This is the first volume in the series of novels Doris Lessing calls collectively Canopus in Argos: Archives. Presented as a compilation of documents, reports. Jul 22, Shikasta, the first in what would become five science fiction novels by Doris Lessing, begins with a journey in to the pre-history of the planet. Nov 18, Doris Lessing takes risks, but does not play games. One does not turn to her books for humor or wit or playfulness, nor will one find in them any.

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This is a polarity universe and thus there are dark tyrannical forces that find ways to infest even the most flourishing of planetary colonies. Lessing’s themes here are only more vital today at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, about 40 years after the books were written.

I bought it in hardcover and two of the subsequent novels in the series as well. After all, the power of speculative fiction lies in its ability to analyze cultural phenomena taken out of their politically bound context, hopefully resulting in unbiased and fresh conclusions. The diaries of Rachel are incredibly well written and moving.

Apparently Lessing meant to draw parallels with the Sufis here. Archiveas a framework that enables me to tell I hope a beguiling tale or two; to put questions, both to myself and to others; to explore ideas and sociological possibilities.

Retrieved 28 March It has been a desire parading as fear, yearnings disguised as warnings. The writing style is way too wordy to me, the sentences too long where they don’t necessarily have to be. Witing in the Los Angeles Times. The “sci” in this sci fi is on the light side.

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shiksata View all 5 comments. For Love is what holds the universe shilasta. View all 9 comments. Canopus incorporates everything mankind should aim for. I think I’m just reading the wrong Doris because I know people love her but this was the boringest thing ever. Shinn wrote in her book, Worlds Within Women: Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school such as Oliv Both of her parents were British: Sirius hosts another more materialistically orientied space age civilization that will be thematized in the third volume.


My complaint, then, is not that Doris Lessing’s new novel the first of a tetralogy is a forecast of doom. The busiest of the Canopean envoys is Johor, from whose reports we get much of the action.

But, I know, it’s a large commitment of time. If you want great Lessing, read anything by her that’s realist.

dorks If this isn’t true, she could have least given me something novel to work on instead of repeating all this history I already know about and all these outdated jargon that means as much to me on a logical level as the tooth fairy or the boogeyman. I read this as part of book club.

But soon after Johar’s first journey to our world, Rohanda will become Shikasta, “the broken”, a fallen world, sheared from the “galactic Lock” that has brought it peace and development, and exploited by the evil empire of Shammat.

Rereading it now i felt differently, it was both a lot easier but also a lot less impressive.

Biblical Narratives in Doris Lessing’s Shikasta | Journey to the Sea

I read this book shortly after it was first published. To ask other readers questions about Replease sign up. Johor returns, but this time through Zone 6 [nb 1] from which he is born on the planet incarnated as a Shikastan, George Sherban. Over and over again, people who have been kept on the move mentally, always having to defend and sharpen and refine their perceptions of events, will suddenly find themselves in a spotlight focussed on them by the many publicity machines, will be made national figures, will be frozen, in fact, in public attitudes.


And, since this is the fifth of five I like the defensive way the Canopeans react to the Earthpeople’s complaints about how they’ve been abandoned by their heavenly leaders. I started reading this on a trip, and it was probably only because I was on a trip that I powered through it. But I have incredibly bizarre tastes, and I like to think about things that almost anyone else would consider way to outlandish for contemplation.

The planet Shikasta is clearly recognizable as Earth. It’s an invention”, and they replied, “Ah, you’re just testing us”. There’s a problem loading this menu right now.

But it was the Canopus in Argus sequence, identified by Lessing as her most important work, that the Nobel committee recognised when describing their author as “the epicist of the female experience”. This book is not one i would recommend to most people. He often speaks of being ‘affected’ by ’emanations’ and circumstances on Shikasta, and ‘The Archivists’ who narrate the various extracts from Canopean official documents comment on Johor’s judgement.

Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta by Doris Lessing

An accident occurred a few thousand years ago, since when the Puttiorans have been doing alarmingly well and the Canopeans have been fighting a desperate rearguard action. I didn’t now this until now, so I guess that’s one thing that I’ve learned from this book. To make the planet useful to their interests, Canopus imported an alien species to speed up the evolution of the native Shikastan species. Humans living under this way of thinking pursued the only good they could conceive: Want to Read saving….