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Still Forms on Foxfield Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1980

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st, First Edition edition (March 12, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345287622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345287625
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,827,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John M. Chambers on December 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I remember reading this back in the 80's, some time after reading True Names, and thinking that she not only published earlier but likely got closer to true prophecy. I've reread it recently, and found that it stands up. In fact, its predictions of a wired world are just now coming true, though she wrote about them as happening centuries in the future. The main plot is about an isolated Quaker commune on another planet that is suddenly faced with an arriving ship full of people from Earth, who start handing out a piece of jewelry that is a combined health monitor and comm device, putting them in instant contact with all other humans who exist. The story is partly about their struggle for survival on a planet not designed for humans, and their coming to terms with an interesting alien species (a sort of intelligent plant with a hive mind). Meanwhile, they now are faced with the impact of full electronic contact with some very friendly humans who are by now nearly as alien as the aliens, who don't understand them or the local aliens, and are more concerned with assimilation than with understanding. And, as a bonus, there are feminist (and lesbian) subplots to complicate matters.
It's not space opera. But if you want psych-social ideas, alien contact, and an early concept of the Net that may come true in the next decade or so, this is a book you might want to find. Too bad it's out of print.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not space opera. While some of the conflicts have wide implications, Slonczewski keeps the focus narrow- on THIS colony, and THESE issues. I really like that. I am getting bored with sf that always seem to have to Save The Universe!!! and prefer things on a more human scale.

The culture clashes are depicted very thoughtfully- the ones the colonists had with the aliens (mostly historical); the ones the colonists had with the Authority that swept in and demanded allegience, and the ones said Authority had with the aliens. One could see and sympathize with all the various motivations, and that made it fascinating to me.

Nothing super-dramatic happens. It's about the small stuff- the stuff that makes up our lives- like, figuring out how to negotiate with those very, very different. In some ways, it reminded me of Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" in terms of culture clash, and there is not higher praise I can give.

Don't read it for the explosions, which are rare and not plot-central. Read it for the interactions, and the hope that entities with good hearts can find common ground.
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Format: Paperback
Slonczewski’s work remains unusual in the field because of the way she puts her Quaker values into dynamic, absorbing stories like A Door Into Ocean. Foxfield is a newly colonized world inhabited by - you guessed It - Quakers. My husband is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and many of the Friends I have met there would be vastly amused by the portrayal of their co-religionists as dour, humorless people who insist upon wearing funny hats. Many of the traditions and customs of Quakers in community, such as seeking for unity instead of imposing a decision by voting, suggest a fascinating basis for a new society. All is not without conflict, however, both within the colony — people being people, no matter what their religious principles — and from renewed contact with Terran civilization. The simplicity of the Quaker agrarian life inevitably clashes with the seductive lure of technology. In reading this book I was struck by how many assumptions underly portrayals of life in the future, particularly on colony planets where people are creating their societies de novo. How many of these new worlds are but carbon copies of the worst of Western civilization? To be sure, other writers have portrayed worlds on which socialism, anarchism, or old-fashioned monarchy take the place of representative democracy. Slonczewski’s work stands out because she bases her new societies upon a tradition that is not only religious, it is a way of life and of relating to other human beings that is already over three hundred years old. I found the thought-provoking and satisfying, although I wonder how much of my reaction comes from my acquaintance with Quakerism. Perhaps someone to whom the Quakers mean no more than a white-haired man in a funny hat on a cereal box might feel otherwise, but I believe this book has held up well over the decades since its publication and is worth seeking out.
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Format: Paperback
This is an unusual and solidly written novel. The plot is the rediscovery of a small Quaker colony on Tau Ceti by a technologically advanced and somewhat intolerant Earth society. The confrontation between Quaker quietism and the Earth society is handled very well. Particularly good, however, are the unusual aliens that the author introduces as a crucial plot element. These are some of the most creative non-humans ever featured in a science fiction novel. This novel, like several of Slonczewski's books, deserves to be known better.
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A classis science fiction first contact story about aliens who are really alien (not humanoids with minimal differences from Earth-humans). Has a bonus for Quaker readers of discussing faithfulness to core values versus recreation of the trappings of early Quakerism. This copy was donated to the library of Bloomington Friends Meeting, the unprogrammed Quaker Meeting in Bloomington, Indiana.
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