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Pilgrimage: The Book of the People

(The People)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,345 ratings  ·  87 reviews
These are the People.
Marooned on this planet by the crash of their interstellar vehicle in the distant past, The People are never free of a sense of strangeness in this world and a yearning for the home they have half-forgotten.

These are the chronicles of their arrival on this world, their estrangement from it, and their ultimate acceptance of their poignant exile.

Paperback, 255 pages
Published June 28th 1987 by Avon Books (first published 1961)
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Salley J Robins Yes, she wrote a series about these 'people' but you can read any of them as a stand alone. I think you'd enjoy it.

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4.34  · 
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 ·  1,345 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Utopia" is a a bookshelf that I've shelved this book in, but it is a much more complicated situation here with Zenna Henderson's "Pilgrimage". This book is not an utopia per se, but I've simply have no idea which genre it could be considered, so.. Here we are.

This is a really warm, unrushed soft sci-fi story. Nothing bad happens in this book and in those few cases there are shades of unhappiness, misery, accidents or pure bad luck, everything turns out to be well and fine. People in this book
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
As far as I'm concerned, Zenna Henderson was one of the most gifted (though not prolific) authors of science fiction of all, and I've read just about every sci fi book there is. This book, and its sequel, "the People: No different Flesh" are and will remain among my top 10 sci fi favorites of all time. Her books have a magical combination of power and wonder. Complex plotting, fully realized characters, and a completely believable alternate world, which becomes a vehicle for the author's explora ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A series of short stories set in the same world and a connecting story outside them all. Most of the stories are excellent, but the last is not as strong and the connecting thread remains unresolved. Perhaps this tale continues in the second volume The People: No Different Flesh. Each of the episodes would stand alone, and each contains a little more about The People than the previous entries. Each has a slight religious overtone, though no overt discussion of or comparison to any earthly religi ...more
It's funny that people identify Henderson as sympathetic toward people who are different. True, she sympathetically delineates their plights--but then she undercuts it by arguing that nobody has the right to feel sorry for themselves. There's far too much of a 'pull your socks up and proceed undaunted' attitude.

Still, the stories are rich and (much) better written than other versions of the same story.

The stories in question are:

Preface and Bridge: The story of the heavily depressed Lea, who is
Melissa McShane
My original rating for this collection of stories, linked by a frame narrative, was five stars. On re-reading, I find myself dissatisfied with the frame enough to drop my rating. Lea's story, that of a profoundly depressed woman taken in by the People and invited to share in their storytelling, leaves a lot of questions unanswered. On the one hand, Henderson seems to take such black depression seriously, and Lea's wish for death is accurately and sensitively depicted. But her "cure" strikes me a ...more
Dana Stabenow
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Back when sf was truly great.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
The People #1 - Pilgrimage
The People #2 - No Different Flesh
Author: Zenna Henderson

I love this series - re-read it regularly! Most of the stories [but not the thread connecting them] have appeared independently in various science fiction and fantasy magazines and some short story collections. The two books have also been collected in the omnibus edition Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson.

Although she was not as well known [or as prolific] as Heinlein and Asimov and Norto
Kirsten #EnoughIsEnough
To find this book, I had to take one of the longest interlibrary loans yet. All the way from Greenville College in Illinois.

This book was written in 1961 and is - at its base - 4 short stories linked by a narrative. It is also -while not overtly Christian - very sensitive to an ethical and moral mindset. Third, it had me thinking of the 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain throughout.

We have a group of people - refugees, survivors, etc - who have crashed in the mountains of California and
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
After having my mom repeatedly urge me to dive into my parents' vast collection of science fiction novels, I finally gave in and read this book. And I was not disappointed. It is essentially a collection of connected short stories about an alien people marooned on Earth and hiding their special abilities to fit in. The only thing lacking for me was the ending. It didn't give me the kind of closure I wanted for all of these characters I had grown to love. Especially Lea, the character who anchors ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Third reading and I realize this is one of my favorite books. There are my memories—I found the paperback in a used bookstore my friend and I rode our bikes to as teenagers--as well as the storyline depicting extra-terrestrials having to leave their dying Home. Crashing to Earth and having to adapt to life here, the People look like us but have very special talents, including being able to lift (fly). The sense of being different, not fitting into our culture, trying to find others separated, wh ...more
Janis Ian
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A severely under-rated, under-remembered leader in the field, whose influence is quoted by authors as diverse as Connie Willis and Orson Scott Card. Just a seminal concept, written with elegance and wonder.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I remembered this book from when I read it as a kid and I wanted to read it again. It's well written and the idea is captivating but it's a bit repetitive and The People are a bit too angelic, even if they are aliens.
Bob Alberti
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adults, SF&F fans
A classic of science fantasy, the tale of the gentle alien invaders known as "The People." Somewhat religious in tone, but less so than 'A Wrinkle in Time."
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-aliens
I loved re-reading this book. Great writing and lots of biblical imagery. Get yourself a used copy (it's out of print) and enjoy!
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite an imaginative take on the stranded alien story...this book is obviously mostly comprised of many previously written short stories but there is such commonality between them that ZH is able to embroider them in a very unique fashion. I loved the yesteryear western setting. Overall this is a very clever, easy read and certainly a pleasing discovery! Recommended for fans of Octavia Butler (though less dense and bizarre than anything in the Lilith’s Brood cycle) and Luis L’amour (though more ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This qualifies as a novel, I guess, though really it's a set of short stories originally published separately and then rather loosely linked by a slight framing narrative that is eventually perfunctorily wrapped up before the final story begins. The stories all deal with 1) the People, humanoid aliens trapped on Earth after the (unexplained) destruction of their home world and possessed of abilities that are really no different from magic (levitation, telepathy, telekinesis, some sort of ability ...more
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, science-fiction
Zenna Henderson is one of my favorite authors, and this book, the first published collection of short stories about the People, represents some of her best work.

We are introduced to the People, a group of extraterrestrials with a variety of mental powers, who are stranded on Earth after their home planet is destroyed. A running theme throughout the stories involves isolation, loneliness, the feeling of being different than those around you and the difficulties that raises. But there is also a gr
Oct 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans, students of human psychology
Shelves: other
I picked up this book to decide whether to add it to my Amazon stock or my Bookmooch inventory, and noticed it had been owned by my husband before I knew him, and is SF, which is not his normal genre. I have read it over 3 or 4 days, whilst also doing an awful lot of work around the farm and on setting up a new BM charity for our friends there who have lost all/most/some of their books in the recent typhoon.
There were some passages in the book which were a little repetetive and cloying in their
Janet Eshenroder
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was in my twenties. It has been a permanent fixture of my bookshelf for over forty years. I've taken it down many times, only to find it just as captivating. After many years of critiquing classical and newer science fiction books, I took this off the shelf recently to see if it now seemed dated or if I would be more critical and disappointed in the writing.

This is either a vastly under-rated book when experts are listing the classics, or this book just continues t
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well, this book and No Different Flesh were amazing when i read them. - and it was long ago. i am almost afraid to go back. I read Henderson's People stories over and over - and it was the story i read, not the language. Sweet to hear here at GR that i was not alone in my identification with and affection for these characters.

I imagine that these explorations of what it means to make one's way in an alien world, and take responsibility for enormous and unwieldy powers without that world ever un
230817: series of linked short stories, 1952 to 1961, that probably has influenced, defined, expressed, our modern myth of aliens come to earth, of how different that is, how we and they might share this particularly American life of the era. only really incidental that they came, crashed, dispersed- the story is mostly about finding your place, being accepted for your difference. family, community, education, beliefs, all reconciled, all paralleled, with simple beliefs in something like god... ...more
Shirin Sabri
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those classic sci fi collections of stories, one that I read as a young adult reader and loved, and then have read again (and again) in the years since. The idea of alien refugees arriving unseen as interstellar boat people continues to resonate today, and the tales of humans reaching out to - or horribly rejected the 'other' remains relevant. The deceptively ordinary, mid-Western setting juxtaposes the familiar and everyday with the magical, extraordinary People, creating a uniqu ...more
Oct 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed. This is clearly a compilation of short stories, strung together with another story. The individual short stories stood better alone; I read one or two of them years ago, and liked them very much. Stringing the stories together into a novel, "The People" seem to be bizarrely stupid, (continuously falling for the same problems) and the story is so riddled with melodramatic angst and "Mary-Sue" syndrome that I eventually gave up. I would have given it one star ... but if you ign ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was a child and had very fond memories of it. I only recently located a copy. I wasn't sure if my faint memories would hold up these many years past.

I enjoyed the embedded stories very much, but didn't really care for the framework story that they were embedded in. The style is a little old fashioned, but quite charming and enjoyable. I am looking forward to working my way through the other few books of Zenna Henderson that I located when I found this one.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is a story of difference and hiding one's gifts to avoid persecution from "normals". Told from the perspective of various members of the People (an extra-terrestrial race stranded on Earth), the storyline quickly becomes repetitive and depressing. Worse for me was the old-fashioned, bombastic language that twists every scene into something maudlin. Interesting concept but a tiresome read.
Tom Britz
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought the only drawback of this excellently written book was the connecting story trying to make these short stories into a novel, of sorts. The stories are strong all by themselves. The People are "aliens" that pass as humans, except that they have what we'd term as paranormal abilities. The stories are based on the third generation of the original "settlers", who crash-landed here. They were treated as witches and hunted down. So they learned to hide amongst us.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-my-desk
I just reread this book from my childhood. It was as wonderful as I had remembered. Yes, it's a bit sentimental and moralistic but that didn't bother me then and it doesn't bother me now. I'm going to reread all four of the Zena Henderson books I after another...immersing myself in a more kind and sane world than the one around me.
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is SF only really on the surface. It's about estrangement and about people who don't fit in with others. There are elements in the book that deal with prejudice. It's not normally my cup of tea but I enjoyed it. It's generally rather slowly paced. I haven't read the others from this series and I'd probably like them. But I don't terribly often feel the urge for something of this type.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multiple-read
Zenna henderson is a wonderful writer and one that I hope that one-day I will be just as good.

Her books are the sort that at the end my heart feels like it will burst out of my chest with joy.

This is not a normal book.
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, collected
re-read just the stories and "Lea" that comprised this from Ingathering & The People Collection 10/21/2013-10/26/2013
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. 70's SF series about The People. [s] 5 21 Jan 03, 2018 09:15AM  

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Zenna Chlarson Henderson was born on November 1, 1917 in the Tucson, Arizona area. She graduated from Arizona State in 1940 with a Bachelors degree in education and worked as a teacher in Arizona throughout her life. She died on May 11, 1983, at the age of 65, in Tucson.

Henderson is known almost entirely for short stories about "The People." The People are a race of sensitive, human-looking alien

Other books in the series

The People (4 books)
  • The People: No Different Flesh (The People)
  • Ingathering: The Complete People Stories
  • A Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction
“The words are the words of English, but the sense is the sense of confusion.” 5 likes
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