Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Le Guin short story collection, 17 July 2002
This collection of short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin shows her strength as an author and worldbuilder. Some (not all) of the stories take place on worlds of the Ekumen or Hainish universe. One of the stories is brand new, the others have been published in various magazines.
We visit worlds like Gethen, as in the novel 'The Left Hand of Darkness', where most individuals are neither female nor male, but periodically enter the state of kemmer, where they asume one or the other sexual form. Or O, where couples marry couples. On the planet Seggri women outnumber men, who are kept apart for enjoyment and recreation purposes. In the short story 'Solitude' we visit a planet where there is no society as such, just loose bonds and encounters.
Of course, such short summaries can't get across the detail of Le Guin's work. And it is precisely the social anthropology and the details that make the stories and the worlds very much alive - and make you think. For the stories are not only thought-provoking, they might even be plain provoking, and may make you think again on several subjects.
So for a collection of science fiction in which there is more social science than physics or chemistry, 'The Birthday of the World: and other stories' is a very fine choice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting and thought-provoking, 29 Sep 2004
By 
This was the first Le Guin I read - although it encouraged me to read much more of her work - and I thought it was wonderful. The stories all share the themes of gender division and of political/social division, and this serves to create a unified thread running through the book, so that ideas produced in one story recur or develop in another. However, at the same time, each story stands on its own and has its own unique feel to it. The title story is quite a simple, feelgood little tale, for instance, whereas parts of 'Paradises Lost' are genuinely chilling. I thought the one piece that really stood out in this collection was the one entitled 'Solitude', which is written from the perspective of a female child brought up in a 'society' that has rejected social ties in favour of, as the title suggests, solitude. It is a weird and wonderful story, and I think it's is one of Le Guin's best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong set of stories, 8 Nov 2003
By 
This is a set of speculations about possible societies, distinguished by having different conventions for sexual and gender relations. With this subject there is danger of an author using characters as too-obvious puppets, but no ax-grinding here, all the stories are personal narratives, with a wide variation in viewpoint and tone, and more to the point very well written, readable, and interesting. Good speculative fiction. All within a faint background of LeGuins Hainish/Ekumen novels. I had thought it would be a late-career roundup or ragbag of stories, but it's much more of a integrated themed work, and a bit of a tour de force.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong set of stories, 8 Nov 2003
By 
This as a set of speculations about possible societies, distinguished by having different conventions for sexual and gender relations. With this subject there is danger of an author using characters as too-obvious puppets, but no ax-grinding here, all the stories are personal narratives, with a wide variation in viewpoint and tone, and more to the point very well written, readable, and interesting. Good speculative fiction. All within a faint background of LeGuins Hainish/Ekumen novels. I had thought it would be a late-career roundup or ragbag of stories, but it's much more of a integrated themed work, and a bit of a tour de force.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful,thought provoking sci-fi, 11 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
as in "the winds twelve quarters", the stories in this collection are at once genuinely alien yet wonderfully humane.these stories are as much philosophy as sci-fi, Le Guins main interest being the nature of sexuality and gender- so don't expect ray guns or space battles.Don't let this turn you off however as Ms. Le Guin is above all a great storyteller.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars One to read over and over, 25 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In one word - brilliant. An author of amazing vision who explores the human soul with peerless perception. Wonderful writing. Exceptional storytelling. Mind inspiration that kicks you into the imaginative process.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, 19 Nov 2010
By 
the dilettante (North West England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I fell in love with Ursula K Leguin at the age of 15, when I first read the Earthsea novels. I'm a big SF and fantasy fan, but she is someone special. Her skill is in world building - she can create a world, a culture and an emotional context that enables her characters to spring to life.
The Ekumen is here, and her frequent themes of the complexities of sex and gender. She writes about the stupid and beautiful things people do and doesn't judge, lets the story unfold and leaves you to make your own mind up about what you think.
You can dip into this book and just read a story, or you can do what I did on holiday and devour the lot in one go.
If you like writing that's spare, compassionate and thoughtful, you'll like this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews