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The Dazzle of Day

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  270 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book

The Dazzle of Day is a brilliant and widely celebrated mixture of mainstream literary fiction and hard SF. Molly Gloss turns her attention to the frontiers of the future, when the people of our over-polluted planet Earth voyage out to the stars to settle new worlds, to survive unknown and unpredictable hardships, and to make new human homes. Sp
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 15th 1998 by Tor Books (first published 1997)
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Lara Messersmith-Glavin
I have a special thing for Molly Gloss. Her books "Jump Off Creek" and "Outside the Gates" were both startling finds for me in high school. She even visited my English class once - an unusual bit of luck for a girl stranded in the smallest of small-town isolations - 19 people in my class, 17 of them boys. My English teacher took her and me out to lunch and she showed Gloss some of my writing. I was mortified, but she, at the very least, pretended to be impressed, inscribed a book for me, and urg ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of introspective barely-sf about aging, God, etc
A loose, slow-paced novel about a small colony of Quakers who have finally arrived at a habital planet after 175 years in transit. Slowly but surely, they reach a consensus about whether to colonize the planet or stay aboard the colony ship that is all they've known for generations.

This book really frustrated me. It was so unfocused, and although all sorts of exciting things happen (crashlanding on a planet! a desperate rescue mission! a plague!) they all happen in the peripheral vision of the c
Nov 25, 2008 Russ rated it it was amazing

First chapter knocks my socks off every time I read it. Like this group of Quakers, haven't we all wanted to push away from Earth and start again?

Interesting exploration into decision making and reliance on technology even while trying to escape a planet overrun by its effects.

An all time personal fave.
Jun 29, 2008 Christine rated it it was amazing
A short novel about a future human colony living on a starship in outer space, looking for a new world to inhabit. If the sci-fi theme puts you off, think again on this one. The colony is a group of Quakers and the sense of community, human struggle, philosophical discussions and truthful relationships are what makes this book shine. Deeply insightful without stilted propoganda or unaccessible techno-talk, Ms. Gloss takes us to some of the darkest regions of the soul and gives us the courage to ...more
Jamie Collins
Jun 05, 2013 Jamie Collins rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
In some undisclosed future year a colony of Quakers decide to abandon the ravaged, depleted Earth, outfitting an “interstellar ark” and heading out in search of a new planet to colonize. 150 years later the descendents of those emigrants have arrived at a habitable, but inhospitable, planet, and must decide whether to settle there or venture forth in their aging spaceship in hopes of greener pastures elsewhere.

This has a great setting, a great title, and it’s well written, and yet I was disappoi
Jeffrey Moll
Apr 14, 2011 Jeffrey Moll rated it really liked it
There is a specific and positive tone within the language of The Dazzle of Day which gives it a different feeling than those felt towards the first set of novels. Adaptation within the community is the focus of the novel while it can be questioned that Survival of the Fittest would be a stronger argument. The Quakers escape the tragedy of the world because they are ‘worldly’ people which desire a place to expand humanity and survive. It is fitting that Quakers leave the earth and understand the ...more
Apr 12, 2011 Matthew rated it liked it
An infuriating piece of science fiction, this novel while well written, is odd and at times hard to read. I enjoyed the way that the chapters were set up, with beginning and ending chapters that present the past and the future, and a storyline that follows specific characters, in a very specific order. But I generally disliked the lack of detail that is absent, in regards to the ships and the other common science fiction elements. While I can see why Gloss did this, changing the focus to the cha ...more
Nov 30, 2010 Glenn rated it it was amazing
Science fictions and westerns have a lot in common. Gloss is comfortable writing about the frontier!
Dana Stabenow
May 19, 2010 Dana Stabenow rated it liked it
A Quaker version of the "if this goes on" science fiction story, told in three parts. Earth is poisoning itself and a Quaker community in what was western America builds a self-contained space colony and sets sail for Epsilon Eridani. Part two hundred forty-seven years later, they arrive at a planet that is cold and unfriendly but habitable, and they have to decide to land or to continue on and look for something better, and if they do decide to stay, how to live there. Part three is a couple of ...more
Jan Priddy
Oct 14, 2014 Jan Priddy rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time favorite reads. And unlike some reviewers, I actually have read the novel. Several times. I came to it initially skeptical. I was new to Molly Gloss and thought that I was mostly done with SF at the time it came out, but the book is a page-turner as well as a thoughtful revelation of humanity.

This is a utopian novel, in my opinion, about people trying to make a working and humane society. The characters are imperfect, sometimes old or young or frightened or cruel or g
Molly Gloss has written an intriguing, quiet book that speaks volumes in The Dazzle of Day. This is a very international book. Escaping from a dying Earth, Quakers from various countries (they speak Esperanto!) have found themselves a home on board the Dusty Miller, a self-sustaining but ageing spaceship. A crew has been sent out to explore a frozen planet as a possible future home. Bjoro is among the crew, and the planet isn’t something he’s prepared for:

“He had thought in the filmcards he had
Justin Howe
Apr 07, 2014 Justin Howe rated it it was amazing
Basically if I start a book one day and finish it the next, it's going to get five stars from me.

Sure, this book's plot is oblique and the major conflicts are mostly domestic. Yeah, there's the looming question of whether or not the colonists will leave the generation ship and settle on their new world, but what kept me reading was whether or not Juko patches up things with her ex-husband, and the social intricacies of life aboard the ship.

Fans of Ursula K. LeGuin will enjoy.

This book took some effort on my part. It took me days to get through the first half because the pacing was slow and I couldn't help but feel that nothing was happening (even though things were demonstrably happening).

The second half of the book is also slowly paced and has a distant, sort of meditative quality to it that takes you away from what is happening and into the characters' descriptions of what is happening and their thoughts and feelings about it. At times, this works well, with some
Dec 21, 2011 Shara rated it liked it
So while I'm glad to have read this book, I can't say I'd recommend it to too many people. If you like literary SF, character-focused (but not character-driven), and richly described novels, you may find this to your liking. But this isn't something to be read by people expecting a fast-paced adventure with lots of shiny technology. Nor do I find this book to be a worthy successor to LeGuin. Certainly, there are LeGuin-esque moments here, but even LeGuin has more focused and stronger plotted nov ...more
Sep 19, 2011 Angus-Michel rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book. It's about a group of Esperanto-speaking Quakers (yes, I know, but listen) who board a generation starship (yes, I know, but bear with me) and set off for a possible earthlike planet. The bulk of the story takes place when they're nearly at their destination, and it's a fascinating exploration of what the journey has done to them, with the ingredients from when they left Earth (their ancestors were a mixed group of Quakers from all over the planet, including Japan, Scan ...more
Silvio Curtis
The idea of this book is that a spacecraft full of Esperanto-speaking Quakers has made a two-century interstellar voyage to escape ecological catastrophe on Earth. The planet they arrive at is barely habitable, and they face the hard decision of how, or whether, to settle there. This could make an interesting story, but instead the book focuses on how all the characters go through various kinds of grief, resulting in a gloomy but uneventful plot that didn't interest me much. Still, the writing i ...more
Christy Luis
About: A new generation of pioneers seeks sanctuary from our dying earth in a mission to a new planet. Only the patient, whole-minded Quakers have worked out the challenges to turn these theoretical missions into a reality. This literary hard sci-fi follows the takeoff, the problems encountered during the mission and the effects of those challenges on the very human community that rises to meet them. Published 1998, Adult Sci-fi.

The Short of It: This book will appeal to a certain kind of reader,
Jun 06, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
The marvel of this novel—and it is marvelous—is that it takes possibly the biggest story that could be told about human culture, the abandonment of Earth in search of a new home planet, and tells it not through the grand, dramatic, "space operatic" moments but rather in the most intimate events of death, illness, divorce, and the like. That seems like a risky choice but it makes for a brilliant, stirring read. The world-building is superb, exploring without drawing too much attention to itself h ...more
Freeman Ng
Nov 30, 2014 Freeman Ng rated it it was amazing
Science fiction fans might find this book hard going at first because it spends so much time on the daily lives of the Quaker farmers aboard a multigenerational colony ship. For long stretches, it doesn't feel like a sci-fi novel at all, but when the sci-fi elements appear, they are well worth the extensive groundwork. There is a trek across a harsh planetary landscape, for example, that makes other sci-fi descriptions of harsh environments seem either pedestrian or cartoonish by comparison. (No ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Fence rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
Dolores Negrete is leaving home, she will be boarding the Dusty Miller along with many other Quakers and leaving the planet, heading for the great unknown of space. Earth is dying. The land has, for the most part been used up, species are going extinct and people are dying of cancers and starvation and disease. The Quakers have organised themselves. They are fleeing earth and looking for a brighter future.

The main story takes place 150 years or so later, aboard the spaceship, as the potential co
Robert Wood
Feb 12, 2014 Robert Wood rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in about a day. I highly recommend it. You can see the influence of the work of Merril on the text, as well as Le Guin, but it is one of the more unique texts that I have read in a while. The text explores the lives of a number of participants on a long distance Quaker colonizing mission. It simultaneously develops a complex political system while giving a sense of interiority to the characters of the novel that you often don't find in other science fictional texts. At times ...more
Octavia Cade
Jul 10, 2015 Octavia Cade rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A thoughtful, interesting novel. Quite slow, but I don't mean that negatively - there's a sort of dreamy pacing that goes well with the temporary nature of migration, the doomed setting of the life that's made on the ship. It's a good life too, but it can't last - though I can't help wondering how the Quaker settlers, so steeped in ecological holism, justify what must be the wholesale slaughter of the lives they've nurtured - the ecosystem aboard the Dusty Miller surely won't survive the new fri ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Elmwoodblues rated it it was ok
I am not fearful of bilingualism: the language I grew up with, English, gains much of its strength from its openness and sponge-like absorption of the best of all the other tongues.
I love sci-fi, especially in-depth looks at the out-play of some posited possibility.
I value the 'hype' around a book in my beloved sci-fi genre, as it indicates to me an introduction to 'the uninitiated'.
So why did I very nearly dislike, actively, reading 'The Dazzle of Day'? Plodding movement, sluggish characte
Rebecca Schwarz
Dec 31, 2014 Rebecca Schwarz rated it liked it
A really different take on a generation ship, and a very human story. The writing style is lyrical and the ideas are fresh, but this book isn't for everyone. People with more standard genre expectations might easily be disappointed. These are Esperanto-speaking Quakers in space. The story lives in the head space of several characters. It's about their daily lives, loves, memories, and the choices they must make. There is almost zero dialogue, so the book presents a dense block of text to navigat ...more
May 25, 2015 Keith rated it it was amazing
Certainly one of the best if not the best generation ship book I have read. The story is told through individual experiences and reactions from before the ship leaves, while the ship is travelling, and after land fall is made. The characters, their interactions and the background implications of their environment are very well realised without an overload of minutiae. In addition, the exploration of various concerns and implications of both generation ships and choosing whether to settle on the ...more
Eric Farr
Jun 29, 2015 Eric Farr rated it liked it
The Dazzle of Day is a story about a community of Quakers that boards a generational space ship to colonize a distant world. It can be broken into roughly three sections, somewhat in contrast to the actual divisions within the novel: before the colony ship (a single chapter framed in the first person), aboard the colony ship (the bulk of the novel, split between various viewpoint characters in third person), and after the colony ship (the final chapter, again framed in first person). Toward the ...more
Robert C.
Oct 27, 2014 Robert C. rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I like this book for several reasons:
- I've never read a book about Quakers in space before, so it was a refreshing change
- The vocabulary challenged me because there are lots of words interspersed in the story that I've never seen before
- the style is quite literary and I don't see much of that in science fiction, so another refreshing change
- The book has (tangentially) introduced me to Esperanto
- There are some lovely snippets of Walt Whitman at the start of every chapter and although I'
Michael Woods
Jun 21, 2014 Michael Woods rated it really liked it
Probably not for your average sf fan, but I enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys well-crafted prose normally ascribed only to "serious literature." Molly Glass takes an insightful look at the effects long-term, deep space travel has on the occupants of a space vessel traveling from Earth to a distant star. Once they have arrived, the travelers must then work out the technical and emotional challenges of transitioning from a space-faring community that has been in transit for m ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This book is full of implausible situations that would probably drive some readers nuts, especially those who like their sci-fi to be as realistic as possible. It's about a future in which the earth is dying, and a Quaker community that responds by building a huge spaceship and sending it off to colonize a new planet. So, yes: the notion that Quakers, of all people, would muster the financial resources and organizational efficiency to launch a mission like this is pretty laughable. (My money wou ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jun 07, 2014 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it
Another of my diverse science fiction readings--this is a multi-generational story set among a group of multi-ethnic Quakers with a starship who are at the end of a long voyage to settle a new planet, and the society that has developed from their technological parameters and Quaker meeting structures over the 175 years they've spent en route. Like Quakers, this is spare, introspective and requires the reader to filling the the silences.
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Molly Gloss is a fourth-generation Oregonian who lives in Portland.

Her novel The Jump-Off Creek was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for American Fiction, and a winner of both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award. In 1996 Molly was a recipient of a Whiting Writers Award.

The Dazzle of Day was named a New York Times Notable Book and was awarded the PEN Center
More about Molly Gloss...

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