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Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions (Hainish Cycle #1-3)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  837 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the greatest science fiction writers and many times the winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Her career as a novelist was launched by the three novels contained in Worlds Of Exile And Illusion. These novels, Rocannon's World, Planet Of Exile, and City Of Illusions, are set in the same universe as Le Guin's ground-breaking classic, The Left Hand ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published October 15th 1996 by Orb Books (first published 1966)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,622)
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Tatiana
Just finished the first of these, Rocannon's World, and enjoyed it a great deal. This is very early LeGuin, and her powers, while evident, are not yet fully developed here. It's rather interesting the number of different societies she sites on this single world, with multiple intelligent building and technology-using species. In many ways it's much more a typical or even formula science fiction story than her usual. But still you can hear her sparse poetic voice, her simple language that goes st ...more
Jake
This is actually reprinted in a collection called World’s of Exile and Illusion, which collects three of LeGuin’s earlier works into a single book. I haven’t gotten around to reading the other two yet, and since I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it, I figured I’d just review this one now. The publishing info/ISBN is for the collection.

All three books are part of LeGuin’s ongoing “Hanish” universe. The conceit of the universe is pretty simple; long ago, there was an enormous interstellar human e
...more
Sunil
Apr 17, 2014 Sunil rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, 2014
I know it's a crime that I've never read any Ursula K. Le Guin, and I also know that none of the three books contained in this omnibus are considered her finest work, up to the level of her well-known classics, but I was still happy to receive it as a gift so I could finally see what all the fuss was about.

Rocannon's World is an interesting hybrid of science fiction and fantasy, taking a very traditional high fantasy setting and presenting it through the lens of an ethnologist (Rocannon), who vi
...more
Marie
Somewhat uneven. Parts were delightful, but there were parts I just wanted to skip. LeGuin sure loves to have her heroes trek over winter landscapes, which makes for nice lonely, rainy day reading. I was somewhat disturbed at how all the female characters are passive and secondary, most often left behind lovers of the hero who must struggle alone (across a cold landscape) against all odds to save... something.

It's when the against-all-odds battles are happening that she's strongest, and because
...more
Badb
segundo libro que leo de esta autora,y si ya me gustó " la mano izquierda de la oscuridad" ,con este me ha conquistado.
Es una historia que podría ser la nuestra en un futuro,donde la humanidad se ha integrado en una sociedad compuesta por una sociedad con ancestros comunes contada en 3 historias en 3 mundos.
El primero de estos mundos es Rocannon,nombre dado por el personaje con el mismo nombre,un antropólogo con la misión de recoger información sobre las 3 razas humanoides que habitan el planeta
...more
Mike
I've been looking for these 3 novels for a while and so snapped up this really nice new omnibus edition (with a smooth cloth cover that feels really good when you stroke it!). While I would still rate "The Left Hand of Darkness" and "The Dispossessed" higher (the latest and earliest in the chronology of this Universe, respectively) I've really enjoyed these and anyone looking to start with LeGuin would be fine here. They're first novels LeGuin wrote and published and introduce us to her unmistak ...more
Lucas
I liked each novel in this volume better than the last, which is how it should be. About that one, City of Illusions, it felt as much like a mystery novel as science fiction, insofar as the main character spends the duration of the plot trying to find his lost identity through the titular illusions. That being said, I had the same sense of foreboding I always get when I read a mystery: the choices the author makes in wrapping this up are going to determine, retrospectively, how I felt about the ...more
unperspicacious
Reading her more mature work has spoilt me. These are good in their own right, but lack the sheer simplicity, panache and confidence that the others had to make you believe these worlds actually exist. Too much artifice...just a little, but already too much. These three novellas are also much less coherently and overtly political than her later books, drifting away from the kind of fiction that I had been originally searching for. They are not even that anthropological...too much of looking from ...more
Cat
Continuing with my Le Guin marathon. This collection of three novels is subtle, brilliant, and chronically interesting. Rocannon's World is a penetrating exploration of the clash of colonizers and colonized; arrogant ignorance dominating native intelligence. The crushing brutality of violent humanity magnifies that jewel-like rarity of the intelligent, empathic, and compassionate individual who tries - against overwhelming odds - to do the right thing. Ursula K. Le Guin never ceases to amaze wit ...more
Sub_zero
Reunidas en un solo volumen, las tres primeras novelas del ciclo del Ekumen resaltan por su espectacular percepción del futuro y de las relaciones humanas que se establecen en un paradigma tan estremecedor como el que nos presenta Úrsula K. Le Guin. Absorbente, poderosa, magnética y soberbiamente narrada, esta colección de novelas hará las delicias de los aficionados a la ciencia ficción y te proporcionará material de calidad para debatir sobre cuestiones de profundidad cósmica.
Elena Sands
It’s clear from the beginning that these are early works of Ursula K Leguin, but these stories are still eminently readable and fun, just not as polished as her later work.
The flying mounts in Rocannon’s World bugged me a bit (just because they were so cheesy) and so did the dwarvishness and the hobbitness of the Gdemiar and the Fiia. On the flip side, I loved the creepiness of the Winged Ones and their cities. I liked the appropriate brutality of the more primitive residents they encountered
...more
Thom Dunn
NOT A REVIEW I do wish someone would pull together a giant Hainish Ekumen series beginning with Semley's Necklace, including Winter's King, and ending with The Day Before the Revolution. These are magical stories. In addition, the Ekumen itself, replete with real stars known to us Terrans in 2011, could be mapped easily enough.
Jeff Buddle
Here's your chance to read a great writer at the start of her career. This volume reprints the first three of Le Guin's novels. Each is great in and of itself. Nothing can compare to "The Left Hand of Darkness" which is an utter masterpiece, but you can see its stirrings here. Read this, even if you disdain SF, there's so much more here than you would guess.

Le Guin's worlds are fully imagined: made-up names, made-up countries, made-up races, made-up worlds. But into these worlds Le Guin deposits
...more
Jason
This is actually a collection of three different Ursula K. Le Guin novels, but they spill into each other over time, and reading them as one book felt natural enough.

The first two novels (Rocannon's World and Planet of Exile) both deal with advanced space travelers stranded on quasi-medieval worlds, so they sometimes read like fantasy books loosely framed by science fiction. They're fun reads, but lack the genius of her later writing.

Then there's the third book (City of Illusions), which was a
...more
Robin
This omnibus volume of the first three books of the Hainish Cycle is also available under the title Three Hainish Novels. I prefer this simpler, more plainly descriptive title, mainly because it happened to be this edition that I borrowed from the public library. To be sure, it's a bit of a misnomer. The first three installments in Ursula Le Guin's multiple award-winning series—titled Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions—are really more on the order of novellas, weighing in a ...more
Mike McCaughan
I haven't read a Le Quin book since I read the first couple books of the Earthsea trilogy when I was... 16? So long ago I don't even remember the plot. Anyway, this book has three of the Hainish series. These are each a little different, and quite loosely connected; they just happen to take place in the same universe, with no characters in common. I enjoyed them, enough that I will most likely seek out the rest of the series.
Jeanette
I wish I could give this book a higher rating, because I really wanted to like it and in many ways think it deserves one. At the same time, the extremely dry and cerebral Le Guin style was pretty off-putting to me and I can't say I "really liked it". None of Le Guin's characters are very lovable, and most are not particularly relatable either. The writing is extremely dry and takes awhile to get used to but is well done. The overarching plots are long and meandering, but have a kind of genius de ...more
Matt
The first two books in this collection are decent enough adventure stories. It's the author's first novels, and you could easily get a sense of that. The outstanding last story, "City of Illusions", is quite a bit deeper intellectually and is one of the better sci-fi stories I have ever read. I'm looking forward to continuing this series in the future.
Jayden
This book was beautifully written, and the three novels elegantly interwoven. I can't even say which novel I liked the best, because they combined to make a superior whole. Similar themes ran through each book, primarily themes of alienation of man from society: men who have lost their cultural identity and are struggling to discover it again. The landscapes and descriptions were graceful and delightful.

I only give it three stars because I found it hard to feel much emotion for any of the chara
...more
Chak
I only read this to set myself up for Left Hand of Darkness (which, supposedly, is set in the same universe). The three books are more like novellas. Each one could stand on its own, but there is a bit of connection between them. I had just come from finishing The Hyperion Cantos, so these were a bit anticlimactic for me, but I did enjoy them. The end of City of Illusions was pretty interesting and got more philosophical than I would have expected (which was great), but I wish the ending went fa ...more
Ben
I really enjoy much about Le Guin's writing, but I always wish that I felt more invested in and empathizing with her characters. Her analyses and insights on many topics, from issues of race, class and gender to the practical implications of space travel are often intriguing, but the fact is that the plots and characters of her stories leave something to be desired. Her writing feels somehow a bit too removed from feeling any kind of immediacy, and her depictions of truly critical events in her ...more
Kate Pittman
The last book, City if Illusion, was the best, but the way it pulled from the history set forth in the preceding two books made it so.
My only complaint about these books is the lack of female characters.
Nadia
Seems like a lot of people loved City of Illusions and disliked the first two stories but for me it was the other way around.

For those that don't know, this is a collection of Le Guin's first three novel(la)s and they are really short, the first two barely coming upto a hundred pages. So not long enough for a big epic story, but definitely an interesting snapshot of the worlds she was creating, which happen to exist in the same universe as Left Hand and the Dispossessed, give or take a few hundr
...more
Benjamin Farlow
As I read I gained an appreciation of her developing prose, having learned that this was a collection of her earlier works. City of Illusions was by far my favorite, not only the best wrought, but also exploring the game within a game within a game theme that I have been so recently fond of.
J. D.
Finally got to read all three novellas. LeGuin is an amazingly evocative writer.
Joanna
Old school and not my favorite Le Guin novels, but still good.
Sean Locke
This is my first Ursula K. Le Guin book/s, and thank goodness I have more on the horizon! This omnibus was fantastic, and I know I will have to read it again sometime. There's simply no way I caught everything the author intended to say on my first pass.

One thing I will say is that Le Guin is just so damned good at saying a lot of things and suggesting a lot of other things in just a few words. There's a word for that, and I think it's brevity, and I'm not very good at it. That right there is s
...more
aaron
Apr 29, 2007 aaron added it
Recommends it for: fantasy people
I am not a huge fantasy reader; or I should say, I haven't been before. But my ladyfriend and all her peeps love the stuff, and they stand by Mz. LeGuinn, so I read The Dispossessed last year in Australia, and then in the library looking for John Le Carre books, i find myself staring at the shelf of LeGuinn books, and I grabbed this one. It's a very different style for me, written for a totally different reason in my mind, but I did enjoy the book(s). I'll read more fantasy books, I do believe.
Lauren
phew - I read a lot of this driving to and from the east coast for family thanksgiving. it's some of le guin's earliest work, and you can see both the power and promise of her storytelling, but also something distressing that emerges about the anthropological sci fi in these first few books. maybe it's part of the racialization, the categorization of these fictional people on different planets. on a side note, city of illusions in particular reads like an earlier version of the dispossessed.
Debbie
Jul 28, 2008 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Valerie, if she has not already read these three novels
Recommended to Debbie by: Shawn
She is another fantastic world-builder. I read the Earthsea stuff at a younger age, but Shawn encouraged me to try out some of her other stuff. He was right.
The first book is perhaps the weakest (if such a thing can be said), but I also think it may have also been her first novel. By the third, some of the qualities that I think of as LeGuin's hallmarks were evident: thoughtfulness, rationality, good storytelling, and great descriptions of great journeys.
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874602
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)
  • Rocannon's World (Hainish Cycle #1)
  • 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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