Amph Ursula le Guin - don't use your real name here

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by Raja_Io, Jan 6, 2006.

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  1. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    Let us discuss the world of the Earthsea...

    I haven't seen the series yet, anyone could tell me if they're good?
  2. _Vengeance_ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 4
    Don't bother with the miniseries. It's a load of rubbish and I was actually insulted after watching the first part. It's even worse than the usual Sci-Fi Original Pictures films that channel produces, if that tells you anything. I remember hearing a rumour somewhere that an animated version of the books was in production, but I have no idea where I heard that and am doubting its validity. I'll get back if I can rummage any word of that up, or someone can correct me if they have the news.

    But! This is not the Film/TV forums, so let us stray away from such talk! Also, I would suggest contacting a mod and asking them to edit the thread a bit to make it more welcoming to the many other novels and short stories le Guin has written, to avoid any mixups later on and/or some light flooding. You may have meant to do so, but the title and first post really seem to only key in on her Earthsea saga. Just some advice. :)

    I've been a fan of the Earthsea trilogies about as long as I've been a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. That clocks in at around 5 or 6. I didn't enjoy the Earthsea trilogy nearly as much as the works of Tolkien at the time, but in the last few years quite the opposite has come to be, and I hold the series very close. To go with what will eventually be instituted in this thread anyways, I'll list my order of preference:

    1. The Farthest Shore
    2. A Wizard of Earthsea
    3. Tales from Earthsea
    4. The Other Wind
    5. Tehanu
    6. The Tombs of Atuan

    I think the only reason ToA was its own book was because le Guin didn't want to have such a drastic leap in time and geography at the end of the events in AWoE, and would have been far too much exposition for the beginning of TFS on top of what it already had. I really think the whole book can be summed up in about two paragraphs with just the same eloquence, suspense, and information as the whole book gave us. Anyone who hasn't gotten their hands on Tales from Earthsea, however, needs to. It's comprised of 5 different stories set in 5 different times in the world of Earthsea, and each of them are not only very enlightening as to the history of Earthsea, but are very worthwhile and beautiful stories on their own. It was around the age of 13 or 14 that are started reading the other works she had written (Orsinian Tales, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Telling, Malafrena, The Lathe of Heaven, et cetera,) and really became an avid fan of hers.

    I also have a question for any le Guin fans out there concerning one of her other books. Specifically, The Beginning Place. I'm really interested to hear what other folks took from this book and what they thought of it. I haven't read it in two years, but it really stuck with me when I read it, I enjoyed it a lot. I doubt many others here have read it, but if so, please grace me with your thoughts on it!
  3. emilsson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I first heard of Ursula le Guin three years ago when I read Mary Hourihan's Deconstructing the Hero which had a lot of praise for the Earthsea novels.

    Last year I finally bought The Earthsea Quartet that includes the first four novels. le Guin's storytelling reminded me a lot of Jungian psychology, especially the ending of the first book. It felt like Ged intergrated his shadow, the darker side of himself, instead of fighting it.

    I think le Guin adapted and twisted the traditional concept of the hero's journey and made it more interesting. In a sense, her Earthsea books criticises more standard ways of depicting heroes. Also, Tehanu provided an intriguing female perspective on these things. The main character in that novel differs in age from the typical protagonist of fantasy stories.
  4. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    didn't she also translate the tao te king or some such thing?
  5. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    ^ I have no idea.


    Tehanu... That book is just... I don't know how to put it. Generally, the atmosphere of le Guin's books (and the atmosphere is the most important thing in book for me) is something I've never seen (pardon, read) anywhere else. But the atmosphere of Tehanu is especially allembracing, if you know what I mean. There's something tense about the book, overwhelming, so to say. I can't get the word, even in Polish, and I'm sure I've got it on the tip of my tongue. But oh well, I may be overreacting a bit, since I haven't read the book for quite a time and it may have blurred a bit in my memory.



    If you have any ideas for the thread title, please post.
  6. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    let me quote from theonering.net:

    One of my favourite writers, and for many of the same reasons, is Ursula Le Guin. If The Lord of the Rings is a window into a huge vista, a crowded painting like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, then Le Guin?s books are like Chinese inkwash drawings, also hinting at vast expanses beyond the borders of the immediate story, but peopled with just a few characters drawn in firm strokes. They travel ? most notably Sparrowhawk in his small boat flying on the magewind between the islands of Earthsea ? but their quests are tilted more inwards, in the search for self-mastery and for the understanding of balance in the world.

    apparently she didn't. whoah, i'm confused. she didn't translate it. maybe i should read things more carefully.
  7. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    Sorry but who didn't translate what? :confused:
  8. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    the tao te king. i had thought she translated it.
  9. _Vengeance_ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 4
    Well, sort of.

    She wrote a very poetic and beautiful rendition of the Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow-deh-jing,) but it isn't the most accurate or all in all religiously useful version of the text. For the sake of comparison, I might liken it to the "The Message" Biblical Commentary or the KJV of the Bible. Not something you would necessarily want to use as your main religious compass, but very well written and very beautiful. A nice way to read the book for the first time before getting into the more difficult to read translations, and to keep for enjoyment and sofa reading.
  10. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    thank you! i didn't think i was that far off.
  11. JadeSolo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 6
    I saw the Earthsea miniseries. Wasn't that bad, but 1) I haven't read those books yet, and 2) I wasn't paying much attention in the first place. :p

    The only one I've read so far is The Left Hand of Darkness. It was difficult to get into, but once I did, wow! I loved the concept of a society just not having gender as a defining factor.

    I was told it's part of a series of books set in that universe? Can't remember what the series is called, though.
  12. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    Can't tell you, I've read only books of the Earthsea... But I'm going to read something else by le Guin as soon as I can.

    I wonder if I ever see the miniseries. I'ts been broadcast in Poland lately, but on a channel I don't have.
  13. Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2003
    star 4
    I've heard of this book, but hadn't heard of it being a series. It definitely sounds interesting. [face_thinking]

    I read one the Earthsea books - not sure, but I think it was The Other Wind - and really liked it. The whole concept of characters having true names that are only revealed to those very close to them is intriguing... I'm thinking of getting the quartet to follow the rest of the story.

    The most recent book I've read by Le Guin was Gifts. It was a young adult novel, but was very good, with some interesting notions about forgiveness and acceptance. I can see why she has the reputation she does.

  14. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    The books are great, and the miniseries are decent at times, with some scenes right out of the book, but with some other scenes completely made up and pretty bad.
  15. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    Classic with adaptations :rolleyes:
  16. Pigalek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 5
    I remember coming across this essay which talks about the Earthsea Quartet and mentions the mini series. It raises a some points I never actually noticed before about fantasy writing in general
  17. JarJarStink Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 15, 2003
    star 1
    I recommend The Dispossessed. It was the first Le Guin book I read and is still one of my five all time favorite books.
  18. Raja_Io Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    I have just finished le Guin's Malafrena. Has anyone in here read it too?
  19. Golden_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2005
    star 4
    I've loved that book from the first time I read it! But is not exactly part of a series, but from a set of non-related novels settled in the same universe, which is the Ekumen. The Dispossessed is from that universe and I highly recommend The Word for World Is Forest.


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