Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin

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"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.

Winner of the PEN/Malamud for Short Stories

About Ursula K. Le Guin

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Arguably one of the canonical writers of American science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, Calif., in 1929, the daughter of Alfred L. and Theodora Kroeber. After earning an A.B. degree from Radcliffe College and an A.M. from Columbia University, Le Guin was awarded a Fulbright fellowship in 1953. The genre formerly classified as 'science fiction' has become divided into sub-genres, such as fantasy, realistic fiction, alternative history, and other categories. Le Guin resists classifying her own work in any one area, saying that some of it may be called 'science fiction', while other writings may be considered 'realist' and still others 'magical realism' (her term). Le Guin is one of the few writers whose works (which include poetry and short fiction) can be found in public libraries' collections for children, young adults, and adults. Le Guin's published works include a novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, that won an American Library Association Notable Book citation, a Horn Book Honor List citation, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1979. She has been nominated several times for the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award--the highest honors in science fiction/fantasy writing--and has won both awards. Her Earthsea Trilogy is a mainstay of libraries' fantasy fiction collections. Le Guin married Charles Alfred Le Guin on December 22, 1953. They live in Portland, Ore.
Published July 1, 2003 by Harcourt. 256 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A peaceful society has paradoxically evolved from a lengthy history of territorialism, tyranny, and genocide (accomplished with the ultimate weapon of an uncontrollable “Black Dog”) in “Woeful Tales from Mahigul.” And Le Guin’s mythmaking power is brilliantly displayed in a story of winged people...

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Publishers Weekly

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(July)Forecast:Published as straight literary fiction, this has many subtle references to fantasy and science fiction, and might attract more browsers if shelved with Le Guin's SF works.

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Book Reporter

When the Beidr --- an aggressive, technologically advanced civilization --- sets out to save them from hormonal enslavement .

Jul 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Changing Planes: Stories

Escape Pod

While waiting to change planes, then, one might find one’s self actually changing planes.

Oct 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Changing Planes: Stories

The Zone

There are usually comfortable hostels open to human visitors, yet, as with any sort of tourist destinations, there are places that are probably best avoided (the fiery Veksians have a violent nature, while the Great Joy Corporation ruthlessly exploit your seasonal holiday yearnings - fleeci...

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