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Publisher's Summary

The planet Athshe was a paradise whose people were blessed with a mystical awareness of existence.

Then the conquerors arrived and began to rape, enslave, and kill humans with a flicker of humanity. The athseans were unskilled in the ways of war, and without weapons. But the gentle tribesmen possessed strange powers over their dreams. And the alien conquerors had taught them how to hate....

©1976 Ursula K. Le Guin; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 1973 Hugo Award, Best Novella
  • All-Time Best Novellas (Locus Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Archaon
  • Port Sydney, Ontario, Canada
  • 07-10-11

She is talent incarnate

Rarely can one find a read so full of deeper, and not instantly obvious, meanings that one has to stop the recording regularly to think about it, while also being wholly enraptured by the tale as it progresses.
Le Guin is a rare breed of writer, a true innovator, a master of literary sorcery.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aba
  • Detroit, MI United States
  • 02-24-11

Avatar's influence

Clearly, this book inspired James Cameron's Avatar. I enjoyed Avatar on many levels and appreciated very deep messages (and the not very deep messages). The Word for World is Forest is equally mesmerizing. Well worth your time.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Classic Tree Hugger Masterpiece

Ursula LeGuin is so much head & shoulders above most other SciFi/Phantasy writers it's not even funny. This world is beautiful and a dream. Allegory with guns, but not a shoot 'em up. Not for every one,it's somewhat slow. This is not a long novel, but so dense I relisten to chapters just to get it all. And then on re -reading/listening get more. Here the author does not spell everything out but it implied in a masterful way, that it engages your own imaginative function.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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amazing however sad story.

this short story is very good to start a discussion on colonization and it's long time effects on the communities, skiing other things. it's hard but worthy to read or hear it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Worth it for the narrator

Every once in a while you listen to a book that's both really well written and really well read. Kevin Pariseau knows pace, voices, and characterization and made this book more amazing than reading the written word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Dissapointing

This book was enough of a dud that I was prompted to write this review. Firstly, the book is short and is more of relating a series of events than an actual story with a plot that crescendos and comes to a climax and is then resolved. Only one character truly has any character development, and that is the one that you're supposed to view as the antagonist.

I am also disappointed to learn that Audible did not bother to mention that this is not the first book in the series (or the universe) of the Hainish Cycle. Had I known, I would not have bought it, as I prefer not to start in the middle of a series, and this book is not particularly interesting as a stand-alone.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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classic sci-fi.

the best the genre has to offer. very well read. I recomond all of Ursala K Le Guin.

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Good Tree Hugger story!!! :)

So after listening to this story, I see where a certain screen writer probably got a LOT of his inspiration for a certain movie about BLUE alien creatures that lived in the forests of a planet.

It's a fun story, and I think Avatar should've given more credit to this lady for not quite copying her story.

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 02-27-14

A bludgeon

I know this is a classic and I agree with its Message, but gee, I feel like Le Guin was wielding a bludgeon here. Ouch!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Avatar's Spiritual Predecessor

I was impressed with Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, so I was anticipating another nuanced sci-fi story with this novel. Instead I found it to be a little heavy-handed with the characterization, and a little neat in its conclusion. The antagonist is working for a logging company, one contracted to a forest-world a dozen or so lightyears from earth, who conducts his business as if he were the colonial administrator of the Belgian Congo in 1870. A sea change in colonial administration occurs, however, and suddenly he's dealing with superiors who are reminiscent of the Carter administration. Cue the antagonist going rogue trying to put-down the locals as they make a noble, murderous run for self-determination. Things work out, though, with the smallest amount of bloodshed.

If you want to listen to the first draft for Avatar, or you're looking for the best example of Le Guin's naivety, then get this book now. If you'd rather listen to a compelling story with believable characters, go somewhere else.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful