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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The first hundred or so pages can be summed up as: Dawes rated it did not like it. In creating these archives, Doris Lessing has made use stories found in the Hebrew Bible.

The basic point I heard from the author is that we humans all have a bond with each other that should be stronger than the many differences cultural, religious, historical, etc. The best a Shikastan can do is struggle to thrive and support her brothers and sisters against all the odds, and wait for leseing return of Canopus. This is the first volume in the series of novels Doris Lessing calls collectively Canopus in Argos: She described The Sufis as “the most surprising book [she] had read”, and said it “changed [her] life”.

Doris Lessing’s first novel in the Canopus in Argo series, ‘Re: Randy works as a freelance web developer in Dallas, Texas.

Summer voyages: Shikasta Re: Colonised Planet 5 by Doris Lessing

It would not have allowed her glance to swivel so effortlessly back and forth in time and space. Doris Kessing is a Sufi, a mystic at heart.


Canopus in Argos 1. I read this book in my twenties, and loved it. The first five percent where OK, and I thought it might develop into something interesting, but, alas it didn’t.

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Moreover the critique to the evils of colonialism is rendered ineffective by the actions of Canopus, that while presented as morally superior and god-like, treats Shikastan as the most horrible of the colonialist ever was: This is I really wanted to like this but it was just too dull. Novel by Doris Lessing. However, a statement she makes in the preface of the book convinces me she is doing something more subtle: Views Read Edit View history. Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia, inshimasta moved with her family to southern Rhodesia when she was five years old.

That sounds pretty hippy-dippy, which the books are not. He often speaks of being ‘affected’ by ’emanations’ and circumstances on Shikasta, and ‘The Archivists’ who narrate the roris extracts from Canopean official documents comment on Johor’s judgement. And that is sufficient reason in itself to regret that reality has grown soft for Doris Lessing, whose other main characters seldom failed to move us, one way or the other.

Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists “who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read. I neither found a coherent story, nor any characters to care for, and parts of it is too much of a lecture to me.

Presented as a compilation of documents, reports, letters, speeches and journal entries, this purports to be a general study of the planet Shikasta, clearly the planet Earth, to be used by history students of the higher planet Canopus and to be stored in the Canopian archives. In Shikasta, Lessing challenges us to consider that we may be both.


In Shikasta this same event is depicted as a planet-wide conference, secretly organized by the evil Shammat. After all, the dorid 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. Chen Liu, the humane and cultured Governor-General of Europe, who in his letters home to Peking tries hopelessly to justify mercy on the grounds of expediency but still wastes no time in ordering the execution of troublemakers, is one of Dorls Lessing’s best creations.

This page was last edited on 11 Octoberat But then, Lessing’s “Briefing for a Descent into Hell” was hard, and worth the trouble. Lessing was a student of Sufism and Idries Sha This is a very depressing book, an alternate take on human history, but I like being miserable so I dug it.

We are, as Lessing describes the basic sickness of Shikasta, a world with “too little Spirit of We Feeling”. There was so many stories that did nothing for the theme of the book.

Shikasta – Wikipedia

And then there is the bomb. Shikasta represented a major shift of focus for Lessing, influenced by spiritual and mystical themes in Sufism. Her entire ideology is some frightful all-or-nothing choice between total individualism, self-interest and greed and absolutely losing oneself in the collective we remember that “substance-of-we-feeling”? The spiritual truths taught by Canopean agents shikastw the Shikastan natives can be found in places throughout the Hebrew Bible: