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Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Three Complete Novels of the Hainish Series in One Volume--Rocannon's World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions Paperback – October 15, 1996


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Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Three Complete Novels of the Hainish Series in One Volume--Rocannon's World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions + The Left Hand of Darkness (Ace Science Fiction) + The Dispossessed
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (October 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312862113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312862114
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Le Guin writes in quiet, straightforward sentences about people who feel they are being torn apart by massive forces in society--technological, political, economic--and who fight courageously to remain whole."--The New York Times Book Review

"As good as any contemporary at creating worlds, imaginary or our own...Le Guin writes with painstaking intelligence. Her characters are complex and haunting, and her writing is remarkable for its sinewy grace."--Time Magazine

About the Author

Ursula K. Le Guin is widely seen as one of the greatest SF writers in the history of the genre. She has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards on several occasions, as well as many other honors and prizes.

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Customer Reviews

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It's wonderful to have these three related books in one binding.
A. Ryder
LeGuin is a rare breed in sf, the poetry in her narrative and her powers of description add a compelling truth and depth to her stories.
Mr. Pr Lewin
The reward of reading LeGuin is a pleasure not to be missed and I'd recommend this book for any SF fan.
neurotome

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By neurotome on November 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a LeGuin fan for many years, so I've long been skeptical about reading this, a collection of her first three novels. (They form a loosely-connected trilogy and should be read in order for best effect.) I was worried that they might not live up to the standard of her later works, that they might somehow spoil my appreciation of what I've come to regard as one of the greatest bodies of work of any author.

My hesitation was misplaced. These stories bring LeGuin's anthropologist's eye; deft hand for character; and talent to create unknown, fully detailed worlds together as well as any of her other novels. The opener, Rocannon's World, shows what happens when an anthropological expedition to a new planet gets tangled in bureaucracy before going suddenly wrong. Planet in Exile, set 600 years later, follows a tale of two cultures - one alien, one human - forced to meld into one. Finally, World of Illusion closes the circle, showing us the final confrontation between humankind and the mysterious race variously known as the Shing, the Lords of Es Toch, the Enemy, and the Liars of Earth.

Like all LeGuin's work, the thrill-ride is subtle; some of the themes hit you late, sort of like the heat from a chipotle pepper that's been simmering in soup for a couple hours. The reward of reading LeGuin is a pleasure not to be missed and I'd recommend this book for any SF fan.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
There were these 3 books, Ursula Leguin's first science fiction novels. They are all set at different times in the same far distant future as her best known work, "The Left Hand of Darkness". Leguin's skill as a writer is evident in these books, and while they may lack some of the weight of the "Left Hand", they also are more concise and exciting. Leguin is a rarity in the sci-fi field, she is such a good writer that you are drawn into the worlds she creates. It is easy to forget that you are reading works of fiction when reading these books; the narratives and characterizations have the force of non-fiction. Another highly recommended, hard to find book by Leguin, again set in the distant future, is "The Word for World is Forest".
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on December 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
35 years on, Planet of Exile hasn't aged a bit. As I just rediscovered -- my copy (with an evocative Josh Kirby cover) dates from the early 70's, and I don't recall rereading it since then. I was prompted to do so by a recent reread of her stunning "Semley's Necklace" (1964), another story in Le Guin's Hainish universe, which she recycled as the prologue to Rocannon's World.

While Planet of Exile doesn't have the depth or complexity of her best work, this is a grand, mythic story of love and death; fear of the stranger, and the sad consequences; a bitter battle to save one's home; the joys and ashes of victory. And the grey, grinding cold of Great Winter: 5,000-some days of darkness, cold and ice (UKL does winters really well). Strong stuff. My God, this was her apprentice work!

The rest of Rocannon's World, after "Semley's Necklace", isn't up to Rocannon's World, but is very readable. I haven't reread City of Illusions recently, but recall enjoying it way back then.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Maxwell on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have a different take on these novels from most of the other reviewers. First, the publisher's subtitle, Three Complete Novels of the Hainish Series, is a bit misleading. These early novels are set in a very different universe from the Hainish Ekumen--the League of All Worlds, formed to resist the inevitable onslaught of The Enemy, and the aftermath of that onslaught. Hain is barely mentioned in these novels (twice, by my count), and the League is completely different in character from the non-interventionist Ekumen which Le Guin develops in detail in her later work. A key theme of these three novels is telepathy (mindspeech, mindhearing), which plays a very minor role in The Left Hand of Darkness and pretty much drops out of her later Hainish writings, as does the Enemy (the Shing), who are never mentioned again.

Second, as an anthropologist, I feel that these novels lack the deep understanding of anthropological fieldwork and the stunning ability to create believable non-Terran societies that characterize her later work, in particular The Left Hand of Darkness, The Telling, and many of her short story collections. These novels are much closer to traditional SF, strong on action and conflict. The "enemies" in Rocannon's World (the Faradayan rebels) and Planet of Exile (the Gaal) are barely sketched, and even in City of Illusions the Shing are portrayed as simply evil; this is very different from the subtle, complex descriptions of Orgoreyn in The Left Hand of Darkness or the Monitor in The Telling.

These novels are "good reads" for those who like traditional SF, and fascinating as precursors to her later work, but to really appreciate LeGuin's genius, read her later work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven M. Anthony on March 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this collection of three novellas after having read Leguin's outstanding novel, The Left Hand of Darkness. These works are ostensibly related to LHoD, dealing with formation and history of the Hainish League.

The first novella, Rocannon's World, has virtually nothing to do with science fiction, instead being almost entirely a work of fantasy, and not particularly good fantasy at that. Rocannon is something of an anthropological surveyor on behalf of the Hainish League, attempting to establish technologically advanced civilizations in order to present a line of defense against an anticipated invasion from outside the galaxy.

The story presents a collection of life forms which are strikingly similar to Tolkien's elves, dwarves and even classes of men. Again, not particularly original and not very captivating. Two and a half stars.

The final two novellas, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions, are really neither fantasy nor science fiction. Each is more about the interaction between intelligent hominid species, and though I was expecting science fiction, I enjoyed these two stories significantly more than the first.

In Planet of Exile, we have three vastly different cultures interacting against a highly unusual planetary climate pattern (unusual from our perspective). The World of Werel contains two native hominid species, the Tevarans, of roughly Iron Age technological proficiency, and the Gaal, more Stone Age in sophistication. Add to these, the Farborn, a much more technologically advanced species (from Earth, as it turns out), which has been on Werel for roughly 600 years. Part of an advance party from the Hainish League, they have ostensibly been exiled, supposedly as a result of a successful galactic invasion by the Shing.
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