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Changing Planes (2003)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441012248, Mass Market Paperback)At first, readers may find Ursula K. Le Guin's collection Changing Planes rather light, if not slight. However, as the reader continues through its sixteen stories (ten of which are original to this volume), the collection achieves considerable weight and power.
A punny conceit links the stories and provides the title of Changing Planes. Conceived before September 11, 2001, this conceit now, unfairly, looks odd. Trapped too many times in the misery of pre-terrorist airports, Sita Dulip discovered how to change planes: not airplanes, but planes of existence. Now the people of Sita's earth travel between alternate universes.
The stories in Changing Planes are strong expressions of Le Guin's considerable anthropological and psychological insight. However, these tales don't follow traditional plot structures or character-development methods. They read more like travelogues, or socio-anthropological articles on foreign nations or tribes. They explore exotic literary planes lying somewhere between Jorge Luis Borges's ficciones and Horace Miner's anthropological satire Body Ritual Among the Nacirema. However, unlike Miner's parody, Le Guin's wise tales are rarely satirical, though "The Royals of Hegn" sharply skewers the absurdity of royalty-worship, and "Great Joy" rightly attacks the boundless corporate criminality familiar to anyone who's read a newspaper since 2001.
One of America's greatest authors, Ursula K. Le Guin has received the National Book Award, the Newberry Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, five Nebula Awards, and five Hugo Awards. --Cynthia Ward
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:42 -0400)
"Missing a flight, waiting in an airport, listening to garbled announcements - who doesn't hate that misery?" "But Sita Dulip from Cincinnati finds a method of bypassing the crowds at the desks, the long lines at the toilets, the nasty lunch, the whimpering children and punitive parents, the bookless bookstores, and the blue plastic chairs bolted to the floor." "A mere kind of twist and a slipping bend, easier to do than to describe, takes her not to Denver but to Strupsirts, a picturesque region of waterspouts and volcanoes, or to Djeyo where she can stay for two nights in a small hotel with a balcony overlooking the amber Sea of Somue. This new discovery - changing planes - enables Sita to visit bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own and sometimes open doors into the alien."--BOOK JACKET.
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