Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking read
It took me 3 tries over 2 years to get beyond page 50 -- but it was well worth the effort. Since I don't generally read SF, I initially had a hard time envisioning the future world that Gloss describes -- the sails, the ship, the neighborhoods, etc. Ultimately they were incidental to the plot; this is a novel about the lives of people and the decisions they make...
Published on June 4, 2001

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written, but Lacks Focus
This book came up during a discussion of multiple, limited third-person points of view. I had wanted to find some books that did this well by authors who were considered stylists. Once this book was mentioned, it caught my interest enough to check it out.

This is one of those books that easily falls into the realm of literary science fiction. The focus here is...
Published on October 15, 2006 by S. S. White


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written, but Lacks Focus, October 15, 2006
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
This book came up during a discussion of multiple, limited third-person points of view. I had wanted to find some books that did this well by authors who were considered stylists. Once this book was mentioned, it caught my interest enough to check it out.

This is one of those books that easily falls into the realm of literary science fiction. The focus here is on writing style and character, and there is barely, and I do mean barely, a thread of plot that holds this book together. In truth, this book is more of an exploration of what it's like to live on a generation ship, told through through the perspective of five characters.

It's rich in setting. That's probably the most noteworthy thing about this book. The attention to setting, detail, and world-building. You can't put this book down without the sense of experiencing a singular culture that's as real as anything else, and by real I mean human: there's truly hardship and heartache, and something that I truly appreciate in this is that the humanity of these characters isn't ignored in favor of technology and all its wonders.

The culture focuses on a group of Esperanto-speaking Quakers. I don't find this book heavy in religion so much as I find that religion (like in life) plays a role in these peoples' lives. Instead, the central focus of this novel is the exploration of the "New World" (a rocky-strewn planet with a pervading sense of grey) and whether or not to continue living upon the generational ship of The Dusty Miller or to settle. But like I said, this plot point is a very thin one.

This story is more about human hardship, and that hardship details everything from marriage, politics, suicides, etc. While the characters were well-depicted, none of them stood out to me in a visceral manner. In truth, I never felt a resolution at any point in the story. I saw one reviewer refer to this as a collection of vignettes, which I feel is an apt description.

While well-written, this book was a tedious read and not to my tastes (and this is coming from someone who usually LIKES character-focused, literary SF novels). It's incredibly heavy on the exposition and setting, and I longed for a faster pace, and more places between chapters to take a break. I also had a problem grasping any sense of time passed between chapters, as there seemed to be large jumps between. And in terms of direction, you think you know where the novel's going, but then it zags in a completely different direction. In that, perhaps it's the imitative fallacy of life: you never know what you're going to get.

Still, I think given the religious footing of this novel, I would have rather seen a somewhat subtle allegory: many times The Dusty Miller is referred to as Eden, and there could've have been a very fascinating tale come out of that, had that been the focus.

So while I'm glad to have read this book as a study in point of view, 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 novels than this, which has a distinct lack of cause-and-effect. Which isn't a bad thing, per se, but it's something to be aware of before settling down with this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking read, June 4, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
It took me 3 tries over 2 years to get beyond page 50 -- but it was well worth the effort. Since I don't generally read SF, I initially had a hard time envisioning the future world that Gloss describes -- the sails, the ship, the neighborhoods, etc. Ultimately they were incidental to the plot; this is a novel about the lives of people and the decisions they make.
Some readers have written that it's a "woman's" book. I think that's entirely off base. There are some central female characters but there are central male characters as well. I thought it was fascinating to learn about the Quakers, the dilemmas they faced, their interaction, their decision making processes, etc. It was a very very interesting book and throughly engrossing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, slow, hard to figure out?, March 3, 2002
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Hardcover)
This must be one of the more unconventional approaches to SF in general and generation ships in particular.
The story is slow-moving. We get into the heads of about five different viewpoint characters of different ages, sexes and professions, and stay with them for large parts of the book. In the end, I have a pretty good idea about life on the generation ship; how it works, how they reach decisions, what they eat, how they marry, how they date and how they simply live together. Nothing really exciting ever happens, it's a very calm, steady story.
This feels very different from most other SF I've read, where something *happens*. Here, I came away from the story with an understanding of life on the ship, but not much more. I don't know if there IS more to take from this book and I just haven't found it yet (that's what I suspect), or if that's actually what the story is about.
I liked the use of Esperanto names and phrases, it made for a nice background. The technological background seemed okay to me. It blended nicely into the general framework of the story.
Only four stars, because the ending left me musing over the story and what exactly it all meant, and I still haven't made up my mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read . . engrossing, April 19, 2006
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
I must enter a review to address the comments of other reviewers. First, I don't believe this novel was ever intended to be "typical SF". Molly Gloss writes about deeply rooted issues having to do with relationships and people's lives. Dazzle of Day turned out to be a most entertaining story because she explores the interaction of people in the face of crisis and challenge and she set it in a world well beyond the ordinary. The setting enhanced the personalities, the challenges and the gripping details for the reader. I found her descriptions of the ship, the agriculture, the homes, the people to be fascinating. Don't read this as a SF novel. Read it as an analysis of people facing fear, conflict and uncertainty. In short, people facing life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves Wider Readership; 4.5 Stars, April 10, 2011
By 
R. Albin (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
This novel deserves to be better known. Something of an allegory about our present environmental problems, The Dazzle of Day uses one of the classic SF plot devices, the generation ship. After generations of travel, the residents of a generation ship arrive at their destination. The target planet is habitable, but life on the new earth will not be easy. Do they disembark and settle? Do they set off for a secondary target? Or do they stay on the generation ship as a familiar small community and postpone the decision to their descendants? The potential colonists are a community of Quakers who left a turbulent and environmentally decaying Earth generations earlier. This is primarily a psychological novel featuring several different characters and their personal lives. The overarching themes are the nature of their community and the challenges of meeting the demands of a pantheistically oriented Quakerism. The quality of writing is simply excellent with first rate characterization and some outstanding descriptive writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As boring as it is beautiful, August 5, 2004
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
I found this book through a recommendation by Ursula LeGuin, as I have found several of my favorites before this, so I was overjoyed to finally lay my hands on it. And then it took me almost as long to read it as it did to obtain it. It may be worth reading if you have a lot of patience.

The whole book might as well have been written from the perspective of a single character. The small details of their interactions and internal workings felt real, but in the scheme of things I could hardly tell Bjoro from Kristina from Juko. They have grudges and feuds without having more than superficial flaws. The only character who caught my attention was Cejo for his sexuality and his deviant views on marriage, and even those were glossed over. No matter their sexes or relative ages, all of the characters have the feel of your longwinded, rambling grandmother reminiscing about times past.

The subject matter is often inherently colorful, but everything--from rape to love to the descriptions of geological features--is filtered through the gray lens of the author's unhurried, uninterested prose. The whole thing is just unapologetically boring. In one ironic part, the author describes for us how bored and impatient Kristina becomes while reading over the minute-by-minute accounts of the Quaker Meetings, and then treats us to thirteen pages of just such a minute-by-minute account of a Meeting. And it's every bit as dull as Kristina found it.

That said, the writing *is* gorgeous and because of it the scenes are often touching despite themselves. I was moved almost to tears by a part in which Bjoro lies on the grass remembering the feel of his long-dead son (note that nothing happens here except lying and remembering). What Dazzle never moved me to was laughter. I cannot recall one instance where the book shed its ponderous dignity long enough to just be amusing. The style often reminded me of dense poetry--it may become beautiful and meaningful after you read it five times, but it's excruciatingly laborious to get to that point. And while I can take it in small doses--like poems--it's not what I'm looking for in a novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, Fresh Take On the Multigenerational Starship Saga, September 10, 2001
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
This is indeed an engrossing, character-driven tale of life aboard a multigenerational starship, told from the perspective of several women at the onset of the journey, towards the end of the voyage, and once the colonists have disembarked. Molly Gloss' sparse, lyrical prose is quite akin to Ursula K. Le Guin's. Much to her credit, Ms. Gloss gives an invigoratingly fresh look at the old multigenerational starship saga, told from the viewpoint of the common folk, not the community leaders or the starship's command crew. Anyone interested in a mature vision of science fiction shall not be disappointed with this slender tone. I eagerly await publication of Ms. Gloss' subsequent science fiction novels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars grand scale, beautifully told, sci-fi for mature readers, July 5, 2001
By 
David Morse (storrs, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
If you are twenty-something or even thirty-something you may not be ready for this book. It starts slowly; the first third is rather static, but the book builds and keeps building to a beautiful conclusion. Intelligently fanticized, Whitmanesque in its reach, The Dazzle of Day stands with the best of Ursulla leGuin in its depiction of a future world in which relationships limn our humanity, and in which courage and staying power are exhibited as much in the quotidian facts of survival and our flashes of insight as in our grander ambitions. This is about marriage and community and one's place on the earth. I recommend it highly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quaker on Quakers..., August 3, 2000
By 
Stephen H. James "StJamesJr" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Paperback)
Being a Quaker I was stunned when this book was given to me by a friend. Molly Gloss captures the essence of Quaker (known within as the Society of Friends) society. It is a fascinating book which uses the tool of science fiction, the suspension of disbelief, to examine the human condition. Thought provoking and deeply human, I found this book drew me in. It is not for those who are into fast ships and nifty gadgets. I highly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite read this year� visionary and human, June 9, 1998
This review is from: The Dazzle of Day (Hardcover)
The Dazzle of Day is a wonderful, wonderful book. I feel Gloss approaches the same place Le Guin does in, say, Always Coming Home and which McIntyre does in Dreamsnake. She hands me an egalitarian future and then deals with how a genuinely egalitarian society might function. How are decisions made? How is the sense of community, the needs for support, love, family, privacy, maintained? I was thoroughly charmed by this novel. Each chapter is told in limited third person from a new character's point of view, though occasional characters are revisited later. The emphasis is on older women (though perhaps I particularly warmed to the presence of a few of them and assumed they were being emphasized). The opening is a woman just down the road, elderly and without children, trying to make the decision to voyage off into space with a colony ship from earth. This is a post-holocaust sf novel, the world is in a sorry state. The next chapter jumps ahead 170 years to another mature woman who faces with her community the discovery of a marginally habitable planet. Do they deplane and begin a new life on this chilly unknown world or keep looking while enjoying a relatively easy and carefree shipboard existance? The final chapter again plunges us forward to a mature woman rescuing survivers of a downed space shuttle bringing salvage from that same colony ship. In between Gloss shows me fathers and mothers, husbands and wives; she visits passion, compassion, and a rape; she takes me into selfish, frightened, and courageous hearts. I care about these people and their lives and dreams. The Dazzle of Day has the same plain-spoken grit of Jump off Creek but is richer and more poetic, more hopeful in the broader story it tells. This is not one woman making solitary decisions, but individuals struggling to keep the human heart alive in community.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Dazzle of Day
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (Paperback - March 15, 1998)
$17.99 $13.86
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.