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The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. Le…
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I love most of Le Guin's writing, but short stories aren't my thing. It was surprising, then, that this short story collection hooked me. My favourite story from it was probably "Things", particularly for the ending: "Hold on, he said softly to the woman, and they took the last step." ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Probably my favorite Le Guin short story collection. The Darkness Box and most especially The Direction of the Road which had a profound effect on me in my youth. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
...The Wind's Twelve Quarter ends on a high, that is for sure. Some of the stories in this collection are no doubt among the best Le Guin as produced. All things considered, it isn't one of those very rare collections that manage a consistently high quality though. It is a collection that shows Le Guin's style, themes and development as a writer however. With links to her most important works and some award winning stories, perhaps it is not so strange this collection has been in print for more than three decades. I would not recommend someone with an interest in Le Guin's work to start here, it is probably better to have read a few novels first, but for the real fan it is definitely a must read.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | May 28, 2012 |
In her foreword to this short story collection, Le Guin refers to it as a retrospective. 17 short stories are assembled here from the first 10-12 years of Le Guin's publication. They cover the period 1962 to 1974 and originally appeared in anthologies such as Orbit, New Dimensions and various magazines.

I had read one or two of these stories several decades ago, but such time has passed that I have no real recollection of them other than the title. I picked this up primarily to read two Earthsea "prequel" stories, ones that were written before any of the Earthsea novels. However, I am discovering that there are a number of seminal stories in the book, including the first story "Semley's Necklace", which became the spring off point for Rocannon's World, a novel I liked a lot as a youngster. It was a treat to read this and it had echoes of remembrance for me. There is also a brief mention of Rocannon in the story "Vaster than Empires and More Slow".

In addition to the foreword to this collection from Le Guin, she prefaces each story within with background information about the story. This is a real bonus giving us insight into the writer's mind, trivia and ideas. I also liked discovering that Le Guin had a short story rejected from John Campbell at Astounding - and was proud of the rejection slip - she had written and submitted the story at the age of 12. It would be dozens of stories and about twenty years before a story of hers was finally published in Fantastic Magazine at the age of 32. Slightly annoying, though, was Le Guin's constant use of a term in relation to her writing, one I had never heard before and which perhaps she made up, and which really didn't have meaning to me: "Psychomyth". So her repeated references to something either being or not being a psychomyth was not instructive.

What is possibly Le Guin's most famous or renowned short story, "The ones who walk away from Omelas" is included in this collection. This book provided the reason for the name Omelas. I was rather surprised. The story never rocked my world.

The oldest story in the collection, "April in Paris" is nearly 50 years old as I write this, and it is a fairly good tale. The quality of the stories overall is somewhat uneven, and I was even bored a bit at times ("Darkness Box", "The Trip") and rather disinterested in some of the others. I didn't care for the style of writing in a number of the stories.

The two Earthsea stories, which prompted me to read this collection were quite short (about 22 pgs
total including the introductions by Le Guin) and are mostly of interest from a historical view as the beginnings of the Earthsea world. I'm surprised, though, that Le Guin did not set more short stories within Earthsea. The "Left hand of Darkness" related story "Winter's King" was interesting and quite good. My least favorite stories and the ones that felt the most dated were
the stories told in a "hip" or with a bit of a trippy stream of consciousness manner. Overall this is an uneven collection that I expected to enjoy a lot more than I did. I'd rate it at the low end of my average reading. ( )
1 vote RBeffa | Jul 28, 2011 |
A collection of twelve short stories by Le Guin, published between 1962 and 1974. I've read a number of Le Guin's novels, but not so many of her short stories. These stories are very thoughtful, and and intelligently written. Stories about foolish choices, loneliness, and the death of science. Le Guin can disturb you like no other.
1 vote AwesomeAud | Jun 5, 2011 |
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Epigraph
From far, from eve and morning
And you twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither; here am I.

Now--for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart--
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind's twelve quarters
I take my endless way.

A. E. Housman: A Shropshire Lad
Dedication
First words
FOREWORD

This collection is what painters call a retrospective; it gives a roughly chronological survey of my short stories during the first ten years after I broke into print, belated but undaunted, at the age of thirty-two.
How can you tell the legend from the fact on those worlds that lie so many years away?—planets without names, called by their people simply The World, planets without history, where the past is the matter of myth, and a returning explorer finds his own doings of a few years back have become the gestures of a god.
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"He had been trying to measure the distance between the earth and God."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contains:

# Semley's Necklace

# April in Paris

# The Masters

# Darkness Box

# The Word of Unbinding

# The Rule of Names

# Winter's King

# The Good Trip

# Nine Lives

# Things

# A Trip to the Head

# Vaster Than Empires and More Slow

# The Stars Below

# The Field of Vision

# Direction of the Road

# The Ones Who Walks Away from Omelas

# The Day Before the Revolution
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060914343, Paperback)

The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, and the Pushcart Prize, Ursula K. Le Guin is renowned for her lyrical writing, rich characters, and diverse worlds. The Wind's Twelve Quarters collects seventeen powerful stories, each with an introduction by the author, ranging from fantasy to intriguing scientific concepts, from medieval settings to the future.

Including an insightful foreword by Le Guin, describing her experience, her inspirations, and her approach to writing, this stunning collection explores human values, relationships, and survival, and showcases the myriad talents of one of the most provocative writers of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:46 -0400)

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