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Worlds of Exile and Illusion Paperback – 3 Feb 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; 1st Orb Ed edition (3 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312862113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312862114
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ursula Le Guin has won many awards, including a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Newbery Honor and the World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.

Product Description


The author's first three novels--City of Illusions, Rocannon's World, and Planet of Exile--are included in an omnibus edition, all set in the same universe as The Left Hand of Darkness, as her characters battle forces in society that seek to tear them apart. Reprint.

Customer Reviews

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By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rocannon's World was Ursula K LeGuin's first published novel, and begins the Ekumen series, although in Ekumen chronology The Dispossessed comes first.
City of Illusions in the last in Ekumen chronology, after the Ekumen has been destroyed. It is about the rediscovery of Earth by two men from a far planet - one of whom is mind-wiped and dumped in the forest by the Shing. The Shing are aliens who have conquered or destroyed the Ekumen because of their ability to lie telepathically.
The Exile novella is the direct predecessor to City of Illusions - about an Ekumen settlement that gets cut off and learns to make common cause with the local people, finally uniting with them.
The unifying factor in these three stories is telepathy - or 'bespeaking', as Le Guin puts it. Rocannon's World introduces telepathy to humanity, and City of Illusions studies the effects of an alien race that are able to exploit it. Like the Old Tongue in the Earthsea quartet, Bespeaking binds a human to the truth. Like the dragons in Earthsea, the Shing are able to misuse it - with the 'mindlie'.
None of these stories reach the visionary level of the Left Hand of Darkness, which should still be seen as one of the masterpieces of SF. Rocannon's World is a journey-adventure which begins with a powerfully evocative demythology of a Rip-van-Winkel type story, entitled 'Semley's Necklace'. It finishes with one of the finest endings in SF, which still brings a tear to my eye.
Planet of Exile is a slighter work. It's better than 'the Word for World is Forest', but not up to the level Rocannon's World. It forms a pleasing introduction to City of Illusions.
City of Illusions is the main work in this collection.
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2 Comments 30 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
These three short stories classics with a lose underlying plot of a terran galactic empire overun by a telepathically superior culture.
It's pointless to discuss the various plots - if you've read LeGuin before (dispossed, Lathe of Heavan, Left Hand of Darkness) then you are in for a treat. In these three short novellas she is at the height of her powers - combining breathtaking science fiction and minute and sympathetic examanination of the human condition (albeit through the prism of a world based in the future).
Each of the stories is excellent in its own way, and heightened by the underlying theme of subervsion of a future terran civilisation.
But for my money, the final story - City of Illusions - is without any doubt the best sci fi short story LeGuin has ever written.
Get this book, lock yourself away for a day or two and enjoy you will not be able to put it down !
Comment 28 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I really enjoied every word of it... I highly recommend it to all Ursula K. le Guin fans, or any sci-fiction lover...
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Although an earlier work it still has that 'Le Guin' magic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8e80a7ec) out of 5 stars 30 reviews
65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e722090) out of 5 stars Just magnificent. 20 Nov. 2007
By neurotome - Published on
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.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e786e70) out of 5 stars In the Beginning.... 30 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
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".
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8eeaf8c4) out of 5 stars Good SF adventures, but not like her later work 11 Aug. 2010
By Joseph A. Maxwell - Published on
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.
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e59a744) out of 5 stars Marvelous planetary romances, not to be missed. 29 Dec. 2003
By Peter D. Tillman - Published on
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.

The review you should read is Jo Walton's -- link at first comment. One of her better ones.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e786b40) out of 5 stars At Last! Back in Print! 25 Mar. 2000
By Mr. Pr Lewin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having battled for months just to find LeGuin's City of Illusions, this three-in one edition was a real find! 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. They also make her an accessible author for mainstream readers; particularly as the issues she explores in this book are very human and relevant today, but set in beautifully crafted worlds of splendour or depravity which magnify the topics she explores. I read City of Illusions as a kid and was entranced- this book gives the next generation a chance to enjoy her earlier works, and has pride of place in my collection.
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