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The Birthday Of The World and Other Stories (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 16 Jan 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (16 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074798
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,360,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Ursula Le Guin's latest title, The Birthday of the World, is her first short story collection since The Wind's Twelve Quarters (available in the Gollancz yellow jacket edition) and one of the most essential SF short story volumes published in many a while. Long-time fans of Le Guin will be delighted that several of the pieces are set in the already superbly realised worlds of her Hainish cycle, and there is a brand new novella called Paradises Lost.

This is the SF of ideas, a lyrical, organic collection that explores visions of worlds where women outnumber men, where there exist societies without order and lands where sex is not determined at birth, but people slip between genders at a whim and are neither male nor female in between. While the word controversial doesn't really do it justice, the stories and the ideas Le Guin presents are certainly challenging to say the least, and she has some interesting ideas on the evolution of society and our own place in it. All in all a daring and bold collection, breathtaking and beautiful, that confirms why Le Guin is one of the genre's most celebrated writers. --Jon Snow --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Strong work from a master storyteller; highly recommended."--Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully written study of how human society changes from generation to generation on a colonising spaceship, taking several lifetimes to reach its destination planet. Also how the potential colonists react when they reach that destination.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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