I'm looking for a sci-fi novel/book about a planet of people who kill in their minds but are otherwise very pacifist.

There are, I believe, three people who are stranded on an unknown planet. They make their way to a wall surrounding a city of people who at first glance appear to be pacifists, but as the crew stay longer and learn that the pacifist inhabitants plug into the wires within the city walls to act out the most gruesome and violent acts against their fellow inhabitants. Within the walls is the key, while the space travelers are unable to leave. This is an older sci-fi novel; Isaac Asimov-type stuff.

1 Answer 1


This seems to me pretty clearly to refer to The Wine of Violence by James Morrow. I read this novel many years ago and still remember some parts of it clearly.

In it, there are some outsiders who crash-land among a pacifist society where the society members appear incredibly peaceful, but it is eventually discovered that they retire at night to vividly reenact imaginary revenge on those they feel have wronged them via virtual reality, thus "getting it out of their system" and no longer feeling the need to take action in the real world.

From the linked-to page above:

A fact-finding mission has crash-landed on a distant planet, leaving entomologist Francis Lostwax and physicist Burne Newman marooned


The scientists are rescued by a mysterious society whose inhabitants are wholly incapable of murder, assault, rape, or any other form of aggression


the descendants of Quetzalia’s original human colonists have devised a strange techno-religion that has in turn engendered a culture of total pacifism

  • Can you add any snippets from the book that suggest similarity?
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 14, 2017 at 9:55
  • I edited my answer to add some more details. I remember reading this book, including details that aren't listed in the linked-to page, and it seems to me to be very likely the one that the original poster was referring to. I don't own a copy that I can check for detailed quotes, though.
    – Some Guy
    Nov 14, 2017 at 10:55
  • Nice! Well I've already upvoted as they do seem pretty close, but nice answer!
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 14, 2017 at 11:20

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