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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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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
The review you should read is Jo Walton's -- link at first comment. One of her better ones.
Peter D. Tillman
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Theses are my favorite ursula le guin novels and maybe favorite sf novels of all time. i have them a yellow hardback edition and got this one as a present. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jacob Brooks
Mind-bending trip. Sometimes it reads more like history than like stories because the main points are not foreshadowed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ScienceDiva
Unbelievable amount of detail in every mythical culture this lady creates. Command of the English language is insane. Another great book.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Easily one of my favorite sets of stories ever. I don't know how I went so long as a fan of sci-fi without having stumbled on this masterpiece.Published 4 months ago by Christopher M. Jones
Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the very top writers in science fiction, and would be a top writer in any field. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Lynn D. Guindon