The 13 splendid tales in this huge collection (which, despite its title, does omit a few of Le Guin’s novella-length works) show why Le Guin is one of the most honored living writers of fantastic literature. Some of the science fiction stories explore the divergent development of worlds that the Hain seeded long ago with human ancestors; some fantasies examine how people on the different islands of the Earthsea Archipelago deal with their potential to use different kinds of magic. Two of the best stories work outside these favorite settings: the rambunctious but touching “Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight” (1987), a Hugo- and IFA-winner based on Southwest Native American lore; and “Paradises Lost” (2002), a gentle examination of how the crew of a starship fights the lure of religious fanaticism during a generations-long mission. Le Guin is never soggily sentimental, but throughout her long career she has preferred to deal with heartbreakingly real characters who discover that they can extend themselves into acts of generous compassion. These stories are wonderful, and full of wonder. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/17/2016 Release date: 10/18/2016 Genre: Fiction
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