough for Earth's survival. Keil is an anthropologist who is selected for that and also for his superb physical shape. He's trained a a bull fighter to put on a display of bull fighting -- Earth's unique physical art -- for the Empire's nobility. He's adopted (somewhat as a pet) by the Princess Afuan and gets to see the cutthroat, decadent politics of the high empire from the inside. The Emperor himself turns out to be such a refined genetic superman that he's an unstable superman.

Jim turns out to be a throwback to the nobility who were also on Earth when it was lost and manages to out maneuver Empire politics and go back to Earth with the message that Earth need only be patient -- the Empire was doomed to fall soon. enter image description here

  • Thank you, and KUDOS!! That's it, you've just made my day. – Pete Run Jan 8 at 21:22
  • Is "Gordy Dickson" right? I've always seen it as "Gordon". – FuzzyBoots Jan 8 at 21:34
  • 1
    @FuzzyBoots You're right that his name was "Gordon R. Dickson," but he was called Gordy by pretty much everyone. He was not a very staid person. (I knew him, but not well.) Have you ever seen the filk, "The Ballad of Gordy Dickson"? -- The refrain is "Gordy Dickson, Gordy Dickson, Gordy Dickson is the one / His hobby's science fiction, but his main job's having fun!" – Mark Olson Jan 8 at 21:48

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