Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Three Complete Novels of the Hainish Series in One Volume–Rocannon’s World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions (Hainish Cycle, 1-3)
In these three books, collected in one volume, the expertly written plots, while engrossing, are merely a vehicle to explore LeGuin’s complex and beautiful ideas. Each of these only loosely connected stories can stand perfectly on its own, but reading the three in succession you see themes introduced, developed, echoed and revisited in multiple layers. Rocannan’s World introduces themes of splitting apart what should be connected, and the way to reintegrate bifurcations into wholeness; for example, light and shadow, above and below, lord and servant, even predator and prey. Planet of Exile explores the idea of the alien, and how to treat “the other” — but also revisits that idea of bringing together that which is separate. City of Illusions brings up themes of truth and of finding what something truly is, its “true name”, and the power of that truth — then you realize, that theme has been omnipresent in the other two books as well. There are depths and layers that weave these themes through all three of the books and connect them through much more than the superficial plots would lead you to believe. The perceptive will find many analogies to our own times as well.
|Ursula K. Le Guin
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|Science Fiction & Fantasy