Read Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin Online


This debut novel from preeminent science-fiction writer Ursula LeGuin introduces her brilliant Hainish series, set in a galaxy seeded by the planet Hain with a variety of humanoid species, including that of Earth. Over the centuries, the Hainish colonies have evolved into physically and culturally unique peoples, joined by a League of All Worlds.Earth-scientist Rocannon haThis debut novel from preeminent science-fiction writer Ursula LeGuin introduces her brilliant Hainish series, set in a galaxy seeded by the planet Hain with a variety of humanoid species, including that of Earth. Over the centuries, the Hainish colonies have evolved into physically and culturally unique peoples, joined by a League of All Worlds.Earth-scientist Rocannon has been leading an ethnological survey on a remote world populated by three native races: the cavern-dwelling Gdemiar, the elvish Fiia, and the warrior clan, Liuar. But when the technologically primitive planet is suddenly invaded by a fleet of ships from the stars, rebels against the League of All Worlds, Rocannon is the only survey member left alive. Marooned among alien peoples, he leads the battle to free this newly discovered world and finds that legends grow around him as he fights....

Title : Rocannon's World
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ISBN : 9780060125684
Format Type : Unknown Binding
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Rocannon's World Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-02-02 07:06

    3.5 stars. This 1966 SF novel is part of the impressive two-volume set Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories, just published on Sept. 5, 2017, which a publicist was kind enough to send me. I'm gradually working my way through that collection, which is going to take a good long while. But here's my review for the first novel in the collection, which is Le Guin's first published novel. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:In her debut novel Rocannon’s World (1966), Ursula K. Le Guin blends mythic fantasy and science fiction in this appealing, if not notably original, novel. The prologue, “The Necklace,” takes place many years before the main part of the story. Semley, dark-skinned and yellow-haired like all of her people on a remote, unnamed planet (called Formalhaut II by Hainish scientists from the League of All Worlds) is a queen of her people. She and her beloved husband are poverty-stricken, but Semley remembers that once her family owned a fabulous necklace that was stolen in her great-grandmother’s day. Finding it again becomes a passion for Semley, so she leaves one night to find her lost inheritance. Her travels will take her farther than she could have imagined. “The Necklace” was originally published as a stand-alone short story, Semley's Necklace: A Story, an imaginative retelling of the myth of Freya’s necklace Brísingamen, and how her obsession with it ultimately brings her great sorrow.In her travels, Semley met a Hainish scientist, Gaverel Rocannon, who never forgets Semley. Rocannon later travels to her planet as part of a scientific team doing cultural exploration. As the main part of this novel begins, Rocannon’s colleagues and their spaceship are blown up by galactic rebels, leaving Rocannon stranded and alone with the natives of the planet. He has no way to contact galactic authorities to warn them of the danger from these rebels, who are using this world as a secret base for their aggressive war of conquest. Rocannon determines that he needs to make the difficult journey to the rebel base, infiltrate it, and use their ansible ― an instant FTL communication device ― to send out a warning.He and several helpful natives embark on a dangerous cross-country (and sea and mountain) trek, and Rocannon learns things about this unnamed world that he had never learned in his earlier scientific explorations. There are several different humanoid races on this planet, as well as flying windsteeds (an unlikely cross between Pegasus and a tiger) that are vital to the success of the mission.Rocannon’s World is a little old-fashioned and derivative, vaguely Tolkienesque, with native races that are reminiscent of the elves, dwarves, and men, and including what Le Guin herself called “fragments of Norse mythology.” Not all of the science in it is believable; I had major issues swallowing the windsteeds that could carry not one but two men, as a practical matter. Le Guin also admits, in an afterword published in the 1970s, that Rocannon’s “impermasuit,” a near-invisible suit that protects against cold, heat, radioactivity, swordstrokes, and bullets (of moderate velocity) would suffocate the wearer in minutes.But Rocannon’s World also has a reasonably solid plot, with an engaging interplay of science fiction and mythic fantasy, and there are flashes of brilliance in her writing. While Rocannon’s journey has more of a fantasy vibe to it, there are also occasional quotes from League handbooks and handy pocket guides that strengthen the SF element. My imagination was captured by the origin of the ansible in this novel, a concept so useful that it has been adopted not only by Orson Scott Card but many other SF authors.Rocannon’s World will probably be of interest primarily to Le Guin completists and readers who love retro science fiction, but I don’t regret the time I spent in this world.Next up: Planet of Exile.

  • Markus
    2019-01-25 04:44

    Ekumen scientist Rocannon is interrupted in his mission on a primitive world by an attack from the League's enemies. All of a sudden he finds himself fighting with and leading the natives in the struggle, and grows into a revered legend.Rocannon's World is the first published novel of Ursula K. Le Guin, and the first instalment in the so-called Hainish cycle. It is unfortunately also definitely the weakest book I've read by her, but that hardly means that it was disappointing. Only that it didn't reach the remarkably high standards set by her later books.Overall, it was an enjoyable read with gorgeous writing.

  • Brad
    2019-01-25 23:58

    I've been teaching the beginning of Rocannon's World for many years now. I found it as the short story Semley's Necklace in a Sci-Fi anthology, and I always meant to track down its source, but whenever I remembered to look for it at used book stores it was never there. I recently discovered it had been reprinted, so I finally scored a copy and gave it a much belated read.It started as I expected (odd that, isn't it?), and the early moments of Rocannon's time on the world that would be named for him were fascinating, then things took a strange meandering turn. Rocannon was off to destroy the ansible of a rebellious alien species who were making their base on the world he'd been studying, using it as a launching pad for war against the Hainish Federation, so he has to get from point A to point B. And that's what the book was, a journey around this world, meeting new alien races, meeting races we already knew, and generally watching Rocannon make myths for the natives with his strange looks and powerful (though simple to him) technology. It was good, I was digging the ride, but there was none of that transcendent LeGuin stamp. Then came the denoument, and there it was -- the LeGuin greatness. Rocannon's victory. It was potent in an unexpected way. It was tainted, as it had to be, by its very effectiveness. It made me cry. It opened a whole new path of thought in my brain. I love it when she does that to me. Damn she's good. I can't say anything more for fear of wrecking the moment for anyone who decides to read Rocannon's world, but I will say this: "Wow."

  • Lyn
    2019-01-31 23:42

    Rocannon’s World was Ursula K. Le Guin’s first published novel, by Ace Publishing in 1966. This novel also introduced Le Guin’s brilliant Hainish Cycle, where she describes the universe as having been settled and re-discovered by a race founded on Hain (not Earth, or Terra) as she identified our planet. Le Guin also introduced her instant communicator, the ansible, that has been used in other author’s books and has proven a uniquely necessary concept in the science fiction genre. This is interesting, and fun, and reveals some of the talent that Le Guin would later display in mastery. Le Guin’s description of different alien races was vaguely reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-02-06 01:47

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."-Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law of Scientific PredictionIt is easy to point to certain works and state 'this is sci fi' or 'this is fantasy', but this has more to do with traditions and habits than with strict definitions. Fantastical works ostensibly look the the past, science fiction to the future, but both operate around grand myths, social meanings, and items of inexplicable power. Often, these items act as tangible moral forces, metaphors-made-real.Each subgenre has pilfered from the other, so we have seen the tales of John Carter of Mars and Star Wars, fantasy stories with sci fi trappings, and also fantasy stories where magic becomes a replacement for technology, operating by a system of rules as thoroughly described as any technophile digression.But there has always been room for stories which work between these genres, which use the concepts of both in conjunction, producing from the combination of things familiar a story which feels novel. Lovecraft played often with this line, indicating that every superstitious fear had a rational explanation--a system--even if we, as lowly humans, could never really understand it.And some modern authors have taken this idea more literally, creating worlds which seem in every way to be magical fantasies, but which actually operate on far-advanced technologies. This was the twist of a certain author's famous series, but I found his execution much less interesting than LeGuin's take.This story is anchored by an impresive prologue which rewrites a recognizable English fairy myth, seamlessly combining it with the corresponding sci fi tropes. Thus each instance of superstition or impossibility becomes something forward-looking and inevitable.The story takes some cues from Lovecraft, showing how the disparate knowldege of the interacting cultures becomes the myth of one and the politics of the other. The reader is, of course, from a culture that lies somewhere between mythic past and star-spanning future, but still finds mutual sympathy with both despite the great distances involved.LeGuin's knowledge and use of the tropes of each genre sets her apart as a conscientious, clever writer, and her ability to weave them together into a single story is even more impressive. Unfortunately, as she expands from the prologue to the story itself, she loses some of the drive of the shorter form.The story is interesting, thoughtful, and continues to display those little gems of insight which tie the myths of magic to the myths of technology, but she does not take advantage of the longer form's strengths. She seems to feel the need for more and deeper character interactions, but never quite manages to demonstrate them.As in Left Hand of Darkness, I felt a need for more: for her to plunge deeper, to take more risks, and to give us more of the moments she only hinted at. We also get a similar story of an alien lost in a strange world, traveling ever on with a specific but impersonal mission. He makes friends, but always distantly, and in the end, must give them up to achieve his ends. This method would have been more effective if those relationships had been more developed.Likewise, we get a bit of telepathy here and there, but yet again, it is not important to the story, nor does she use it as an opportunity to explore something difficult. Even as she cleverly turns magic into technology, she fails to do much with the bits of sci fi magic that remain.I appreciated what she achieved, but she extended the story to a length which exceeded its depth. Everything is laid out so exquisitely in the opening chapter that nothing after quite measures up to it.

  • Amar
    2019-02-07 06:58

    Zvučala je zanimljive no što je bila . Šteta , odlično je krenula sa prologom i pričom o izgubljenoj ogrlici . Zatim je , nažalost , propala u dosadi .Veliki plus : naslućuje se predivan stil pisanja . Ipak je ovo njena prva knjiga pa na nekim mjestima koči .Minus ( za ovo izdanje ): očajan prijevod . Prolog sam pročitao da nisam ni skužio o čemu se radilo .Siguran sam da je ovo jedna od najslabijih , ako ne i najslabija knjiga od Ursule . Očekujem mnogo bolje "nastavke" .

  • Ian
    2019-02-18 01:45

    Rocannon's World is too slow to be a sprint and too short to be a marathon, and its scenery and people are too varied to be tied to one locale.Rocannon's World is a power walk through Balboa Park on a spring morning, daylight breaking over the groves of eucalyptus and palm. It's a jog along Mission Beach at dusk in the summer, the sun's evening light turning the clouds far out over the Pacific every shade of pink, red, and orange. The societies in Rocannon's World are diverse and separate, yet linked in ways both apparent and subtle—another parallel to San Diego, in which tourism, the military, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, farming, and government all mingle and collide and, ultimately, get along pretty well.I think Rocannon's World is UKL's first novel (really more of a novella by today's standards); it was published in 1966 and was based on a short story first published in 1964. If you find a novel of hers published earlier then I stand corrected, but the point is that Rocannon's World is one of UKL's earliest published works, and it shows the talent, vision, and style that would make her such a popular author in the coming decades. We get a solid glimpse of her ability to write in spare, beautiful prose, her talent for communicating everything the reader needs without wasting a single word or phrase. UKL also has a fondness of the romantic and fantastic, a fondness that she would temper with realism in her later books, making her story lines a little more believable, relatable. But Rocannon's World is Romantic and Fantastic, not so much relatable.I enjoyed this book, found it relaxing, but got a little bored in a couple places and found myself sighing at the corniness in others. Still, even with the criticism, this is not a bad book. UKL's worst is still better than some authors' best. Her messing around reads easier than some authors' thoughtful planning. If you're a UKL fan, Rocannon's World is a notch you should have on your belt.

  • Belcebon
    2019-01-27 03:11

    Llevaba toda la vida preparándome para leer a Ursula K. Le Guin y no siquiera lo sabía. Y espero que este cuento sea la carta de presentación de lo que me espera al leer el resto de su obra.Y no es tanto por la historia de esta novela si no por todas las implicaciones que hay detrás. Una construcción de mundo apenas inexistente que ha creado un universo en cuatro pinceladas. Si esto no es genialidad no sé qué puede ser. La próxima vez que alguien me diga que la mejor descripción de fusión es el flamenco-jazz le voy a estampar un libro de Le Guin en su cara.

  • KatHooper
    2019-01-23 04:06

    Originally posted at FanLit.’s World, published in 1966, is Ursula Le Guin’s debut novel and the first in her HAINISH CYCLE. The story describes how Rocannon, an ethnographer, became stranded on the planet he was charting when a spaceship from Faraday, a rogue planet that is an enemy to the League of All Worlds, blew up his spaceship and the rest of his crew. Rocannon thinks he’s trapped forever until he sees a helicopter and realizes that Faraday must have a secret base on the planet. If he can find it, he can use its ansible to communicate with the League, not only letting them know that he lives, but also the location of the secret enemy base. (Fun Fact: This is the book that one of Orson Scott Card’s characters in Ender’s Game refers to when he mentions that the word “ansible” came out of an old book. Card enjoys playing this little game with SFF fans. I read Rocannon’s World after I read Ender’s Game, so this was an “ah-ha!” moment for me.)So Rocannon collects a small group of companions and sets out across the planet on a quest to find the enemy base. Along the way he meets a few different cultures, some who are typical residents of high fantasy literature — castle-dwelling lords of a feudal society; the Fiia, who are like elves; the underground Clay People, who are like dwarves, etc. He tries to document information about these species and cultures as he goes (as usual, Le Guin’s anthropological interests are clear), but the difficulty of his quest interferes. He suffers much loss and tragedy along the way. Will he find the enemy base? Will he be rescued, or will he live on this planet forever? What Rocannon gets out of his mission is not something he expected.Rocannon’s World has elements of both science fiction and fantasy — a technologically advanced star-traveler visits and charts the unknown species on a backward planet. The episodic plot, which sort of jumps from one cultural experience to the next, is entertaining, but not always compelling or believable. All these different HILFs (Highly Intelligent Life Forms) on one small planet, isolated from each other with no apparent cooperation or competition? Hard to believe.Le Guin’s signature epigrammatic style is on display in Rocannon’s World, but her creativity and deep character development isn’t up to the level we’ll see later in her career. For example, I was disappointed to discover that this unknown planet was inhabited mostly by races who are recognizable from Earth’s history or mythology.The prologue to Rocannon’s World is the short story “Semley’s Necklace,” which was published in 1964 in Amazing Stories. It tells of a young queen named Semley who met Rocannon when she went to the Clay People to ask them to help her claim a sapphire necklace that was her inheritance. They take her on a spaceship to retrieve the jewels and when she returns home with the necklace she gets an unpleasant lesson in space-time relativity. I liked this story, especially the intermingling of science fiction and fantasy, and I liked how this carried over to Rocannon’s story — he was also personally affected by the effects of space-time relativity.Rocannon’s World is not up to Le Guin’s later level, but it’s enjoyable enough and a worthy read just because of its historical value as Le Guin’s debut novel. I listened to Stefan Rudnicki narrate Blackstone Audio’s version which is five hours long. Rudnicki was very good, as always.Rocannon’s World (The Hainish Cycle) — (1966) A world shared by three native humanoid races — the cavern-dwelling Gdemiar, elvish Fiia, and warrior clan, Liuar — is suddenly invaded and conquered by a fleet of ships from the stars. Earth scientist Rocannon is on that world, and he sees his friends murdered and his spaceship destroyed. Marooned among alien peoples, he leads the battle to free this new world — and finds that legends grow around him even as he fights.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-02 05:01

    Ceridwen, I'm so sorry, but I did pretty much hate this. I didn't want to -- I've always heard great things and meant to read Ursula Le Guin (she went to my high school!), but what I'd forgotten to factor in was that I just don't "get" fantasy/sci fi... at all.I mean, actually I don't understand why that is really. Perhaps there is something essential that is dead and withered inside me and that is why I can't read a word like "windsteed" without snorting and rolling my eyes. I mean, what is it about genre fiction, that makes it not fiction-fiction? I like to think that I can get into experimental stuff, and so in theory yeah, why not read about invented worlds? Sounds cool, doesn't it? But -- okay, based on an admittedly miniscule sample size -- I feel like in fact it is not.To me this felt like, oh I don't know, the difference between shopping for a uniform or specific sports clothing (that'd be reading genre fiction) as opposed to just clothes ("regular" fiction). Or maybe better -- especially for me -- listening to electronic music designed for club dancing, as opposed to normal music made out of instruments and people singing and stuff. And I don't know why that is, exactly. I guess there being certain recognizable conventions I find very unattractive -- spaceships, quests, etc. -- is something that's heightened by my unfamiliarity with them. This stuff's probably somewhat like a language you get used to, and then you stop noticing these things so much and can start distinguishing the good ones from the bad... I was somewhat relieved to see that most Le Guin fans aren't that crazy about this particular early book, so maybe I can still try something else of hers at some point and see if I can stomach it better.But honestly I don't know if I can handle the whole sci fi "thing," though the fact that I can't bothers me a bit, since I don't quite understand why that is. There were things I liked in here -- e.g., fantastic landscape descriptions -- that were possible because of the genre. But ultimately I had a real problem with suspending my disbelief. Like, if you have this entirely invented world with flying cats and telepathy and all this crazy shit going on, I can't get invested in the stakes of the narrative because I don't know the rules, and so none of it seems real enough to be important. Like, I did like the part where (SPOILER ALERT!) some friendly badger-type people come and save our heroes from the malevolent but good-looking angelic insects, but like, I don't know, if talking badgers can suddenly appear and then you can just wing it out of the metal walled city on your flying cat, then like, how can I get invested in anything that might happen, because anything might happen? It's be like watching a soccer game but knowing some of the players might suddenly turn invisible or fly. Maybe that should make the game way cooler to watch, but it might actually just make the whole thing more boring.This is probably a problem that goes away once one becomes a seasoned sci fi/fantasy reader, but I have a feeling that's something that won't happen to me. Am I a jerk? Should I try harder? I feel like I could get super into this stuff when I was a kid, but it might be too late in life now. Ceridwen -- or someone -- any thoughts on the value or appeal of this? Worth trying to get into, or does one just have a taste for it or not?

  • Jim
    2019-02-07 22:49

    One of the nice things about growing older is that one can rediscover authors and works that meant a lot to myself long ago, and see how things have changed over the years. Ursula K. Le Guin was one of my favorite writers of what I call "recreational literature." Rocannon's World was her very first novel, published in 1966, the year I came to live in Southern California. What I have always like about Le Guin, is everything that her middle initial implies: It was Kroeber, after her father, Alfred L. Kroeber, an ethnologist who studied under the famous Franz Boas, and who was partly the subject of his wife Theodora's book Ishi in Two Worlds, about the last Yahi Indian. With all those anthropological genes running in her veins, Ursula has managed to add a unique twist to her writing.Rocannon's World is full of many many peoples and cultures. The ethnologist hero Gaverel Rocannon is the only survivor of an attack on his party by an interplanetary rebellion and must make use of these different peoples to find a way to bring help to them. With all these cultures rubbing up against one another, Ursula's writing is like a rich tapestry:The little Name-Eaters, the Kiemhrir, these are in old songs we sing from mind to mind, but not the Winged Ones. The friends, but not the enemies. The sunlight, not the dark. And I am companion of Olhor [the Wanderer, nickname for Rocannon] who goes southward into the legends, bearing no sword. I ride with Olhor, who seeks to hear his enemy's voice, who has traveled through the great dark, who has seen the World hang like a blue jewel in the darkness. I am only a half-person. I cannot go farther than the hills. I cannot go into the high places with you, Olhor!This book is a strange mixture of fantasy and science fiction, but always with its foot on the ground. As one reads it, one gets a sense of place crowded with many cultures. Some of the characters may be a little stereotyped, but it was, after all, her first novel.As such, it was good enough to decide me on reading the other two novels in the so-called Hainish trilogy of which Rocannon's World is the first volume.

  • Cynamonka
    2019-02-10 01:48

    Po raz kolejny przekonałam się, że Le Guin chyba lepiej wychodzą opowieści fantasy niż sci-fi. Świat Rocannona bardzo mi się podobał na tej samej zasadzie co "Władca Pierścieni". Chodzi o te legendy ukryte w mroku dziejów, legendy, które okazują się prawdziwe. Bardzo mi szkoda tych bohaterów i przez całą historię przebija nieskończony smutek, ale to tylko dodaje smaczku całej opowieści.Zobaczymy co będzie dalej, bo "Lewą rękę ciemności" czytałam bardzo dawno temu, chyba jeszcze w gimnazjum i wtedy strasznie mnie zmęczyła i znudziła. Ale - jak to mówią - do niektórych powieści się dorasta, a z innych wyrasta.

  • Zanna
    2019-02-12 00:56

    I was a touch put off by the ponderous, ceremonial style of much of the prologue. My culturally learned nostalgia for heroic-feudal societies is a part of my psyche I've disciplined somewhat with critical consciousness, and I had to sort of soothe myself into this with the assurance that Le Guin wouldn't indulge in some decidedly Tolkiensque world building without an eye on the real injustices such writing often glorifies or naively capitalises on. Sure enough, a humanly familiar narrator takes over, and proceeds to interact with the racist, jewellery-loving, territorial, arrogant, honour-focussed, touchingly hospitable and magnanimous castle dwelling noble warriors and their serfs with affection, qualified admiration and a very different set of values. Rocannon is aware of his own bias in favour of these humanlike folks over the taciturn subterranean dwarfish species selected for 'League* membership' by another League group. He likes them because they are similar to him, and because they speak to that nostalgia I mentioned. A third species are elfish or fairylike people, capable of telepathy ('mindhearing'), communitarian and sweet-natured, speaking to another childhood literary taste.*This League is an interstellar alliance apparentlyIn short, this is a fantasy quest to save the world with fairies dwarfs and dragons (er... sort of) and very very scary monsters, only in space, and narrated by a middle aged male ethnographer. Does that sound good? It worked for me, anyway. Rocannon's adaptability, courtesy, self-awareness and ethical outlook make him an excellent travelling companion, certainly no 'everyman' cipher. Le Guin is sensitive to racialisation and social class divisions. The 'pseudo-race' that Mogien belongs to is dark skinned with yellow 'golden' hair, in contrast to the pale, dark-haired subjugated caste. We meet a group of these who are self-governed, though they don't come across well. However, the privileged class comes across worse in their bigotry. Anyway, I always give points for writing brown people in fantasy/sf who aren't congenitally evil...Aside from the deeply likeable Rocannon, Le Guin attends carefully to the other characters, especially Mogien, Yahan and Kyo, who are suitably alien in their personalities, yet highly sympathetic. The whole thing is very male, with women dispensing wisdom, controlling strong emotions while waiting back at the castle. The exception, Semley, is narratively punished for her courage, though her actions precipitate the entire story. I richly enjoyed the world building and the reverence for natural beauty that glows from Le Guin's descriptions. The exciting encounters with the land and its inhabitants, the flow of good and bad luck, as well as my feeling for the characters, involved me deeply in the events, and I was hungry for more Hainish at the end.

  • Timothy
    2019-02-20 22:59

    Rocannon, anthropologist and wanderer, sets out on a quest of revenge and justice. Brilliant storytelling. The alien world is alive and believable. I can see the far future of humanity following the same paths as Rocannon.

  • Daniel Afloarei
    2019-02-10 04:04

    So, so, so good and unique. Mi-as fi dorit sa fie putin la lunga.

  • Buck Ward
    2019-02-04 22:43

    This is Ursula K Le Guin's debut science fiction novel. The first book of hers that I read was the great Left Hand of Darkness, the fourth in the Hainish cycle of which Rocannon's World is the first. The Hainish cycle isn't a series, per se, and so it really doesn't seem to matter the order in which they are read. Rocannon's World is science fiction. It has interstellar travel and FTL ships and laser weapons; but it is also high fantasy, with lords and vassals, swords and castles, legends and great flying beasts. The story of Rocannon's World is Rocannon's quest, along with his band of intrepid travelers, for the ansible* of his enemy. Along the way they meet foes that take their toll on Rocannon and his companions. It is an adventure tale, well told and worth the reading.Having read a number of Le Guins books, including a couple I didn't particularly care for, she has become a favorite author. Now, after reading Rocannon's World, I expect to read all of her Hainish cycle books, and probably quite a few more.*The ansible is a device that allows instantaneous communication over interstellar distances. As far as I know, it was invented by Le Guin. It is also used by Orson Scott Card in the Ender series.

  • Pyza Wędrowniczka
    2019-02-16 03:55

    W czytaniu Ursuli Le Guin jest coś z melancholii, że wszystko, o czym pisze, już się wydarzyło: czytelnik – tak jak i część jej bohaterów – staje zatem w roli obserwatora. Nic nie da się zmienić, los już się wypełnił, stoimy w prześwicie historii, która już po części została opisana, skatalogowana i zmityzowana. Nie ma nad czym płakać – można się tylko przyglądać.

  • Jeraviz
    2019-02-11 05:57

    Siempre es un buen plan para todo amante de la Fantasía y la Ciencia Ficción leer la primera novela de una de las maestras del género en el último siglo.En este cuento podemos ver ya los pilares en lo que se basarían los puntos fuertes de Le Guin: la atmósfera, el lenguaje, la construcción de las sociedades...El argumento es el típico del viaje del héroe y su conversión, con un trasfondo que deja ver que el universo que crea Le Guin es mucho mayor.

  • Ran
    2019-01-23 23:12

    Le Guin certainly liked to write journeys. I suppose, the journey is really the reward ... not in Rocannon's case, though. This story is set on a planet (unnamed but referred to as Fomalhaut II) that has several races and has reached a Middle Ages sort of existence, whichin the reader finds feudal systems, Bronze age weaponry, and the odd flying horse/cat creature here and there. Meanwhile, in space around this unassuming planet, a war rages between the interstellar Ekumen society and a planet called Faraday which brings all sorts of misfortune down on the races of Fomalhaut II. In this setting, Le Guin's work really edges both fantasy and sci-fi. On this planet, a young woman (Semley) goes to find her family's dowry to bring to her husband, which is a shiny gold and sapphire necklace that was given as tribute to the Ekumen's uplifted race, the Gdemiar (think cave-dwelling dwarves) and made its way to a museum in Ekumen space. Rocannon, a young ethnologist, returns the woman's jewel to her. Having not understood that she traveled through not only space, but time, she returns to her planet to find her husband dead and her daughter grown. Then book really takes off when Rocannon takes an ethnological expedition to Fomalhaut II and his team is intercepted by Faraday gunships. He is the only one left alive and has to either find the enemy's ansible to tell his people what the Faraday are up to, using Fomalhaut as a secret base, or wait eight years for the next team to be sent out to Fomalhaut. He decides to go for the ansible and it turns into a quest. It's a pretty easy read, straightforward, and thoughtful in its language. Not bad for a first book, I'd say. I could definitely see the flickering of ideas which Le Guin expounded upon in her later work, The left Hand of Darkness. I didn't think I'd be returning to the Hainish Cycle after reading Left Hand but here I am, continuing to enjoy her work.

  • Michael
    2019-02-08 22:55

    This is the first book in Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle, a series of 10 books that spans different worlds in the context of interplanetary ethnologists roaming about the galaxy, studying planets and their cultures, and potentially incorporating them into the League of All Worlds. I think it is a brilliant premise for a series, but it is most extraordinary for Le Guin's talent at creating entire worlds in each of her books, complete with different races/species, cultures, rituals, and meanings. It allows the reader to explore the human condition through the eyes of non-human entities.Rocannon's World starts with a Prologue that is almost a perfect short story, and because of that, I expected the novel proper to have a similar payoff frequency. But that is expecting too much from a novel, and although it has the same style and thoughtful care of its setting and characters, the main text of the book is more sweeping, more epic, with a lot more time spent roaming around on foot or beast or conveyance, and slowly discovering this world and the fascinating interactions among its inhabitants.It is also lovingly reflective, with a great deal of time spent on character interaction, and the growth of individuals in the context of their own identities and in relation to others. It is as much a heroic quest as it is a journey of the heart. Having read Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, and Wizard of Earthsea, this seems to be a fairly common focus of her books, and I think it is a wonderful use of science-fiction/fantasy. It grounds the book in the human condition, while tantalizing us with the possibilities of the imagination.Although Le Guin has called this book a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, it feels solidly in the science fiction category to me, as everything that happens in the book can be explained by science, or at least, postulated by science. And don't forget that sci-fi is not all laser beams and rocket ships, she develops a geographic and geologic framework in her planet that takes some serious work, and that is science, too. The book does have something of a fantasy feel, but that is mainly because the setting is reminiscent of the castles and feudal kingdoms of Earth, so popular in many fantasy books. (And I admit some aspects of the story put me in the frame of mind of the fantasy classic, The Hobbit.) But though the beings in this book partly believe in magic, they are not actually performing any magic, other than what science provides them.The one area of grayness for me is telepathy, of which there is a taste here, because I have yet to be convinced this is science, despite Asimov's proof in Fantastic Voyage II. It was very popular as a possible evolutionary path for our brain function in the 60's, so it was certainly sci-fi at the time, and who knows, maybe I am selling our brains short to think that our thoughts can't be projected outside our own skulls somehow. The good news is that she explores this development with the same scientific mind, sober study, and exporation of human consequences, as she does the rest of the scientific elements in the book. Cool atomic toys aren't there just to dazzle you, they are there to be considered ethically, emotionally, and culturally. Powerful stuff.My only critique is that the book is about men, with a few slight exceptions. The societies are very patriarchal, and she doesn't really challenge this in the storyline, despite the fact that humanity (humanoids?) are spread across the galaxy and interacting with each other in ways that must challenge everyone's expectations about what "natural" could possibly mean. For example, at one point they discover an entirely new species, and the main character wonders if the specimen they are looking at is male or female. I was surprised they would be certain they could even pick from those two categories. How are you to know the reproductive cycle of an entirely new species on an unexplored world? It feels like nitpicking, though, and of course there is the fact of 50 years ago to consider and what would sell and what would not in that marketplace. (Thankfully she does some major exploration of this in her fourth Hainish book, The Left Hand of Darkness. Also highly recommended.)This introductory book is just 112 pages in my Planets of Exile and Illusion collection, so it is a pretty quick read. But it still has an epic feel and I managed to spend a few days with it. Although I never got a replay of the wonderful jolt I experienced in The Prologue, by the end I was enraptured by a story both simple and profound, and one that moved me to tears more than once, and had me contemplating humanity's place in the Universe. Highly recommended.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-01-27 22:52

    Wow. That is an awful, awful cover. It just screams, "I'm a pulp fantasy cover from the '60s! Ignore me if you want people to think you're normal!" If ever there was a time not to judge a book by its cover, now is that time. Rocannon's World is Ursula K. Le Guin's first novel, and it shows. Nonetheless, it's not as cringe-worthy as this paperback reprint's cover makes it seem.Anyone familiar with Le Guin's work will end up being disappointed, I suspect, not because Rocannon's World is bad but because Le Guin gets so much better as she goes on. From an academic perspective, this book is interesting because it already contains many of the themes Le Guin revisits in later novels. Rocannon reminded me at times of Ged, from A Wizard of Earthsea, and Genly, from The Left Hand of Darkness. Like the latter novel, this book takes place on a world whose inhabitants are less technologically developed than the League of All Worlds (later the Ekumen). Rocannon acts as a personification of Le Guin's sociological and anthropological interests in a different but still "human" society.The central conflict is one of revenge. It's true that Rocannon also acts to protect Fomalhaut II and alert the League, but in his heart, he's acting because he's the only survivor of a terrible event, and this is the only thing he can do other than sit and wait for the end to come. Perhaps this scent of a last, mad quest is what makes him so beloved of the heroic Angyar. Rocannon is this larger-than-life, nearly godlike figure who's featured in their mythology, owing to the effects of relativistic space travel. When he says he's going on a long, perilous journey to find his enemies, the Angyar look for where they can sign up.The similarities to Ged appear during this quest: Rocannon becomes fixated on finding and defeating his enemy, going so far as to acquire some form of telepathy from a mysterious creature he encounters on the southern continent. Rocannon's quest is all consuming, and when he is finished, he has nothing left. No reason to return "home" and no reason to go back to the home of the Angyar.This is a short novel, but as I hope you can see, it unpacks into a multi-faceted narrative. I'm ambivalent about how much the secondary characters contribute. On one hand, Mogien and Yahan are great companions for Rocannon—especially the latter, as Yahan rescues Rocannon and acts like a faithful squire for the entire trip. Through them, we get a sense of the social order of the Angyar and how Rocannon perturbs that order. On the other hand, there's something about Le Guin's writing that keeps them ever distant. I think it's related to my mixed feelings about her use of telepathy—it feels unnecessary to the entire narrative. Why can't Rocannon find the enemy some other way? Likewise, while I recognize the need to see the Angyar as aliens, we don't get close to anyone except Rocannon.Rocannon's World is a fulfilling adventure story—I particularly enjoy the ending, which is sappy but tinged bittersweet. As we see in her later Hainish novels, Le Guin uses relativity as a wonderful plot device while also exploring the psychological implications of such forms of space travel. Even in her first novel, Le Guin shows what a careful and thoughtful writer she will become. Her ways of describing space travel to alien, less developed species are always poetic in a somewhat melancholy way: "They can send death at once, but life is slower." That's true even for those of us who don't have FTL ships.

  • Endre Fodstad
    2019-01-24 04:45

    I listened to this one as an audiobook. The narrator did an excellent job (although the Fiia's voices were a bit over the top) so I do not think that affected my perception of it negatively. Even so, I did not find the book engaging. Allowing for its age, it still fails to deliver on many levels. The main plotline is not very interesting and is resolved very lazily, but since the main meat of the book consists of demonstrating the culture of the different species living on Fomalhaut II it could have been forgiven. Unfortunately, Rocannon's anthro/ethnological perspective makes him seem like someone with no training whatsoever in the field. LeGuin constantly tells us what a great ethnologist he is, but at no point do you, as the listener, actually get the impression of him as possessing any theorethical underpinnings in his field. Additionally, her attempt to use fantasy tropes in a sci-fi ethnological perspective only turns the different species' cultures into underdescribed, bland things that barely have enough definition to be called cardboard.

  • Arnis
    2019-02-14 05:56

  • Shan
    2019-02-21 02:47

    There's a lot in this short novel. It's Le Guin's first, and you can tell it's an early book because of a tiny bit of clunkiness, a few too-convenient coincidences, and some SF/F elements that don't quite follow the rules (which she points out herself in the introduction that's included at the end of the Library of America volume I read it in). But you can also see her genius. The writing is beautiful, and makes you want to slow down while reading. The aliens are interesting; there are a bunch of different sentient beings on the planet, and some surprising other creatures too. The planet itself is fully fleshed out and real; you can feel the cold in the mountains and the terrifying vacant expanse of the grasslands. I'm looking forward to reading the other Hainish novels in this collection. Five stars for gorgeous writing, the invention of the ansible which I think had its first appearance in this book, and the promise of even better stories to follow this one.

  • Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann
    2019-01-26 23:56

    Rocannon's World is a fantastic tale part of the Hainish Cycle and if read in chronological order then this novel comes in third of all the Hainish tales, which takes place in c.2684 AD, but if read by publication date then this one is the first one of the lot; first published in 1966 as an Ace Double. It is a great mixture of fantasy and science fiction; I am not sure if there is a genre that has a name for the combination of both, but if there isn't then I really think there should be I have only read of two authors that can really do this well on my list and that is Roger Zelazny and now Ursula K. Le Guin. This story had a lot of high technological devices such as ships that can travel the speed of light and the "ansible", a faster-than-light communicator, that is used in other novels of the Hainish Cycle, a word that was coined from this novel. but then this novel had fantastical creature like fairies and gnomes. And other hominoid creatures and these races all appear to live in the bronze age that wield swords and live in great kingdom with mighty castles or have fortress and villages and that appear to live in a feudal-heroic culture as well. There are those a races but also another, a warrior race that uses high tech machinery and in the most horrific kind of way.The story starts of with Rocannon a scientist an ethnologist, who known to all on the world as a Starlord. Rocannon is on an surveying mission, part of the League of all Worlds (an alliance of planets, mostly descended from colonization efforts from the planet Hain, uniting the "nine known worlds").The Prologue of this novel named "The Necklace" is actually my favourite part of the story, which is based of a woman named Semley from a race that is very tall and yellow haired. Her species is called Liuar (singular Liu) and her race is called Angyar. Semley is described by Rocannon as the most beutiful woman he had ever seen. She really isn't mentioned as much as I would have liked but the sections of the story she is in is beautifully written. Before this novel the prologue of Semley was from a short story in the Amazing Stories (September 1964) as "The Dowry of the Angyar".All in all a truly great tale, the only flaw that it was too short in my opinion, but hey, isn't that a good thing though? Right?

  • Emily
    2019-02-18 05:05

    An interesting mix of hard sf and fantasy, wherein a geological surveyor for the League of Worlds is stranded on a planet whose development is roughly Bronze Age. He must use primitive means to journey to the base of the enemies who are pretty much using this planet as a staging area to attack the league, with little care for the aborigines.The blend of part mythical quest and part high-tech space opera, serves to elucidate the familiar theme of an archaeologist “going native” but not in order to save the studied species from his own race, as per usual, but an entirely other being. The majority of the narrative focuses on the tribulations of the journey across the planet, and features the character building and world building aspects of the story, which are both done very well. This is one of LeGuin’s earlier works, and it shows, but only in terms of the story dragging at times, and seeming as though it almost couldn’t figure itself out. As such I did not enjoy it as much as some later in what has come to be called the Ekumenical tales, but it was still a pleasurable read.

  • Sandi
    2019-02-17 02:43

    A lovely 2.5 star story, but I would recommend that if you are new to LeGuin that you read some of her more famous and later stories first to determine if she (as an author) is right for you. Some aspects midway through the story were a bit rough and a few of the transitions were as well but by the end you could definitely hear LeGuin's voice in the prose. She has a distinct skill with imagery that you can't help but appreciate. Another thing, reading this book really points to the pompous verbosity of many modern writers. Contrast the 120 pages of this book with the bloated 700+ bricks to which we are now subjected. I sometimes wish that all modern authors were forced to prove and hone their writing chops by creating several well-received short story submissions before being awarded a contract to write books.

  • Fantasy Literature
    2019-01-28 02:06

  • Chris
    2019-01-22 06:58


  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2019-01-24 23:05

    Rocannon's World was Ursula K. LeGuin's first published novel and is the first of her novels I have read. I've always thought that if I read Le Guin I would read The Left Hand of Darkness, since it was the big prize winner and the one everyone read back in the 1970's, during the years after it first appeared and Le Guin's reputation was on the rise. But I was not reading SF at that time, so I had only minimal interest, and, even worse, the novel always came with the dreaded recommendation, "No, even if you don't like science fiction you are going to love this book." So I never read anything and only now, with both a renewed interest in SF and a self-directed tour through those writers who have earned Grand Master Status from the Science Fiction Writers of America, am I discovering the pleasures of her prose and storytelling.Having decided to dive in, I headed straight for Left Hand but saw that it was the fifth novel in something called The Hainish Cycle. I like to start at the beginning, and in the Le Guin omnibus edition I got from the library, Rocannon's World was a tempting ninety pages long. I didn't know until after I finished and enjoyed it that in fact there are two chronologies to the Hainish Cycle, the order written and the order in which the stories are occur. I could have started anywhere, since in some cases a millennium passes between narratives, but I still like the idea to seeing how Le Guin's writing and sense of her future world develops in the real time of her composition.Ninety pages, but since I was reading a bargain omnibus edition they were longish pages. Rocannon is still a short novel, only 144 pages in its PB editions. But in those few pages, and in her first novel, Le Guin creates an small-scale epic, both a classic quest tale and a story that spans several generations. On the planet Formalhaut II, as the advanced space lords refer to the novel's local, the culture is medieval and, unusual for all the inhabited worlds they investigate, there are multiple HILF's, HIghly Intelligent Life Forms. In the prologue, Semley, child of an ancient family wedded to the Lord of Hallam, endures the fallen estate of her family -- good name but short of wealth. In a culture where display of wealth assures rank she sets out to retrieve a magnificent jewel that has somehow left the family treasure and been traded back to the Clay People who mined it. Within the first dozen pages, Semley has left her home, recruited the aid of the charming Kirien people and journeyed to the altogether less engaging caves of the Clay People. That this journey is made on large flying cats is likely to be the first narrative hurdle for readers who like their SF harder than softer. The hints of hard SF occur when the Clay People enter the action. Grungy and unappealing as they are, they live in underground cavern's equipped with electric light and railways. When Star Lords investigate new planets with multiple HILF's they chose a species most likely to accept the technological head starts that will prepare them to join the League of all Planets. The Clay People have won out on Formalhaut II. They even have a space ship, into which they bundle Semley for transport to the planet where her jewel now rests in a museum of interplanetary artifacts. There she catches the eye of Rocannon, an anthropologist employed by the League, and he easily arranges for the return of the jewel. (This was written in 1966, and I wonder when the controversies over the return of imperialist plunder from European museums began to take shape.)Upon return to Formalhaut II, Semley understands the consequences of her journey. In Le Guin's universe, FTL travel is only possible in unmanned spacecraft. Although Semley feels her trip has taken no more than a year, she returns to a home where her husband and mother-in-law have been dead for a decade and her children are grown. Her courageous and adventurous journey has secured her nothing more than a long, solitary life.That took me almost as long to tell as it does Le Guin, but it sets up the story of Rocannon's establishment decades later of a base of Formalhaut II. We learn of this base only as it is destroyed, along with Rocannon's survey team and all the work they have done. The universe is in a constant state of war preparedness, but this attack seems to have been sabotage, the first signs of divisions within The League of All Planets. Rocannon, unable to communicate with his own people, learns from satellite surveys that the enemy has established a base in the still unexplored Southern Continent. He puts together his own plucky crew of various species and it is back onto the flying cats. This is a quest adventure, that without Rocannon's, or more properly, Le Guin's eye for anthropological detail and interesting world building, would slide into adventure fantasy of a most ordinary sort. But the swiftness of her writing, the predicaments she creates for her believable multi-species characters, and also her willingness to kill off so many protagonists kept me wrapped up in a narrative that seemed much larger than its ninety pages. Before his departure, an aging Semley gives Rocannon her precious jewel, should he need it along the way. And so this absurd, medieval artifact remains as crucial to the story as the special body suit Rocannon has on hand that although it makes him appear naked allows him to survive fire and torture. When men like Rocannon join the star service, they know they are abandoning anything resembling a normal life of family or human contact. They may age slowly and inexorably as they poke about the universe, but centuries will pass on earth. Although contacts with home can be accomplished with a device capable of instantaneous communication across 120 light years, they have volunteered to become exiles in the name of science. It's the respect Le Guin feels for their choices and the fundamental loneliness of their existence that give the novel its emotional depth. And I liked the flying cats.