Your audiobook is waiting…

Changing Planes

Narrated by: Gabrielle De Cuir
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)
Regular price: $31.50
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

"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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    40
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Social Fiction

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Real Science Fiction

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Le Guin and De Cuir: Great combination

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Just ok

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A demonstration of Ms Le Guin's imagination

Starting with some cutting observations about airplane travel it moves on to the fantasy of spending time in alternate universe while waiting on airplane connections. The alternate universes are all highly imaginative echoing the ability she displayed on her other work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

High-proof LeGuin for fans of Douglas Adams

Changing Planes is LeGuin boldly doing away with most of the set-dressing surrounding her greatest talent: inventing other worlds as a way to ask questions--or sometimes make statements--about society here on Earth. None of the morally sanitized, mindlessly FX-exotified swordplay of Star Wars; we're taken just far enough away to be able to see our own lives more clearly, as from a distance. No wizards or spaceships here, none of the costumes that bind her other stories to the traditional architectures. Although LeGuin is a master costumer when she chooses to be, you won't miss it; the same way a minimalist production of a well-written play can be even more powerful than an ornate one, Changing Planes is like brandy compared to the wines of Earthsea and Hain. Sometimes absurd, often hilarious and touching, always insightful.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Mildly interesting/creative

I think I may have read another Ursula K. Le Guin book when I was a teenager. If I recall correctly, the book (whose name I cannot recall) was quite good. So when I saw this "Changing Planes" book on Audible, I instantly went for it. The premise of the book fascinated me and I enthusiastically dug in. I'm sad to say, it just didn't hold my attention. The assorted alternate realities talked about in the audio book literally put me to sleep after a while. A sociologist might find Ursula's descriptions quite fascinating and clever, but the average sci fi or fantasy enthusiast might find themselves underwhelmed. That being said, I stopped listening a little beyond halfway. I may fast forward to the ending. If I find it more redeeming, I will modify my review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

people!

are the same everywhere. Ursula Leguin takes your plane to different places, different inhabitants, yet so recognizable. I love these stories!