The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin
And Other Stories

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Synopsis

For more than four decades, Ursula K. Le Guin has enthralled readers with her imagination, clarity, and moral vision. The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, and five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, this renowned writer has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. Now, in The Birthday of the World, this gifted artist returns to these worlds in eight brilliant short works, including a never-before-published novella, each of which probes the essence of humanity.

Here are stories that explore complex social interactions and troublesome issues of gender and sex; that define and defy notions of personal relationships and of society itself; that examine loyalty, survival, and introversion; that bring to light the vicissitudes of slavery and the meaning of transformation, religion, and history.

The first six tales in this spectacular volume are set in the author's signature world of the Ekumen, "my pseudo-coherent universe with holes in the elbows," as Le Guin describes it -- a world made familiar in her award-winning novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The seventh, title story was hailed by Publishers Weekly as "remarkable . . . a standout." The final offering in the collection, Paradises Lost, is a mesmerizing novella of space exploration and the pursuit of happiness.

In her foreword, Ursula K. Le Guin writes, "to create difference-to establish strangeness-then to let the fiery arc of human emotion leap and close the gap: this acrobatics of the imagination fascinates and satisfies me as no other." In The Birthday of the World, this gifted literary acrobat exhibits a dazzling array of skills that will fascinate and satisfy us all.

 

About Ursula K. Le Guin

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Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. Among her honors are a National Book Award, five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon. www.ursulakleguin.com
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 384 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Birthday of the World

Kirkus Reviews

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Eight stories, including seven reprints and a never-before-published novella, by the masterful Le Guin (The Telling, 2000, etc.), who has racked some SF and fantasy classics onto her shelf since receiving her first rejection slip, at age 11, from Amazing Stories.

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The Guardian

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The Birthday of the World by Ursula K Le Guin 304pp, Gollancz, £16.99 Though much of her work, including the charming fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea, has been addressed to the "young adult" category, Ursula Le Guin is perhaps best known for her three great political novels of science ficti...

Jan 18 2003 | Read Full Review of The Birthday of the World: An...

Publishers Weekly

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In "The Birthday of the World," the nature of God is considered as hereditary rulers, literal gods to their subjects, give up their power when new gods—aliens—come, throwing their culture into chaos.Gender is a constant concern: "The Matter of Seggri" takes place on a planet where women greatly o...

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Teen Reads

The brilliance of Le Guin's work lies in her remarkable ability to create worlds completely alien from our own --- and to use these other worlds to comment on our own perceptions of love, sex, marriage, and partnership.

Mar 05 2002 | Read Full Review of The Birthday of the World: An...

The Best Reviews

Fans of deep science fiction that stars aliens in order to dig into the human condition will want to read Ursula K.

Feb 07 2002 | Read Full Review of The Birthday of the World: An...

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