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Quaker Science Fiction
This annotated bibliography list, a subset derived from the Adherents.com Religion in Literature database, is intended as a resource for literary research. It lists mainstream science fiction and fantasy novels, short stories and movies (speculative fiction) which contain references to Quakers (or "Friends," i.e., members of religious bodies derived from the original Religious Society of Friends). It is not necessarily a comprehensive list of such literature, but all Hugo- and Nebula-winning novels have been indexed.
This list does not necessarily include every reference to Quakers within each work. Each novel or story is listed only once, with a brief explanation or sample quote. Most works include only one reference, which is given. If a work contains multiple references, this is noted in the listing.
It is interesting to note that references to Quakers in science fiction/fantasy literature are fairly common given the relatively small number of Quakers in the world. There are more significant works of science fiction about Quakers, or with significant references to Quakers, than there are to many much larger denominations, such as Presbyterians, Methodists, or Lutherans.
One reason why Quakers have been written about more frequently than some other groups is that they have historically had many distinctive cultural and theological characteristics which have distinguished them from other Protestant denominations. This remains true even today, at a time when most writers can detect no differences worth mentioning between mainstream Protestant groups. Such Quaker traits as their well-known pacifism and emphasis on "inner light" have caught the imagination on many writers. Quaker pacifism, especially, has been used as an interesting plot point and source of compelling literature, as writers have thrust Quaker-based groups into situations in which an armed defense would be the normal solution.
Science fiction writers may also be drawn to Quakers as subjects because of the long history among Quakers of openness to scientific thought, and the impressive accomplishments of Quaker scientists (such as John Dalton and Joseph Lister). There are examples of highly positive attitudes toward science among some other religious groups, such as Jews, Latter-day Saints, Unitarians, and (in certain periods and places) Catholics and Muslims. But a culture of people actively religious while simultaneously actively pro-science has been less common among Protestant groups.
Finally, Quakers have a strong literary tradition, a deep appreciation of education, and no theological proscriptions against writing science fiction. These factors have produced some strong Quaker fiction writers, and even a few Quaker science fiction writers, such as the early science fiction grandmaster Olaf Stapledon. Best-selling fantasy writer Piers Anthony was raised in a devout Quaker family. Also, at least two adult writers have converted to Quakerism and subsequently used Quakers as subject matter in their fiction: Joan Slonczewski and David Morse.
George Fox... founded the Society of Friends, also called Quakers because we were said to quake before the Lord. But our guiding principle is not quaking, rather it is the knowledge which in every person is the inner light that enables him to communicate directly with God...
-- From Piers Anthony
Vision of Tarot
Current number of novels, movies and stories in list: 43.
References in bold are those with the most extensive references to Quakers.
Sample Quote and/or Description
|Poul Anderson ||
The Boat of a Million Years. New York: Tor (1989)
The dark man spat. "How many like that you got around here? They're all runaways, and you damn well know it, Quaker"
"Lying is against the principles of the Society of Friends. Now kindly let me get on with my work."
This novel has other references to Quakers, such as on page 206.
|Piers Anthony ||
Faith of Tarot. New York: Berkley Books (10th printing 1986; 1st ed. 1980)
Just as the derogatory term "black" had come in the mid-twentieth century to be a mark of pride for those affected, so had the term "nigger" by the turn of the century. The same thing had happened earlier with the "Quakers" and no doubt would happen in future centuries too.
"...I can see that much of your [Waldensian] philosophy of religion has come down to my own time and has been incorporated into the faiths of my world... The Quakers honor the direct relation between man and God, calling it the 'Inner Light'..."
|Piers Anthony ||
Vision of Tarot. New York: Berkley Books (1985; 1st ed. 1980)
One passage has an extensive retelling of the origins of Quakerism. An excerpt is included here, but there is much more. Pages 32-33:
...George Fox was grieved that people who made a profession of religion should act this way, rivaling each other in inebriation at the expense of the more restrained, though this was perhaps typical of societies at that time and since. Disturbed, he laid a groat on the tale, saying "If it be so, I'll leave you." He was sleepless that night, praying to God for the answer, and God commanded him to forsake that life and be as a stranger to all. So he went, steadfast though Satan tempted him, and in time he founded the Society of Friends, also called Quakers because we were said to quake before the Lord. but our guiding principle is not quaking, rather it is the knowledge which in every person is the inner light that enables him to communicate directly with God, so that he requires no minister or priest or any other intercessory to forward his private faith, and no ritual or other service. God is with us all, always; we have but to turn our attention inward in silence.
...Protestant groups, and the latter into multiple splits. The Lutherans, the Calvinists, Episcopals, Presbyterians, Puritans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Quakers, Methodists...
|Margaret Atwood ||
The Handmaid's Tale. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin (1986)
The ring has been smuggling precious national resources over the border into Canada.
"Five members of the heretical sect of Quakers have been arrested," he says, smiling blandly, "and more arrests are anticipated."
Two of the Quakers appear onscreen, a man and a woman. They look terrified, but they're trying to preserve some dignity in front of the camera. The man has a large dark mark on his forehead; the woman's veil has been torn off, and her hair falls in strands over her face. Both of them are about fifty.
...found his way to a nearby farmhouse, was allowed in, with suspicion at first, but then when they understood who he was, they were friendly, not the sort who would turn him in, perhaps they were Quakers, they will smuggle him inland, from house to house, the woman made him some hot coffee and gave him a set of her husband's clothes.
"I chose them because they were a married couple, and those were safer than anyone single and especially anyone gay. Also I remembered the designation beside their name. Q, it said, which meant Quaker. We had the religious denominations marked where there were any, for marches. That way you could tell who might turn out to what. It was no good calling on the C's to do abortion stuff, for instance; not that we'd done much that lately..."
"The other house was Quakers too, and they were pay dirt, because they were a station on the Underground Femaleroad. After the first man left, they said they'd try to get me out of the country. I won't tell you how, because some of the stations may still be operating..."
"It was before the sectarian roundups began in earnest. As long as you said you were some sort of a Christian and you were married, for the first time that is, they [Christian Fundamentalist regime that gained control of the country] were still leaving you pretty much alone. They were concentrating first on the others. They got them more or less under control before the started in everybody else.
"I was underground it must have been eight or nine months. I was taken from one safe house to another, there were more of those then. They weren't all Quakers, some of them weren't even religious. They were just people who didn't like the way things were going."
|John Barnes ||
Kaleidoscope Century. New York: Tor (1995)
...the cybertaoists were highly principled and at least as pacifistic as the old Quakers. (Who, of course, were all Ecucatholics now.)
|John Calvin Batchelor ||
The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica. New York: Dial Press (1983)
(Grandfather said that Golgotha was built on the ashes of an American Quaker camp.)
|Gregory Benford ||
Against Infinity. New York: Timescape Books (1983)
The short woman shrugged. "Going to be a Settlement, man, you got to learn to wait people out. Hear what they got to say. Not enough to have a majority rule, y'know. Otherwise, the minority won't be convinced and they won't support the plan. No point havin' people at your elbow who're against what you're doing'. So we just talk it out Quaker-style till ever'body agrees. More efficient in the long run."
|Gregory Benford ||
Foundation's Fear. New York: HarperCollins (1997)
Referring to the milieu Voltaire in France, pg. 89:
"In essences, certainly. The Maid dared cling to her vision with her whole heart, despite bullying by church and state. Her devotion to her vision, unlike mine, bore no taint of perverseness. she was the first true Protestant. I've always preferred Protestants to papist absolutists--until I took up residence in Geneva, only to discover their public hatred of pleasure is as great as any pope's. Only Quakers do not privately engage in what they publicly claim to abjure. Alas, a hundred true believers cannot redeem millions of hypocrites."
|Alfred Bester ||
The Stars My Destination. New York: Berkley Publishing (1975; c. 1956)
And then -- Dolly Quaker, Jean Webster, Gwynn Roget...
|Michael Bishop ||
The Secret Ascension; or, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. New York: Tor (1987)
"But it's my understanding... that you'd be in a monastery--monkeyhouses, I affectionately called them when I was a Quaker..."
|Bradley Denton ||
Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede. New York: William Morrow and Co. (1991)
Because I was wearing my helmet, my voice sounded as though I were shouting from inside a Quaker oatmeal box.
|Louise Erdrich ||
The Antelope Wife. New York: HarperCollins (1998)
Private Scranton Teodorus Roy was the youngest son of a Quaker father and a reclusive poet mother who established a small Pennsylvania community based on intelligent conversation.
[More about this character in novel, but no other references to Quakers by name.]
|Philip Jose Farmer ||
"A Scarletin Study" in Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space. (Isaac Asimov, ed.) USA: Bluejay Books (1984)
The first was a representation of a man (he looked like the risen Jesus) coming from a tomb set in the middle of some trees. To its right and a little lower was a waistcoat. Next was what looked like William Penn, the Quaker. Following it was a man [Tarzan] in a leopard loincloth with two large apes at his heels.
"Another English-German hybrid pun... Ester sounds much like Easter, hence the risen Christ. And the wood is the holz, of course..."
"And the Quaker?"
"I really don't know," I said, chagrined...
The driver obeyed, and presently Ralph said, "Ach!"
I could see nothing which reminded me of a Quaker.
"The owner of that farm is named Fuchs (fox)," I said.
"Yes, and the founder of the Society of Friends, or The Quakers, was George Fox," he said.
|William Gibson & Bruce Sterling ||
The Difference Engine. New York: Bantam (1991)
The South-Eastern Railway Company's London Bridge Terminus was a vast drafty hall of iron and soot-blown glass. Quakers moved among the avenues of benches, offering pamphlets to the seated travelers. Red-coated Irish soldiers, red-eyed rom the night's gin, glowered at the close-shaved missionaries as they passed.
A group of Quakers, men and women, stood on the pavement outside the Palace. They were droning another of their intolerable sermonizing ditties, something about a "railway to Heaven," by the sound off it. The song did not seem to have much to do with Evolution, or blasphemy, or fossils; but perhaps the sheer monotony of their bootless protests had exhausted even the Quakers. He hurried past them, ignoring their proffered pamphlets. It was hot, uncommon hot, beastly hot...
"What's his name?"
Also, pg. 175.
"Brian," Tom said. "I think . . ."
"And what, pray, is the name of that grim-looking cove below, looking so awfully much like a copper?"
"Don't you know?"
"He never gave us any proper name," Mallory broke in. "We just call him the Reverend."
...Fraser rose within the noose. "So, 'Reverend,' " said the Marquess, "what, pray might be your denomination?"
Fraser shook the rope loose and stepped out. "What do you think, gov'nor? I'm a bleedin' Quaker!"
There was evil laughter. Fraser, pretending a loutish pleasure at the others' fun, shook his gingham-masked head. "No," he rasped, "no Quaker I, for I'm a Panty-sucker!"
The laughter stopped short.
"Panty-sucker," Fraser insisted, "one o' them yellow-back Yankee ranters--"
..."A Pantisocrat, do you mean? That is to say, a lay preacher of the Susquehanna Phalanstery?"
|Molly Gloss ||
The Dazzle of Day. New York: Tor (1997). (1998 Nebula nominee)
[The novel starts on Earth, perhaps 100 years in the future, with Quakers preparing to embark on a voyage to another planet, using a generational ship. Then, 175 years later, the descendants of the original colonists are at their voyage's end. All of the character are Quakers, and Quakerism is generally portrayed very positively. It may be noted that these are the more liberal, non-Evangelical type of Quakers. The book is mostly free of potentially objectionable material such as explicit sex, violence, and offensive language. However, educators will wish to aware of a small amount of lesbianism, and a graphically described rape scene on pages 167-169, when considering this book for classroom use.]
Earth is ailing, and Quakers from various countries band together for a brave mission: build a self-sustaining spaceship, and travel to the stars to find another home. The Dazzle of Day chronicles the lives of people who grew up on the Dusty Miller and lived to see it reach its destination.
Spiritual, steady Kristina plays the middle note in Gloss's triadic exploration of the inner lives of women; Verano begins the journey from Earth, and Vintro's story comprises the finishing notes after the journey's end. Onboard the Dusty Miller, a depressive malaise spreads throughout the colonists, and Kristina's daughter-in-law Juko witnesses a suicide by a co-worker while mending the ship's solar sails. Other players include Juko's son Cejo, her quiet ex-husband Humberto, and her husband Bjoro, a scientist who visits the new planet's inhospitable surface and lives to bring back reports. The colonists, who've lived their entire lives on a small climate-controlled ship, must decide whether to adjust to life on the chilly planet, prepare to terraform a section on its surface, or continue on to search for a more suitable home.
Gloss's lyrical and leisurely prose describes the lives of the spacefarers: religion and politics, quarrels and friendships, love and despisal, illness and death. At times this science fiction feels homespun as the gentle but human Quakers strive for consensus in their community during a time of wrenching change.
|Robert A. Heinlein ||
Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons (1961)
If people must go to church, why the devil couldn't they be dignified, like Catholics, Christian Scientists, or Quakers?
|Robert Holdstock ||
Mythago Wood. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. (1984)
...and words in her Brythonic language that she briefly translated as, "Good. Easting." She had discovered a box of Quaker Oats, and had made a thick porridge with water and honey... She picked up the box and stared at the dark-robed Quaker who featured on the front, and laughed. "Meivoroth!" she said, pointing to the thick broth, and nodded vigorously. "Good."
|Stephen Hunt ||
"For it to Prosper". United Kingdom (1997)
Trantor's pacifist Quaker sensibilities would have nettled D'Corsair less if he hadn't known the man had been Newgate prison's hangman until redirecting his talents into the Invisible Hall's services.
|Gerald Jonas ||
"The Shaker Revival" in The Ruins of Earth: An Anthology of Stories of the Immediate Future. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons (1971)
ENCLOSED: Fact sheet on Old Shakers
George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, is mentioned on page 289 (the narrative refers to the year 1995):
*Foundress--Mother Ann Lee, b. Feb. 29, 1736, Manchester, England
*Antecedents--Early Puritan "seekers" (Quakers), French "Prophets" (Camisards).
In my final year [of Law School] I became interested in the literature of religion--or, to be more precise, the literature of mysticism... Purely as an intellectual diversion I began to read St. John of the Cross, George Fox, the Vedas, Tao, Zen, the Kabbala, the Sufis.
|Stephen King ||
Hearts in Atlantis. New York: Scribner (1999)
...and the decals saying FRAM and QUAKER STATE in the back windows.
|Nancy Kress ||
Crossfire. New York: Tor (2003)
"New Quakers" are one of the major groups in this novel. Some main characters are Quakers. Excerpts from review by D. Douglas Fratz (http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue304/books2.html):
Jake Holman, seeking to escape Earth's problems and his own, forms Mira Corporation and gathers together diverse groups of people to fund a one-way voyage of interstellar colonization... The diverse group includes... large contingencies of Quakers, Chinese, Cheyenne Indians and an Arabic royal family... Holman and the Quaker leader finally open peaceful communication with the aliens, biochemically interconnected plants they call Vines... The characters Kress has chosen for her colonization voyage are a group whose diversity is worthy of Kim Stanley Robinson: the pacifist Quakers, the primitivist Cheyenne... and the hardworking Chinese...
|Nancy Kress ||
Crucible. New York: Tor (2004)
Sequel to Crossfire. Does not feature Quakers in a central role (as in its predecessor), but contains many references to them.
|Ursula K. Le Guin ||
"The Grey Quaker" (poem) in Wild Oats and Fireweed, Harper & Row Perennial Library (1988)
|Maureen F. McHugh ||
"The Lincoln Train" in Alternate Tyrants (Mike Resnick, ed.) New York: Tor (1997)
They explain to Andrew and to me that we will sneak out of the train station this evening, after dark. We will spend a day with a Quaker family in St. Louis, and then they will send us on to the next family... They call it the Underground Railroad.
|Judith Moffett ||
Pennterra. New York: Congdon & Weed, Inc. (1987)
This novel, set on a Quaker-colonized world, is full of Quaker characters and references to Quaker beliefs, history, practices, etc. It stands out as one of the works of science fiction to most prominently feature Quakers. Although the culture, history, terminology and so many other things are handled respectfully and accurately by Moffett, not all people would find Pennterra an ideal introduction to Quakers.
In general, the portrayal of the Quaker society is unabashedly positive. But the Quakers of the future have changed in some ways. They have retained all of their distinctive characteristics such as extreme pacifism and tolerance, and their form of oft-silent "meetings," but they no longer consider themselves a Christian religion. The Quakerism in the book owes more to the teachings of George Fox than to the Bible, although the Quakers understand and respect the Christian culture from which their religion emerged. In fact, many of the Quakers in the colony are Jewish, and the whole community celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah each year. These Quakers also have an essentially agnostic stance on the nature of God. They do not generally believe in a personal God. In their history they have variously understood God as "the ground of being, the first over the life principle, humanity's best nature, entropy's creative antithesis, and on and on." While some contemporary Quakers will be very comfortable with this version of the faith, more conservative and/or Evangelical Quakers may not feel it descriptive of the Society as they know it (or as they prefer it).
Many people, Quakers or not, may also be unappreciative of the novel's heavy emphasis on sex, beginning in Part Two, especially the frequent child-parent incest between the novel's central Quaker characters. These events have a science fiction explanation, and take place in an alien environment which has unexpected effects on people. Nevertheless, such elements will mean that many people will not consider Pennterra the best science fiction introduction to Quakerism.
As noted, there are references to Quakers throughout the novel, only one is given here. Dozens of others are in the main database. Pg. 92:
"So everybody just sits there for an hour or so?" he was asking, and she tried to put some kindliness into her reply; being a sincere Quaker, she also honestly tried to feel more warmly toward Byron.
"Oh no, if somebody feels an impulse to speak, they do! Speaking in meeting is supposed to be strictly spontaneous, and usually it is, here in Swarthmore anyway." She gave him the friendliest smile she could manage and got a weak one in return. "The early Friends six hundred years ago, who had grown up imbued with Christian tradition, used to say they were guided or led of the Lord to speak, or pray aloud or whatever--sing, sometimes!--and they knew what they meant! Nowadays you couldn't get most of us to say what 'the Lord' is, though everybody's familiar with the history of the Society's thoughts on the subject. But... nobody'll speak tonight anyway because the hrossa will be uniting with us and w hear much better in the silence..."
|Judith Moffett ||
Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream. New York: St. Martin's Press (1992)
||2026 ||One of the novel's two main characters attended Quaker schools in Philadelphia and Maryland as a child, a fact referred to three times in the novel.
|David E. Morse ||
The Iron Bridge. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co. (1998)
The plot of The Iron Bridge has Maggie traveling back in time from the mid-21st century to England in 1773. Earth by her time has been devastated by the cumulative effects of environmental degradation and disasters, and a small group of scientists and thinkers known as Ecosophia hopes that Maggie can prevent or postpone the Industrial Revolution. Their plan is to alter the design used in the construction of the world's first iron bridge, setting the stage for its collapse when an upcoming earthquake strikes, which will undermine people's confidence in iron and associated heavy industry.
The people who own the iron mines and processing facilities, and the majority of the workers constructing the bridge, are all Quakers. As part of her mission, Maggie infiltrates the Quaker community as a maidservant, and eventually learns about and converts to Quakerism. David E. Morse, the author, is himself an adult convert to Quakerism. Quaker beliefs, culture, practices, etc. from the late 18th century are described in detail. The overall impression given is very positive. Similar to Moffett's Pennterra, Maggie (and the author) seem drawn primarily to the George Fox innovations specific to Quakerism, and are not particularly interested in any of the broader Christian theology.
Many Quakers will feel The Iron Bridge provides a good introduction to Quakerism. This may be the most accurate depiction of the subject available among science fiction novels. However, some conservative Quakers may dislike the book's liberal leanings, the emphasis on the writings of George Fox over the Bible, and the protagonist's lesbian relationship at the end of the novel.
One excerpt is provided here; more are in the main database. Pg. 113:
Quaker principles overlapped with those that guided Ecosophia. It was no accident, she realized. Quakers were among Ecosophia's original founders. Still, she was surprised to see how many of those principles were in place: Friends decided things by consensus; they were committed to nonviolence; they emphasized mindfulness and community.
And Maggie grew to like the shared silence of worship. Often an hour passed without anyone speaking, so that a simple utterance had special force. But apart from any spoken testimony, the silence itself seemed full. Trevor would have been right at home here. She supposed someday she would join the Society of Friends. But she was content for now to be simply an attender--waiting, as Abiah had made it clear she must wait, for Convincement.
"Every seed," said Abiah, "hath its time of ripening."
|Frederik Pohl ||
The World at the End of Time. New York: Ballantine (1990)
At least, he thought, with what remained of his identification as a Christian who hadn't been to a service since the landing, the Catholics and all the Protestants, even the Quakers and Unitarians, had all raised no objection to a common grave for their dead.
Not then, anyway.
Then his father went on the English Quaker, Arthur Eddington, the man who had figured out the connection between physics--stuff that people studied in laboratories on Earth--and the stars, the things that interested astronomers. You might even say, Pal Soricaine told his son, that Eddington invented the science of astrophysics.
|Frederik Pohl & |
"Quaker Cannon" in Analog (1961, vol. 8)
|Kim Stanley Robinson ||
Pacific Edge. New York: Tor (1990)
El Modena's town council had its chambers in the area's oldest building, the church on Chapman Avenue. Over the years this structure had reflected the town's fortunes like a totem. It had been built by Quakers in 1886, soon after they settled the area and cultivated it in raisin grapes. One Friend donated a big bell, which they put in a tower at the church's front end; but the bell's weight was too much for the framing, and in the first strong Santa Ana wind the whole building fell down, boom! In similar fashion grape blight destroyed the economy, so that the new town was virtually abandoned... to the re-emergence of El Modena as a town with a destiny of its own, converted it into a cramped and weird-looking city hall... Thus it finally became the center of the community that its Quaker builders had hoped it would be nearly two centuries before.
|Kim Stanley Robinson ||
Blue Mars. New York: Bantam Books (1996)
One night she even got carried away and agreed to run for Odessa's seat in the global senate, as a member of the Terran Society of Friends, if they couldn't find a more viable candidate... she escaped that, and went on doing what she could to help the Earth Quakers less actively...
|Kim Stanley Robinson ||
The Gold Coast. New York: Tor (1995; c. 1988)
They were parked in front of the El Torito restaurant at the end of the Hewes Mall. "This El Terriblo incorporates the oldest building in the area," Jim explains. "It was a Quaker church, built in 1887. They put a big bell in the tower, but it was too heavy and during the next Santa Ana wind the whole building fell over. So they built it again. Anyway, you can't tell now, the restaurant is built over it and they use the old room as a casino. But it gives me a coordinate point, see, on the old maps. And exactly a hundred and forty yards west of hear, on the other side of the street, is the site of El Modena Elementary School, built in 1905."
[More, page 239.]
|Rudy Rucker ||
The Secret of Life. New York: Bluejay International (1985)
"They'd have a Quaker service."
Right before the talk, with everyone still sitting down, they always had a minute of silence, a legacy of Swarthmore's Quaker beginnings.
|Carter Scholz ||
"Radiance" in New Legends. Greg Bear (ed.) New York: Tor (1995)
"They'd have a Quaker service."
Oh, I know how people get caught up in their work. I have a friend there, not in Radiance, in another section. He's a Quaker, he calls it "being in the world." I can respect that, at least he's thought about it. How did you get into it?
|Joan Slonczewski ||
A Door into Ocean. New York: Arbor House (1986)
The author, a Quaker, has based the central religious-cultural group of this novel partially on Quakerism. Note particularly the pacifism of the Sharers. Quakers are not mentioned by name. From book jacket:
A Door into Ocean. Thousands of years in the future in a distant part of the galaxy, lies the planet Shora, entirely covered by a world-spanning ocean. The huge and complex ecosystem of Shora is inhabited by the Sharers, an all female race who reproduce by parthenogensis, without males. The Sharers are immensely sophisticated in the life sciences, but have eschewed all unnatural technology. Over millennia of isolation, they have developed a complex philosophical and ethical system, idealistic, communal, and pacifist... So begins a war, protracted and graphic, in which one side cannot fight because the concept is inconceivable in their philosophy...
|Joan Slonczewski ||
Still Forms on Foxfield (Avon, 1988; first pub. 1980)
Excerpts from review by James Schellenberg (http://home.golden.net/~csp/cd/reviews/foxfield.htm):
A group of Quakers have been living on the planet Foxfield for a century, believing Earth destroyed in World War III... a new Earth government contacts the residents of Foxfield, claiming authority over them... issues are further complicated by the presence of alien Commensals, living in cooperation with the Quakers... Slonczewski's characters always seem most comfortable discussing Quaker dilemmas or the dilemmas of science... The inclusion of Quaker concerns lifts Slonczewski's story above run-of-the-mill science fiction, and gives it an extra depth that the typical sf plots do not have.
|Joan Slonczewski ||
The Wall Around Eden (William Morrow & Co., 1989)
Excerpts from Publishers Weekly review
Two decades after a nuclear war, small enclaves survive the destruction of the ozone layer, somewhat protected by walls of air established by the alien floating globes that the radiation-contaminated humans call angelbees. Isabel Garcia-Chase comes of age in Gwynwood in what was formerly Pennsylvania, rebelling against the angelbees... While Isabel and others believe the angelbees either caused the devastation or at least exacerbated it, the Quakers who mostly populate Gwynwood see them as saviors. After an act of rebellion, Isabel and her new husband, Daniel Scattergood, are taken into the Pylon and they begin to learn more about the aliens. Slonczewski writes a thoughtful and unusual after-the-holocaust novel, strongly infused with the Quaker outlook.
|Peter Straub ||
Koko. New York: E. P. Dutton (1988)
...the wrapper from a Quaker Oats Granola Bar...
|Daniel Turner ||
Twillinger's Voyage. U.K.: Sessions of York/Ebor (2001)
Back book jacket:
GIirard ("Jerry") Twillinger is a 22nd Century Gulliver. Like the hero of Swift's satirical classic, he unexpectedly finds himself visiting a country of unusual little people -- The Zini. Forty thousand years traveling time from their home planet, these Zini have lived quietly hidden from human awareness for a long time, just beyond the orbit of Mars, in a habitat that outwardly resembles the neighboring asteroids. When Jerry discovers their "counterplanet" by accident, he begins a voyage of discovery, which is usually suspenseful, while increasingly thought provoking, and often hilarious. Although Zini society is millions of years old, its people are enough like us that they are obliged to keep themselves under control by a multi-layered system of checks and balances. Jerry comes to understand this system through a lengthy step by step process as he stubbornly seeks to prove that humans, too, are capable of being civilized! Only when he finally understands the society in its full complexity does Jerry discover that the underlying premise conditioning his voyage has been a well-hidden philosophy of "friendly persuasion" -- the classic method of Quakers.
Web site: www.twillingersvoyage.com
|T. H. White ||
The Once and Future King. New York: Ace Books (1996; c. 1939, 1940, 1958)
||~ 1100 C.E. ||
"The pigeon," said Archimedes, "is a kind of Quaker. She dresses in grey. A dutiful child, a constant lover, and a wise parent, she knows, like all philosophers, that the hand of every man is against her. She has learned throughout the centuries to specialize in escape. No pigeon has ever committed an act of aggression nor turned upon her persecutors: but no bird, likewise, is so skillful in eluding them. She has learned to drop out of a tree on the opposite side to man, and to fly low so that there is a hedge between them. No other bird can estimate a range so well... the pigeons coo to one another with true love, nourish their cunningly hidden children with true solicitude, and flee from the aggressor with true philosophy--a race of peace lovers continually caravaning away from the destructive Indian in covered wagons. They are loving individualists surviving against the forces of massacre only by wisdom in escape."
|Walter Jon Williams ||
Days of Atonement. New York: Tor (1991)
"I'm an atheist, so I'm not exactly an authority on matters theological." He fell silent for a moment, then added irrelevantly, "I was raised Quaker, though."
"I was raised Baptist," Kurita blurted, "but so what? Listen! We can make a universe! It'll be terrific! Some thesis, huh?"
|Connie Willis ||
Bellwether. New York: Bantam Spectra (1997; 1st ed. 1996)
Bigotry is one of the oldest and ugliest of trends, so persistent it only counts as a fad because the target keeps changing: Huguenots... Muslims, Tutsis, Jews, Quakers, wolves, Serbs, Salem housewives. Nearly every group so long as its small and different, has had a turn, and the pattern never changes--disapproval, isolation, demonization, persecution.
|Jacqueline Woodson ||
"The Other Half of Me" in Tomorrowland: 10 Stories About the Future (Michael Cart, ed.) New York: Scholastic Press (1999)
There were my mother's parents in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and second grade in a tiny brown schoolhouse that was founded by Quakers.
Other works by Quaker author Joan Slonczewski include: Daughter of Elysium; The Children Star; and "Microbe." We have not yet checked these for possible inclusion on this list.
Molly Gloss's The Jump-off Creek (and other works) may have references to Quakers, but are not works of science fiction/fantasy.
Currently checking into:
- Ben Bova: The Kinsman Saga (1979)
- Ursula K. Le Guin: The Eye of the Heron
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Page created 21 June 2000. Last modified 10 August 2005.