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Rocannon's World (Hainish Cycle #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  4,903 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Adapted & expanded from the short story "The Dowry of Angyar".
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
Paperback, 122 pages
Published 1972 by Universal (first published 1966)
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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
Jan 28, 2012 Jessica added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: my history professor put it on his syllabus!
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
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 interes
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 l
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

-Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law of Scientific Prediction

It 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 f
Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at FanLit.

Rocannon’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
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
Erich Franz Guzmann

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 o
I believe this was le Guin's first published novel, and I think it shows - it shares some themes with later novels, but the action is a bit jerky and occasionally confusing. (Also, the front cover makes it look a little bit too Masters of the Universe.) Nonetheless, it's the first of the Hainish cycle which I generally adore, and I did enjoy it.

The book opens with the tale of Semley, who marries away from her family and comforts into an ancient but impoverished noble family. She determines to f
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 t
Fantasy Literature
Rocannon’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 ...more

Opera prima de Le Guin, es más fantasía que ciencia-ficción. Hay algunos elementos de lo que aparecerá en El nombre del mundo es Bosque, lo que considerando que es el primer libro de los Hain en las estrellas, es comprensible.

La primera parte, o prólogo, es más bien una historia corta de lo que le ocurre a una dama, algo más con olor a cuento con moraleja que otra cosa. Luego, un etnólogo queda solo en un planeta donde existen diversas especies inteligentes, este es su viaje con una misión q
One of the first books LeGuin wrote. The daughter of a famous anthropologist, LeGuin put a different spin on her sci fi world buidling. She described worlds as if an anthropologist were visiting: how are gender roles determined, what are the valued personal characteristics, how does the society deal with the "other," with war, with dissidents....This very early novel takes an Norse myth and builds on it. The beautiful, young queen/damsel/girl/goddess takes a walk alone in the forest on a sunny d ...more
This is the edition I own; and, unaccountably, I have two copies of this edition.

If I didn't know this was LeGuin, I wouldn't have figured it. The descriptions of the societies are not very good. For example, you'd think someone like LeGuin would see past the traditional authoritarian stereotypes of pirates and outlaws, and recognize that archaeological research shows that many pirate societies were quite egalitarian, and not particularly violent, especially for their times. The presentation of
Rocannon es un etnólogo destinado en una planeta del sistema Fomalhaut II por la Liga de Todos los Mundos. Su trabajo consiste en estudiar las diferentes formas de vida del planeta, destacando sobre todo cuatro de ellas: los Gdemiar, homínidos trogloditas nocturnos, de baja estatura; los Fiia, homínidos diurnos, también de baja estatura; los Angyar, homínidos diurnos, de gran estatura; y los Olgyor, sirvientes de los Angyar. Estos dos últimos viven en una especie de estado feudal, utilizando com ...more
I really couldn't criticize this book any better than Le Guin did herself in the introduction (which wasn't in my copy, I read it in "The Language of the Night"). She says "But of course fantasy and science fiction are different, just as red and blue are different; they have different frequencies; if you mix them (on paper--I work on paper) you get purple, something else again. Rocannon's World is definitely purple."

I think if she had ended with the prologue, the short story that started the boo
Charles Dee Mitchell
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, ...more
Danika Dinsmore
Ursula Le Guin is one of the few writers who can write a 120 page novel and make it seem epic. Her work is wide and dense at the same time. I didn't realize this was her first novel when I picked it up, so I look forward to reading more from her.

She has a way of conveying information about worlds and cultures with a few masterful words. Never overwriting. One of my favourite descriptions was in the prologue when Semley, a beautiful yet primitive inhabitant from her planet, flies on a spaceship.
Ben Babcock
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 be
Catherine Siemann
This was LeGuin's first novel, and you can definitely see her finding her feet as a writer. She conforms more to genre convention than she does in later work, but there are plenty of traces and echoes of what's to come. The first chapter, which I suspect was once a standalone short story, is derived from Norse mythology, but it's beautiful and sets the tone for the rest of the novel. What's fascinating is that the titular character is inhabiting a science fiction novel -- he's an anthropologist ...more
Anna Anthropy
this is such a traditional fantasy adventure in so many ways: bad guys show up, the protagonist is left as the last of his kind, he embarks on a journey for revenge with companions of different but still humanoid species, he gets his revenge (this isn't a spoiler cus it says as much on the cover). it's a testament to le guin's power as a writer that through her craft this story manages to dance, to be new and compelling despite its transparency.

part of that is the way the fantasy premise has bee
Bob Offer-Westort
I had read The Dispossessed, the Dispossessed-related short story "The Day Before the Revolution", & The Word for World is Forest prior to Rocannon's World, which meant that I entered this novel with some expectations. The aforementioned novels & short story are part of Le Guin's "Hainish Cycle" science fiction universe, set prior to Rocannon's World, but written later (eight & ten years, for the novels, eight for the short story). Rocannon's World, in fact, is Le Guin's first novel. ...more
Dr M
Is mankind's encounter with an extraterrestrial culture necessarily going to be mutually high-technological? How will people who are culturally and technologically somewhere between late bronze age and early middle ages be affected by an encounter with explorers from a space-faring civilisation? And how are the explorers themselves affected by the culture they visit -- in a situation where transports take place over distances of light years, at the price of lost years and decades due to relativi ...more
Interesting to see some of the physical world building that seemed completely absent from The Dispossessed, like UKG is only interested in exploring one or two ideas per story. In this book the idea doesn't seem compelling enough to keep her attention for very long: how to fit a Tolkeinesque world into a scifi context, e.g. the world is another planet, elves, dwarves, hobbits are all different alien races. It's a fun adventure story, but not exactly as much to chew on as anarchist communism.
Vitor Frazão
Uma das coisas que me fascina ao ler livros de ficção científica da “velha guarda” é ver como inspiraram os sucessores.

Já passaram uns bons anos desde que li algo de LeGuin e mesmo esses foram de fantasia, não de FC. Honestamente estava com medo de estilhaçar o ideal que estabelecera, contudo, devo dizer que não fiquei desiludido. Bom ritmo narrativo, não sendo maçudo, nem apressado; personagens bem construídas, sem orbitarem demasiado em função do protagonista, apesar da sua óbvia importância
second in my chronological le guin reading project.

this book went a lot further than planet of exile in trying to mix fantasy and sci-fi - maybe too far. there was so much going on, crammed into 156 pages of le guin's spare style, that it came off as rambly and hard to hold together. and considering how important it is to the plot, we don't get much to establish rocannon's friendship with mogien. i liked a lot of elements - the story of the necklace, the fiia and clayfolk, rocannon's story ov
'esteban Dilo
Es el primer libro que leo de esta autora, me costo mucho al principio prenderme en este nuevo mundo, ya que, la manera en la que esta narrada la historia es muy veloz, pasa de un momento a otro en un pestañeo.Lectura ágil.
En el mundo en el cual esta narrado hay una guerra interestelar en la cual Rocannon «hombre de las estrellas» debe ponerle fin a los «rebeldes» que están destruyendo los planetas. Los personajes que lo acompañan en esta travesía son variados y al final les terminas tomando ca
Ha ha, Ursula! Making up for your name obsession in Earthsea, eh? All right.

Here is some science fiction smooshed together with fantasy. The premise is literally, "The Enemy thinks it can win because SCIENCE, but Protagonist has MAGIC (and also SCIENCE, I guess?)."

Oh, damn. I just thought of a plot hole.

(view spoiler)
Susan Oleksiw
This is LeGuin's first SF novel, and in some ways it shows. Her imagination is vivid but the writing is often pedestrian. The sense of the hero on a quest is strong throughout but the ending is among the most satisfying I've read in recent months. It came upon me unexpectedly and is lovely.

Rocannon encounters a beautiful woman from another land who has come in search of her royal wealth. She regains the gold necklace but is shocked by the cost. Rocannon encounters her story and her world during
Talal Achi (Editorial Intern, Tin House Books): I’ve just finished reading Ursula LeGuin’s first published novel, Rocannon’s World. Like the other novels of LeGuin’s Hainish Cycle, this one is set in a universe where countless worlds are populated by countless humanoid species. Some of these worlds—those technologically and ethically advanced enough—belong to “the League,” an interstellar coalition of which one distant purpose is to resist the return of an ancient galactic evil called simply, “t ...more
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As of 2013, Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. Forthcoming ...more
More about Ursula K. Le Guin...

Other Books in the Series

Hainish Cycle (10 books)
  • Planet of Exile (Hainish Cycle #2)
  • City of Illusions
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4)
  • The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #5)
  • The Word for World is Forest (Hainish Cycle #6)
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness (Hainish Cycle #7)
  • The Telling (Hainish Cycle #8)
  • The Birthday of the World and Other Stories
  • A Fisherman of the Inland Sea
A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2) The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3) The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #5)

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