Arrived in St. Louis in 2015; loves it all except for that weird stuff you call cheese. Will read almost anything, especially if it has nice typesetting.
Ursula Le Guin shows her gift for imagining societies that are strange and foreign to us, but absolutely real and believable. In this book, we meet an ambassador from the Ekumen, the interplanetary confederation, exploring with him a cold winter planet populated by an ambisexual race, where the distinction between men and women does not exist. In a way that only science fiction can do, this story provokes thoughts about what it means to be human, simply human, as such, and what that means for our beliefs and our relationships with others.
How can a novel about two studious Jewish boys studying Talmud be so gripping? Read it and see for yourself. The setting is highly specific - the postwar Jewish community in New York, dealing with the Holocaust and the emerging issue of Zionism - but the story powerfully addresses universal themes: friendship, the tension of tradition and independent thinking, fathers and sons.
After some disaster has reduced humanity to a small number of survivors, the animals debate whether to kill all the remaining humans. A short, funny, and wry fable.
To be honest, it took me a while to get into this and I made several false starts before getting through it, but it was more than worth finishing. It's a triumph of imagination and worldbuilding, seemingly taking a rather grim and cyncial view of politics but also presenting a soaring vision of how human consciousness can be enhanced and expanded.
An ambitious work of both mythic fantasy and ecofuturistic sci-fi. This book has fascinating, and sometimes genuinely disturbing, things to say about nature and our place in it, environmentalism and climate change, genetic engineering, and the art of orchard growing. I'm still figuring out what to make of this book, but for someone who loves apples and speculative fiction as much as I do, it's essential reading for the fall.