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Way of the Pilgrim Paperback – Jan 1 1988

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jan 1 1988
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 530 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (Jan. 1 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722129904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722129906
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The oppressive imperialists and rebellious colonists familiar from Dickson's previous work return in this novel of the Earth's conquest by aliens. The nine-foot-tall Aalaag, members of a warrior society, use their advanced technology to treat humans like cattle. As one of the few people who can speak the alien language, linguist Shane Evert comes to know and understand the Aalaag even as he hates them. His gesture of protesta graffito of a pilgrimis picked up by the scattered, disorganized Resistance, and before long Shane finds himself leading a worldwide movement for freedom. Although the usual Dickson weaknesses of simplistic characters and verbose storytelling handicap the novel, his balancing strengthsthe use of historical parallels (here, Nazi and Soviet occupations) and righteous moral fervormake this one of his better recent books.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A true master of science fiction." --Joe Haldeman

"Dickson is among the best storytellers we have ever of the finest
makers that our field has ever known." --Poul Anderson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
These reviews are not for this book. The Way of a Pilgrim and its sequel, The Pilgrim Continues His Way, are Eastern Orthodox classics about a religious pilgrim who wanders around 19th century Russia hoping eventually to reach Jerusalem. But the meat of the books are the pilgrim's teachings about the Jesus Prayer and its relationship to apophatic spirituality, which lies at the core of Orthodox spirituality.
Amazon has made a big mistake in putting the other reviews here.
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Format: Paperback
Previously I read "Wolf in Iron" by Gordon Dickson, and it is one of the best post-holocaust novels I have ever read. A truly wonderful book, and brilliantly written. I was expecting the same qualities in this book.
But here is something altoghether different. Perhaps it is because Dickson is trying to tell the story from the viewpoint of the protagonist, Shane Everett. Little Shane Beast is a translator working for the nine foot tall alien occupiers of earth. Cold dispassionate and unemotional beings, Shane must behave like them to survive. And not only does he survive, but he excells. Is this why the whole story is told in such a cold, logical and dispassionate prose?
The plot is simple and bare, as clean as the cities in the Aalaag occupied world. There are no plot turns, no multiple plots, no side character, no maturing of the hero. Nothing. The tale is simple to the point of starkness. Something that I found to be unsatisfying in the extreme.
The premise of language as a route to understanding has been done far better in "Fine Prey" by Scott Westerfield. There are many more interesting and uplifting novels about alien invasion of earth.
What this book does deliver on is the horror of earth being occupied by a race who are so far above us that we cannot reach an understanding of their technology. A race that does demote us to the status of beasts. As top dog on our planet we have a dreadful superiority complex. We imagine that eventually we would get the better of any alien species we encounter. But what if we couldn't. Dickson's Aalaag are so superior to us that a single fully armored warrior would not be in danger should the whole planet rise against him. Humans become as powerless as a hive of bees to him. As long as we produce output we achive the status of being useful. Otherwise we are little more than pests. Perhaps it is this very vision that makes this book so unsettling?
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best science fiction novels written since the 1950s. The premise is brutally simple, and utterly plausible. The time is the near future. Earth has been conquered by an alien race that immediately relegates human beings to the status of owned "cattle." At first all hope is lost. Humans have no rights, no aspirations, and the superiority of the alien "Aalaag" invaders is overwhelming.
Eventually a human underground takes root. But it happens in a way that will surprise the reader because it completely avoids the ordinary banality of the usual "underground resistance" type of novel. The ending will startle and surprise.
Dickson's prose is excellent, at times he is poetic and moving. This novel probably features some of Dickson's best writing.
I suppose the thing I liked best about this novel is that it imparts to the reader a sense of both plausibility and wonder to which all good SF aspires, but that only the best attains. This book reads like something that could happen. There is nothing about this story that involves the need for any suspension of the reader's critical facilities. The aliens in this novel seem real. They don't do anything to humans that humans don't do to other, apparently inferior (by human standards) species. It makes you think.
This novel is a "must read" for anyone who enjoys good science fiction, or would like to.
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By A Customer on July 12 1999
Format: Paperback
this was a outstanding book ,i was so into it,i really cared about the characters and i never was sure how it was going to end.this is one of my favorite books ever.Im going to keep this one a long time
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa305ef0c) out of 5 stars 88 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa549a510) out of 5 stars Praying Unceasingly - the Prayer of the Heart June 18 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
How does one obey the scriptural imperative to "Pray without ceasing?" The simple pilgrim (we learn his background in bits and snatches) sets out to learn how... from both the wise and the simple he meets on the road. In a period and place where a cup of tea is a rare treat and a book one's sole possession, glimpses of disaster and survival, madness and understanding, suffering and joy, simplicity and layers of implications appear with every turn in the road.
"Pray, and do not labor much to conquer your passions by your own strength. For 'greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,' (1 John 4:4), says holy Scripture."
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa304300c) out of 5 stars Worth finding a copy of this book Feb. 22 1998
By - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Better known for his "Dorsai" books, Dickson wrote this single-volume story of a first contact between humans and aliens in the late 1980s. It's an excellent, thought-provoking book. Earth has been conquered by a humnoid people known as the Aalaag, whose technology is so superior to that of 20th century humans that no human can even begin to understand how it works. Even more, the Aalaags refer to humans as "cattle" and think of them as little better than we usually think of our domesticated animals. The Aalaag language is utterly incomprehensible to most humans, so only a tiny number of linguistic specialists can speak a rude approximation of it. The story is an account of how one human, the best at speaking and understanding Aalaag, devises a way to (maybe) get the Aalaag to free humanity and leave Earth. The book has weaknesses -- most of the human characters are undeveloped, although the main character is finely drawn. And this is not a "rock-em, sock-em" action book by any means -- long dialogues dominate the narrative. But the heart of the book is carried on Dickson's skill at conveying the surface-similarities of Aalaag and humans, then in using the dialogue and action to convey just how different the two species are in reality. The climax of the book gives one a lot to think about. For those who get tired of the "Star-Trek" approach to first contact -- where clever humans figure out the key to alien behavior within a few hours -- this book is a wonderful counterpoint. It suggests just how hard it could be to understand another species. If that sounds like your cup of tea, it's well worth the effort to look for a used copy of this book.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa318aad4) out of 5 stars A Very Spiritual Enlightening Story Sept. 30 2005
By David S. Belding Sr. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read this book twice....I especially like French's translation. It opens an aspect of the Christian Life which is not delt with in Western Christian thought or spiritual disciplian. It opens an aspect of Christianity which I found very meaningful and powerful. The book was a true blessing.

Fr. David Belding
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa39e8570) out of 5 stars Should be Six Stars!! Sept. 21 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
A great Christian masterpiece! Reading this book gives one appreciation and thanks for the Lord's grace and mercy. A wonderful guide to life - especially in this hectic modern society. Very mystical but also very practical following in the tradition of most Orthodox spiritual essays. Highly recommended to all Christians seeking a deeper understanding of taking up one's Cross.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa339de04) out of 5 stars I wonder who wrote it? July 18 2003
By Reijo Oksanen - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sergius Bolshakoff in his book "Russian Mystics" writes that there is a manuscript copy in the St. Panteleimon Monastery in Mount Athos. Writing in 1956 he adds that this copy is longer than the existing printed version with five extra episodes and a postscript.
The first printed version came out in Kazan in 1884 and was called "Sincere Tales of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father". The introduction of this version tells it to be a reproduction of manuscript which Paisius, abbot of St. Michael of the Cheremissi, found and copied on Mount Athos. Paisius died in 1883.
Bolshakoff writes further that he found the above when he was studying the correspondence of Fr. Jerome Solomentsev. He concludes that the pilgrim perhaps visited Mount Athos and wrote or dictated his story for Fr. Jerome.
However, the above is not the whole history. Bolshakoff found further new information on the pilgrim from two letters of Staretz Ambrose of Optino to a nun who was a prioress of a convent and who had read the manuscript of the Tales before it was printed in Kazan.
Bolshakoff: "In his letter Staretz Ambrose writes: "You write that you came across a manuscript which indicates a simple method to learn the Prayer of Jesus, vocal, mental, and of heart. This manuscript was written by a peasant from the province of Orel who was taught the Prayer of Jesus by an unknown Staretz. You write that the manuscript of this peasant ends in 1859. Shortly before that time we heard from our late staretz, Father Macarius, that he was visited by a layman who had attained to such a high degree of spiritual prayer that Fr. Macarius did not know what to tell him. This layman, in order to receive advice, described to our staretz various states of prayer. Fr Macarius could only tell him: 'Be humble' be humble'. Afterwards he told us about this experience with astonishement. I thought at the time that this concerned the Orel merchant Neumuitov who was a great man of prayer, but I think now that he might well be that peasant of whom you write." (p. 236)