Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Transcendent Adventure: Studies of Religion in Science Fiction/Fantasy




After publishing ten major novels, Doris Lessing has begun writing what she calls '·space fiction'· for her new series entitled Canopus in Argos: Archives. In a review of the first two novels published in this series, namely, Shikasta ( 1979) and the Marriages Between Zones Three. Four, and Five (1980)1. Jean Pickering stresses that many of Doris Lessing's most avid readers were initially attracted to her because of her insights about the female experience and because of her allegiance to nineteenth-century realism." Pickering suggests that Lessing's growing interest in space fiction and Sufism (Islamic mysticism) has made these admirers increasingly uneasy.2 In retrospect, however, even these readers should recognize that the seeds of this later development were there from the beginning. To understand Doris Lessing's recent enthusiasm for space fiction, it is important to see its roots in the mystical experience she describes in her early novel, Martha Quest (1952).

Original Publication Citation

Bazin, N. T. (1985). The evolution of Doris Lessing's art from a mystical moment to space fiction. In R. Reilly (Ed.), The transcendent adventure: studies of religion in science fiction/fantasy (pp. 157-167). Greenwood Press.