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The Dazzle of Day

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Leaving a dilapidated Earth behind, Quakers across the globe pool funds and resources as they select colonists to send to a newly discovered planet to start life anew in this “miraculous fusion of…science fiction with unsparing realism and keen psychology” (Ursula K. Le Guin).

In this “carefully conceived and deeply affecting” (The New York Times) novel, award-winning auth
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Saga Press (first published 1997)
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3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  339 ratings  ·  90 reviews


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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
Russ
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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.
Wealhtheow
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Christaaay
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,
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Christine
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeffrey Moll
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew
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
Angus-Michel
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Octavia Cade
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
John Addiego
I thought this was brilliant speculative fiction. The writing is beautiful, the notion of this flawed Eden-like star ship with its intentional community of Quakers weighing the spiritual values of their journey was full of surprises and insights. Walt Whitman's voice runs throughout! No easy answers, no obvious heroes or villains, but a profound sense of the journey of the soul is played out in unexpected ways.
Justin Howe
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Melissa
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great coupling of literary style and writing with the scifi/fantasy genre. Gloss has a thoughtful narrative style that is worth taking the time to slow down and really read. Subtle cross-sections of culture, science, and the humanism that permeates everything.
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
Sharlene
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
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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
Jamie Collins
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
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Jan Priddy
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Robert Day
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'
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Sarah
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shara
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Grace
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol
Jul 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jill
Oct 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kara
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nicole Cintas
This book was futuristic sci fi but felt grounded with a society not far from those that exist today. The characters felt like real people that could be amount us, not out in space. The terminology was such that this was the least sci-fi book of the genre that I have ever read. That's not a song, either. I like that it dawned on me what the premise was rather than in being overstated.
I was drawn in by it. I wonder, however, how much of my being engaged was that this was a group of Quakers, so my
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Rebecca Schwarz
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
Keith
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Margaret Sankey
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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“The way of Friends is to think quietly and to listen. We ask the question, we consider how the answer is made by different people, we ask again, answer again, change our minds; we reach an understanding. The Meeting evolves this way, not by shouting each other down, not by the weight of the majority, but by the capacity of individual human beings to comprehend one another.” 1 likes
“You know how it is between sisters in their middle age? that old old friendship, how loose-fitting it is? the comfort and safety in it? how you can let silence lie between you without it taking on any weight? how you can let words out of your mouth without wariness or precision because you know your sister will listen to what's worthwhile and let the rest fall out of her ears into the air? how you can be surly, unreasonable, stupid, in the certainty of her grace?” 0 likes
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