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The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

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1291793,299 (4.32)2
Member:woakden
Title:The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth
Authors:Ursula K. Le Guin
Info:Small Beer Press (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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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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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 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ursula Le Guin for me is a writer who is always interesting and challenging but not always entertaining. In this collection of stories she manages to keep me interested and entertained while making me think. And this is a good thing. I found myself taking my time to fully digest the stories, some which I had read when they first came out. Her stories are rich in so many ways. She is a true wordsmith in that she can make the reader reconsider how words and phrases are used within our culture. In some stories I felt that she was talking to me about how I live my life and how different life could be. This "conversation" is not a mental aberration on my part but the art of writing at the highest level. ( )
  jotoyo | Sep 13, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This collection of short stories by Ursula Le Guin explores a range of possibilities, from the peculiarities of alien worlds and cultures, to the quiet intricacies of ordinary life viewed aslant. We have people who live in a world of science, whose happy lives depend on the torture of children, who are dragons in disguise, who find quiet satisfaction connecting to others in their communities, and so on. "Speculative fiction" is perhaps the best way to describe these tales, which often have an anthropological flavor, because speculating on the nature of being, and humanity, and affection, and ways of living, are what they do best.

Because of the richness of these stories individually, this is a collection that is best savored in small doses, with ample time between narratives to digest them and contemplate the implications. Trying to read it straight is likely to result in mental indigestion. With that caveat, fans of Le Guin and science fiction based on the social and biological sciences will find much to enjoy and be provoked by in this anthology. ( )
  ranaverde | Aug 29, 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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