"Then came a child trotting to school with his little backpack. He trotted on all fours, neatly, his hands in leather mitts or boots that protected them from the pavement; he was pale, with small eyes, and a snout, but he was adorable." (From Changing Planes)
The misery of waiting for a connecting flight at an airport leads to the accidental discovery of alighting on other planes - not airplanes but planes of existence. Ursula Le Guin's deadpan premise frames a series of travel accounts by the tourist-narrator who describes bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own, and sometimes open puzzling doors into the alien.
©2003 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2003 New Millenium Audio, 2016 Phoenix Books
Le Guin is normally housed in bookstores under science fiction. Not normally a fan of the genre, this is the first book of hers I've "read." It's not "Star Wars" science fiction. Instead it's a look at what societies in parallel universes might be like if they weighed social and ethical responsibilities differently than we humans do here on earth. It's a GREAT, thought-provoking listen. I hope Audible will carry more of her stuff. Narrator does a great job, too.
This themed collection of short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin isn't her best work, but it's head and shoulders better than most of the stuff out there. Some of the stories are exquisitely moving, thought provoking, and/or screamingly funny. There's a light touch to even the most serious ones that narrator De Cuir does a great job of bringing out.
First off, I have to state that Gabrielle de Cuir is one of my favorite narrators, and she does a great job here as always.
For those who don't know her, Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the most important Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors of her generation, making significant contributions to both genres, including some true classics, such as the Lathe of Heaven, the Left Hand of Darkness, and (on the fantasy side) the Earthsea cycle. She is more akin to Margaret Atwood than Lois McMaster Bujold, with no offense meant -- I love my periodic Vorkosigan fix.
Her Sci-Fi is also somewhat reminiscent of Bradbury, which means that this is true cerebral science fiction, where the stories and fantastical settings are employed as tools to enable us think about ourselves, our culture and mores. As a collection of short stories, some of the "Planes" visited are more compelling and intriguing than others, and I would not place Changing Planes on quite the same level as the novels mentioned above, but it is still head and shoulders above much of what goes for Sci-Fi or speculative fiction these days.
Narrator was good, stories somewhat interesting, and good premise, but nothing that great.
I listened to it all, but was not enthralled with anything. This is a collection of interwoven short stories about the narrator's visit to different "planes".
A lot of promise that just doesn't materialize.
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