Saturday, April 8, 2017
Worlds of Exile and Illusion
I have, for the past year or so, been focusing on reading as many books by Ursula K. Le Guin as I can get my hands on. I have not, until this book, been able to understand what it is that I have loved about reading her work and even then it was not until I was reading the third story in this collection, City of Illusions, that it finally all came together for me. She reminds me strongly of Isaac Asimov. I can't believe that I never made the connection before! I would not do her the injustice of saying that she is the female Asimov, because her stories, especially the Hainish series are unique. She reminds me of Isaac because she writes in the same way as he did for his Foundation series; stories about humans and how they differ from planet to planet with a long ago Earth origin. I have always been extremely fond of science fiction that hints of an Earthly past.
Of all the Hainish books I have read so far, I really enjoyed Worlds of Exile and Illusion the most. While Le Guin is the first to say that these books are not a series, they have small connections to each other which is, I think, a very human thing to relish... making a connection in an otherwise completely unrelated story. All of her novels are very relatable because no matter what planet they may be based on, or whatever variation of human or culture may be inhabiting that world, they are socially themed, rather than scientifically (another correlation to Asimov's own social science fiction). Which is why we, as humans, can make our own associations with it.
I haven't read everything yet, I expect it will take this year as well to catch up an all of her work, but it is well worth the effort to get to know this writer and her writing.