…SF addict …

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exiled on a cold planet

Just finished reading Planet of Exile, a book by Ursula K Le Guin, and part of her 'Hainish Cycle' from the 1960s

This was my first encounter with Le Guin and although its a short book (126 pages) it was a struggle to finish to be honest!

Basically its set on a planet that has a strange cycle in which each year is sixty earth years and days are counted in Moonphases-the moon and the planet are locked in a strange cosmic dance and the whole system travels around the sun once in 60 years. The start of the year is a long springtime and at the end a harsh winter comes, the snow falling so heavily as to render the landscape a total white out.
There are snowghouls out there (which we never get to meet) and the mysterious Graal which, at the end of each year travel up from the south and invade the natives who form the focal point of the story. The people are divided into two groups; the natives (the hilfs) and the colonists from Earth (Farborn) who arrived at the planet aeons ago and are black skinned-not sure if that is meant to be significant but maybe it was some political statement from the 60s. When the Earth colonists first discovered the natives they named them HILF, an acronym of High Intelligent Life Form-it sounds very SF but the book is more like fantasy with magic and mindspeech rather than tech and telepathy.

It all sounds promising but her writing style in this book is somewhat clunky and odd in parts and the characters just not that interesting or engaging. Just not a lot happened really! This one will be going back on Bookmooch.

I have City of Illusions and Left Hand of Darkness on my shelf too-just hope things improve with those two.

10 comments:

j purdie said...

I was put off Le Guin by the first book of hers I read - or attempted to. Can't even remember the name of it now. I do know it was big, thick and had a bright red cover. I bought the hardback in the early eighties and no matter how hard I tried I could not get into it.

Isn't Left Hand of Darkness supposed to be her piece de resistance? I might try Amazon or Abe Books and see if she has any Short story collections worth investing in.

Larry said...

Yea Left Hand is her most famous work, written in 1969 and set in the same world as Planet of Exile,City of Illusions and, her first book, Rocannon's World,and yet each is seperate,unrelated.

j purdie said...

I'm def going to see if I can get some secondhand books of hers to read.

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

I just put Exile on bookmooch, and someone took it!
Heres her bibliography on fantasti fiction, and yes theres quite a few short story collections (and poems)
Ursula K Le Guin bibliography

j purdie said...

Quite a list. 'Always Coming Home' rings a bell and I think that may be the book I couldn't get into. I'll try Amazon and see what's available.

Larry said...

Or have a look on bookmooch!

Larry said...

Well I didnt get far with her follow up, City of Illusions. I got fed up of her often Yoda-like writing and gave up!
Dark, the moon is, boring, the book is, annoying, the writing is, to read,like this, aaahhhhh!

j purdie said...

Didn't find anything on Amazon yet but I'll keep looking for a book of hers. I only use bookmooch to get rid of books, I've updated my profile to say so. Sent off a book yesterday.

j purdie said...

And minutes later I'm on Amazon and I see 'Tales From Earthsea: Short Stories' for £4 ish, free delivery so no doubt I'll get it next week or something. Got buckets of short story books at the moment and quite enjoying the shorter read.