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The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire

(Canopus in Argos #5)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Documents Relating to The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire is an sf novel by Nobel Prize in Literature-winner Doris Lessing. It concludes her five-book Canopus in Argos series & comprises a set of documents that describe the final days of the Volyen Empire, located at the edge of our galaxy & under the influence of three other galactic empires, the benevolen ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published March 12th 1984 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  357 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Azza Raslan
Jun 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Every time I want to write something I remember the story and amend my words.
Doris Lessing's books never leave you, they insinuate themselves into deep crevices of your mind and stay there till needed and then they make themselves felt. She is always with me.
Kingsley L. Dennis
I'm actually re-reading it again!

So dense...you got to read between the lines too...yet wonderful!
Pimpawan
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reread it one time, i found this novel is pretty scary in a way, intergalactic evil plot etc. the genre people labeled this series as 'space opera' fails it, i think. that's why it isn't well recognised though Lessing.
Erik Graff
Jun 11, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
This book is adopts the guise of science fiction to attempt to perform a social satire. There is no science in the fiction and any relevant satire mostly escaped me. The story is also poor, although, to be fair, I read this after the first volume in the series, having missed the intervening ones.
Vel Veeter
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cbr-10
This is the final book in the series. There is both a sense of finality at the end of this one, with the closing off of the narrative in a meaningful way, but also a sense of continuance beyond the novel, as the story ends in an ellipse.

This novel is told through the exchange of communications, small historical documents, reactions to events, and accountings of various goings-on. And so, like the first novel in the series, the story is often told in fractures and other slips of narrative rather
...more
Peggy
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The funniest of the five books with lots of sarcasm and farce. It concerns primarily the dangers of political rhetoric and its emptiness and ability to motivate people to do things they would otherwise find abhorrent.
This series is didactic, even for Lessing, so this book was a relief in that it reassured me that she did indeed have a sense of humor lurking in her. I love love love Doris Lessing but at times she can a bit ... rich.
I would not recommend this tetralogy to everyone. Its books are
...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
'After I left the hotel, through a lobby all excitement and noise – a trade delegation from the Sirian HQ on their planet Motz were just leaving, looking pleased with themselves – I walked straight into the park opposite. Some freely wandering gazelles came to greet me. They originate, as it happens, from Shikasta, stolen by Sirius and presented as part of a state gift. They licked my hands and nuzzled them, and I knew my emotional apparatus was nearly at Overload. Plant life in every stage of g ...more
Mikael Kuoppala
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The final installment to the five part science fiction saga by Doris Lessing is a compact examination on politics and society. It's about Volyen, a planet that's been exploited by an imperialistic superpower and is possibly escaping only to be the subject of another oppressor.

Most of the novel is made up of speeches made in the planet's parliament, and considering that the end result is surprisingly engaging. Lessing implies that rhetoric is the only force that makes a society: words become real
...more
Ulrika Eriksson
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Om planeters/imperiers cykler. Moderplaneten Volyen, som liknar de västliga demokratierna ockuperar Volyendesta och Volyenadna. Många av de högre makthavarna i Volyen är kritiska till sitt eget samhälle och är spioner för planeten och imperiet Sirius räkning. Ju mer folket tror på den egna propagandan desto mer kortlivat blir imperiet, säger Lessing.
Governor Grice, under en period beundrare av Sirius, får till stånd en rättegång där Volyen står som anklagad för att inte ha gett sina barn kunska
...more
Jos
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only few readers persevere through all five books of Canopus in Argos. Quite understandable, as these books are a mixed bag. As written in one of my previous reviews, I enjoyed books 1, 3 and this one. I didn't enjoy books 2 and 4. Other readers have reverse opinions.

The Sentimental Agents forms a kind of middle ground in the cycle. The book returns to the universal view of Shikasta and the Sirian experiments. At the same time, it doesn't take place in Shikasta, focusing instead on another minor
...more
Luis Fernández
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The last book of the Canopus in Argos: Archives series was in line with the one before in being a little bit more down-to-earth than the first three book of the series.
In this one Lessing focus its narrative in a small Empire of five planets where the emissaries from Canopus write the events as they happen and where the story is a developing as a continuation of the previous books, although not exactly after the previous books but when even the Sirius empire is on it verge to collapse.
As profoun
...more
Simon
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Considering that this is, in plot terms at least, a tale of aliens, interstellar empires and planetary invasions, you might be forgiven for expecting a little more in the way of action. Those who've read the previous books in the series, however, will know what to expect. Long cerebral discussions about revolutionary rhetoric and emotional manipulation for political ends fill large chunks of the text, and yet it's not as dry or dull as that might sound. It's even funny in places.
Kathy
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
I didn't actually finish this book, though I tried. Surprisingly, though the book came out in the early 1980s, some of its ideas on political rhetoric were very relevant to today. But in the end the intellectual exercise just didn't sustain me enough to get all the way through. I needed more engaging characters and a stronger plot to keep going.
Kelly Spoer
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very much my least favorite.
Heather
Feb 01, 2015 added it
Shelves: ben
B1 R1 C8
Enoch
Jul 07, 2008 added it
A fifth of five, but they are not in the right order although Shikasta comes first.
Aria
Dec 24, 2008 rated it liked it
the 5th book in the series and the only one I read. complicated and philosophical. Very good though.
Carol Miller
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This final installment in the series is a satire, and rather different from the other books.
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Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Oliv ...more

Other books in the series

Canopus in Argos (5 books)
  • Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta
  • The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five
  • The Sirian Experiments
  • The Making of the Representative for Planet 8