Nonviolence fiction

Published in Civilian-Based Defense, Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer 1995, p. 8. 

Brian Martin 

Have you read any good books or short stories lately that deal sensitively and perceptively with nonviolent action? Over the years people have given me a number of recommendations. Nonviolence is a key theme in some of these books and stories, whereas in others it is less central. (Erik Frank Russell’s novella is the only item dealing with civilian-based defense.) No doubt there’s much more; this list only touches the surface of English-language fiction. It would be good if someone could put together a reader of top quality fiction dealing with nonviolence. Fiction is often more convincing than reality.

Malcolm J. Bosse, Ganesh (Harmondsworth: Puffin Books, 1984). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War (London: Fontana Lions, 1978). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Michael Foreman, War Game (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Cliff Green, Boy Soldiers (Melbourne: McPhee Gribble/Penguin, 1990). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest (New York: Berkley, 1976).

Marilyn Kaye, Lydia (London: Lions Teen Tracks, 1988; New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Munro Leaf, The Story of Ferdinand (London: Reprint Society, 1955). [A story for little children.] Recommended by a friend of Robert Burrowes.

Jean Merrill, The Pushcart War (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1973). Recommended by a friend of Robert Burrowes.

R. K. Narayan, Waiting for the Mahatma (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981 [Michigan State University Press, 1955]). Recommended by Mary Cawte.

Katherine Paterson, Lyddie (New York: Puffin Books, 1992). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Christopher Pike, See You Later (New York: Pocket Books, 1990). Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Mack Reynolds, "Survivor," Analog Science Fiction / Science Fact, July 1966, pp. 127-139. Recommended by John Zube.

Erik Frank Russell, "…and then there were none," in Ben Bova (ed.), Exiles: 3 Novellas (New York: St. Martin’s Pres, 1978), pp. 28-101. Recommended by E. G. Vikingur.

Dr Seuss, Yertle the Turtle and Gertrude McFuzz (Great Britain: Cubs, 1979 [1950]). [A story for little children.] Recommended by Alexandra Perry.

Joan Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean (London: The Women’s Press, 1987). Recommended by a member of the Australian Nonviolence Network.

Brian M. Stableford, The Florians (London: Hamlyn Paperbacks, 1978 [1976]). Recommended by John Zube.


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