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The Found and the Lost: The Collected…

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

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First time reading Le Guin. I will use each novella to come up with stars for the book rating:
Vaster than Empires and More Slow 4.0
Buffalo Gals 3.0
Hernes 3.0
Seggri 3.0
Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea 2.5
Forgiveness Day 4.0
A Man of the People 3.5
Woman's Liberation 3.5
Old Music and the Slave Women 4.0
The Finder 4.0
Oh High Marsh 4.0
Dragonfly 4.0
Paradises Lost 4.0

Glad to have read a book(s) by here, have seen the name for years, but never read. ( )
  DCavin | Sep 10, 2017 |
For many years, I avoided Ursula LeGuin, on the mistaken assumption that she was essentially a fantasy author, by virtue of her Wizard of Earthsea novels. It was not until later that I discovered her science fiction work and grew to enjoy it immensely. But LeGuin is not your prototypical science fiction (or it turns out, fantasy) author. She does not write space opera, but instead focuses on character development and human (or alien) interaction. You could label her work anthropological or sociological science fiction, with the fact that aliens, or space travel, or wizards are involved, becoming almost secondary.

This collection of thirteen novellas (very close to short stories) is a perfect example of her writing. There may have been a couple of duds (most particularly Hernes and to a lesser degree Buffalo Gals), but by and large there is good stuff here. Three of the stories involve elements of her Hainish science fiction novels, featuring the planet Weres, where slavery is practiced. In this set of three stories, the reader is taken through a planetary and societal evolution in which slaves are first freed, only to see the women become cultural slaves. Again, only nominally science fiction, to the extent that we are dealing with an alien species in a different time and galaxy.

Three other stories are set in the author’s Earthsea world, and while I am not a big fan of fantasy, like her science fiction, this fantasy is not heavy handed with extreme magic and fire breathing dragons. There is magic and there are dragons, but they are very subtly exercised or only mentioned in passing. The story is in the characters and their interaction.

The final story, Paradise Lost, is the best in my opinion. Perhaps the most “science fiction” of the lot, it is set on a multi-generational, multi-ethnic starship as it approaches its destination. The story is outstanding as the author explores the various tensions and societal developments that can emerge in an isolated population, five generations removed from any knowledge or empathy for the civilization that launched their voyage; an excellent ending to a very nice collection. ( )
  santhony | Dec 8, 2016 |
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