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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