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The Unreal and the Real: Where on Earth by…

The Unreal and the Real: Where on Earth (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Title:The Unreal and the Real: Where on Earth
Authors:Ursula K. Le Guin
Info:Small Beer Press (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:sci fi

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The Unreal and the Real, Selected Stories 2: Outer Space, Inner Lands by Ursula K. Le Guin (2012)



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The second of two collections, apparently selected by Le Guin herself. This volume focuses on her science fiction and fantasy stories, from 1964 to 2012. Having not read much Le Guin in the past decade or more, I was glad to re-confirm my memory of her as one of the best writers to grace the fantastic genres with her presence and her continued critical gaze, even if most of her work roams elsewhere these days. Even the stories I thought suffered from too much calculation in their construction (Sur, The Silence of the Asonu, The Flyers of Gy) were still finely written. One of my favorite authors these days is Margo Lanagan. My favorite stories in this collection (Solitude, The Wild Girls, Betrayals) reveal that Le Guin was there first.

Highly recommended. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jul 26, 2016 |
I wasn't able to finish this book, but I am done reading it. I got through the first half of the book and one of the stories in the back. I thought this might be a short story that I had read years ago. Unfortunately it wasn't and I no longer felt the need to barrel through the book and carry on when I wasn't really enjoying it.

Its strange though, I think that I read several of Le Guin's sort stories in college and really enjoyed them. I have no idea what would make them a real slog in the intervening 15 years. Oh well, I can't love all the books all the time I suppose. Maybe I'll try again in another 15 years! ( )
  sscarllet | Dec 15, 2015 |
Ursula Le Guin has been a significant force in my reading life since I borrowed A Wizard of Earthsea from North Watford library, around age 8 or 9. This career-spanning selection of short stories was an interesting and moving experience to revisit old favourites (‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’), to discover some new-to-me tales (especially ‘The Poacher’, a variation on Sleeping Beauty), and to be reminded of the early roots of both the Hainish universe and Earthsea. Ursula Le Guin is one of my all time favourite writers, because the worlds she creates have grown and changed over time, challenging me to reflect, grow and change too. And because she tells brilliant stories, whether a few or a 100 pages long, at novel length, or across the now six books following Ged, Tenar and others on their life’s journeys across the islands of Earthsea. ( )
  Bernadette877 | Apr 28, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ursula Le Guin's short stories are always provocative and beautiful in their language. While I had read most of these stories in other formats before, this is a marvelous collection to cherish of many of her most important works. ( )
  ronincats | May 21, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'd read quite a few novels, but few short stories, by Ursula Le Guin before starting this collection. While I liked the stories quite a bit, I think she's better at novel length because I kept wanting to know what happened next, or find out more detail about the worlds she created. ( )
  kbuxton | Oct 21, 2013 |
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There are dozens of definitions of what "science fiction" is; few are useful and none is definitive. Variations on the term, such as "speculative fiction," complicate the discussion more than they clarify it. [from "Introduction: The Obligatory Bit about Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Genre"]
With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city of Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The rigging of the boats in the harbor sparkled with flags. In the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. Some were decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tamboourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance. Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like the swallows' crossing flights over the music and the singing. All the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms, exercised their restive horses before the race. [from "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"]
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Presents a selection of many of the author's best known non realistic stories, including "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," "Semley's Necklace," and "She Unnames Them."

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