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, letters, speeches and journal entries, this purports to be a general study of the planet Shikastaclearly the planet Earthto be used by history students of the higher planet Canopus and to be stored in the Canopian archives. For eons, galactic empires have struggled against one another, and Shikasta is one of the main battlegrounds.Johar, an emissary from Canopus and the primary contributor to the archives, visits Shikasta over the millennia from the time of the giants and the biblical great flood up to the present. With every visit he tries to distract Shikastans from the evil influences of the planet Shammat but notes with dismay the ever-growing chaos and destruction of Shikasta as its people hurl themselves towards World War III and annihilation.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This major collection contains all of Doris Lessings short fiction, other than the stories set in Africa, from the beginning of her career until now. Set in London, Paris, the south of France, the English countryside, these thirty-five stories reflect the themes that have always characterized Lessings work: the bedrock realities of marriage and other relationships between men and women; the crisis of the individual whose very psyche is threatened by a society unattuned to its own most dangerous qualities; the fate of women.From the Trade Paperback edition.