The Dazzle of Day

I first bought Molly Gloss’s The Dazzle of Day (Macmillan, 1998) when it came out because of the cover. Something about the colors… I kept picking it up, putting it back, and then coming back to the shelf. Once I read the back-cover copy and the Ursula K. Le Guin blurb, I was in.

I’ve had a copy of the book off and on ever since. Last year Saga Books reissued it with a new cover by one of my favorite artists. Jeffrey Alan Love‘s blotchy, blocky ink monoliths make great single panels and book covers. This one is no exception.

So, I bought it again because of the cover.

Obvious clichĂ© aside, I am happy to say that the story lives up to the shine I got from both covers. The Dazzle of Day is about a society escaping the depleted bonds of earth in search of a new planet of resources. While most of the book occurs on a craft in space, it doesn’t read like traditional hard science fiction. There’s a heart, a warmth, a depth that is often missing in such precise speculations.

It’s not just the corporeal characters and their day-to-day activities and anxieties that make this book so deeply moving but the poetic way that Gloss describes all of this: maintaining the ship, doing the chores, exploring a new planet, experiencing a stroke, love, lust, loss… While reading it, I took pictures of whole pages and paragraphs and sent them to friends. It’s engaging at every scale.

If you’re looking for an escapist read that will still make you feel human when you return, look no further than The Dazzle of Day. And don’t miss Molly Gloss‘s other books, as well as Jeffrey Alan Love‘s own fabulous books and other designs.