The Dazzle of Day
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The Dazzle of Day

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  53 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...more
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

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.
Mar 23, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
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
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...more
Jeffrey Moll
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
Dana Stabenow
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
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...more
Justin Howe
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...more
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
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
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
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
Robert Wood
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
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...more
Science fictions and westerns have a lot in common. Gloss is comfortable writing about the frontier!
Michael Woods
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
Margaret Sankey
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.
Sarah Sammis
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss is is a generation ship saga written in the style of A Canticle for Leibowitz. It has three distinct parts: planning to leave, a death en route, and life on the new planet.

Although there isn't a single character to carry the book through from start to finish, Gloss manages to still make it a very character driven book. Each section reads like a self contained novella, thematically tied together.

My favorite part was the first story. In it, an older woman is thinki...more
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss tells the story or a group of Quaker colonists venturing who leave a dying earth to begin again on a new world. I was drawn to this book by the idea of Quaker colonists and found this story to be a well written and thoughtful exploration of the ideas of family, home, relationships, and community. The author provides evocative descriptions that contrast the lush environment of the spaceship with the barren new world that the colonists find for themselves. The stor...more
When people talk about feminist science fiction, and how it should include the body, and focus on family and community connection, I had no idea how phenomenally boring that might be until I read this book.
Gloss only advances the plot tangentially, rumors and hearsay from other characters, never the one whose point of view is the narrative focus of the chapter. The sentences are long winded in a way that is stylish (if you're into Faulkner) and literary, but difficult to feel any excitement fro...more
I had a hard time getting into this one, and all the esperanto thrown in didn't make it any easier. As soon as I got in the groove with one character, she'd switch and I'd have to really work to get back into the book. However, the last two chapters made it all worthwhile, especially the last chapter. It was so lyrical and evocative with the way she wove descriptions of the planet into the way it affected the culture and this character in particular. I loved that part.

I also got a kick out of le...more
A lovely novel. Ostensibly about the colonization of another world, it's really about the relationships between people, and focuses mainly on women of a certain age and how they relate to each other and to their spouses and children. Some good world-building and Quakerism thrown in as well.
Quakers in space! This is different from most space colonization stories: Instead of a technology of warp speeds, the science is directed toward creating a balanced, sustainable ecosystem in the artificial environment that is sailing over a period of several generations toward a new planet. And, instead of a militaristic style of hierarchy (like Capt Kirk), it is a diverse and egalitarian society run by committees, Quaker style. Although I didn't always accept the author's ideas of what it would...more
Jan 29, 2008 Sessily added it
Shelves: favorite-books, own
I loved this book. Its science fiction, but I don't think the "science" part of it (in terms of the spaceship) is all that accurate. What I love about it are the deep characterizations and philosophical feel. Gloss' writing can be dense, like some of Le Guin's writing (Left Hand of Darkness in particular), leading to a slower reading experience, but when I reread it I found myself reading slower so that I could savor the experience. I've read it twice, and now want to read it again.

For those who...more
This Sci-Fi novel by Gloss is probably one of the better stories I have read. Gloss makes us learn a whole new language along with a whole new way of life with this novel. The majority of the book takes place upon a torus, space station, and the people of the Dusty Miller are trying to find a new world after leaving earth. There are sailmenders for the solar sails and and farmers for the fields of crops. This novel requires all of imagination and concentration. I thought the set up of the chapte...more
Matthew Gatheringwater
Aug 21, 2007 Matthew Gatheringwater rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Esperanto-speakers.
QUAKERS IN SPACE! I so much wanted to enjoy this book, especially since I've enjoyed other Quaker-themed science fiction, such as Joan Slonczewski's Still Forms on Foxfield, but I finished it with a feeling of disappointment. (Still, I did finish it, which is something of a recommendation.)

I don't know which bothered me more: unrelenting pessimism about the human future, the incredibly unrealistic depiction multi-generational space travel and settlement, wet New-Age mysticism, or the anti-techno...more
Jordan Masters
In Molly Gloss' science fiction, we follow a spacecraft known as the Dusty Miller as it traverses the stars in search of a habitable world. Earth has long since been rendered inhospitable, and in this work, we garner an appreciation for character interaction as the crew works its way to a new horizon. This novel might be a bit of an awkward read for some, as Gloss likes to use invented language and terms as many of her contemporaries did for science fiction, but these phrases don't get so in the...more
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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 We...more
More about Molly Gloss...
The Hearts of Horses The Jump-Off Creek Wild Life Outside the Gates Falling from Horses: A Novel

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