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

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,164 Ratings  ·  104 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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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Science Fiction Books by Female Authors
438th out of 1,218 books — 1,145 voters
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le GuinWorlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Day Before the Revolution by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin's Ekumen
4th out of 10 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 20, 2015 Zanna rated it it was amazing
I am glad I made the decision to read the Hainish cycle from the start, even though I owe this to my OCD reading style. While each novel is entirely capable of standing alone, has very different protagonists and raises very different issues, the continuity of the world-building was satisfying. I especially liked how protagonists from each novel became so legendary that they are mentioned much later in time in subsequent novels. The ethical concerns become deeper and more elaborate over the cours ...more
Liviu Szoke
Am așteptat cu mare nerăbdare acest volum încă de când s-a anunțat că va apărea și la noi în traducere, pentru că este un ciclu ce n-a fost niciodată publicat începând cu primul volum. Așteptarea a meritat, pentru că Urslua Le Guin creează lumi absolut fascinante în interiorul unor lumi la fel de fascinante, și asta nu în romane de mare întindere, de 500-600 de pagini, ci în trei nuvele care de-abia se întind pe 400 și ceva de pagini. Însă scriitura este atât de densă și de compactă, plină de id ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: sciencefiction
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
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
May 26, 2016 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Three novels, Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions, make up this collection. These are Le Guin's first three novels, and the first three set in the Hainish universe (which also includes The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word For World is Forest, and many short stories). These lean a little heavier towards the fantasy side of the genre; science fiction elements are at play, but the central tension in all three stories is of technology being suppressed, destroyed ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Le Guin fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Three Hainish Novels is an omnibus collection of UKL’s early novels Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions.

Rocannon’s World: This is the earliest and the least satisfying of the three. Rocannon is an ethnologist of the League of All Worlds (what would become the precursor of the Ekumen of later novels when Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle actually took shape) who’s intrigued by the natives of Fomalhaut II when one of its representatives visits the nearest League outpost. Coupled with h
Apr 17, 2014 Sunil rated it liked it
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
Oct 24, 2009 Marie rated it liked it
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
Richard Buro
Sep 11, 2015 Richard Buro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short version first . . .

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of today's most famous living science fiction/fantasy authors. The titles of her works are frequently in contention for if not announced as winners of the coveted Hugo and Nebula Awards for Excellence in Science Fiction. Her writing consistently reflects her adherence to the cutting edge of the hard sciences, so her works are imminently believable as well as plausible. Her fans and critics have named a group of her works as “The Hainish Cycle
Anna Weber
Oct 22, 2015 Anna Weber rated it really liked it
Overall, a nice collection of Le Guin's shorter novels. I would not recommend this as an introduction to her work (The Lathe of Heaven and The Left Hand of Darkness would be better for that), but for fans of her other work, these are worthwhile and enjoyable reads. Planet of Exile was my favorite of these three.

Rocannon's World: A quick read delivering what I expect from Le Guin: a fantasy/quest type plot set in a unique sci-fi setting within her broader Hainish universe. Given the novella lengt
Linda Robinson
Jun 14, 2014 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are hundreds of years between the three novellas, which are quite short and require the reader to fill in the backstory, which is fine with me. The three together bring into clear frightening focus what an initially benign grouping like the League of All Worlds might be about 2 thousand years into the future. High intelligence life forms may not include humans after all. Rocannon's World begins with Rocannon himself, an ethnographer on Fomalhaut II, sent to evaluate and help prepare the HI ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This omnibus volume of the first three books of the Hainish Cycle is also available under the title Worlds of Exile and Illusion . I chose to lead with the 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 no ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Badb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2015 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-excelentes, en-2015
"El mundo de Rocannon" es sencillito, sin mucha profundidad ni originalidad argumental; sin embargo, entretenido y una buena novela para meterte en el universo de la Liga de Todos los Mundos, pese a que no tiene ningún tipo de continuidad con los demás. "El planeta del exilio" es mucho mejor, una novela corta muy entretenida y con unos temas más definidos (para saber más, aquí). "Ciudad de ilusiones" es el mejor de todos, pese a que le cuesta arrancar, pero cuando lo hace, más o menos hacia la m ...more
Apr 19, 2013 Lucas rated it really liked it
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
Jul 11, 2011 unperspicacious rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
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
Aug 28, 2011 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2015 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Rocannon's World:
When all the other members of his ethnographic survey are killed, Gaverel Rocannon is stranded on the planet Fomalhaut II. The weapons that were used in the attack could only have come from an alien military faction. To stop them Rocannon must get a message back to the League of All Worlds. But on this planet the only equipment that can span the distance between the stars quickly enough to deliver the message in time could only be located on the enemy’s base. So Rocannon and his
Jan 27, 2015 Sub_zero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2013
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
Mar 14, 2015 Elena Sands rated it really liked it
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
Thom Dunn
Apr 10, 2011 Thom Dunn rated it really liked it
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.
May 05, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Rocannon's World the weakest of the three novellas, with too many different types of intelligent alien species, that too much resembled elves and dwarves and wood sprites and talking woodchucks and hive-mind man-bees. If you really looked into the hearts and minds of your enemy, could you really call upon their complete and total destruction (even if they are really militaristic assholes)? Very interesting, solid 3 stars.

LeGuin likes her long treks across snowy landscapes. I'm noticing. But they
David Manns
Aug 19, 2016 David Manns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Le Guin's first three Hainish novels collected in one spellbinding volume. For such short novels (the longest, City of Illusions, is barely 150 pages) Le Guin packs a hell of a lot of story, ideas and emotion into them. There is no feeling of a writer "finding her voice" here. These stories spring to life fully formed.

In Rocannon's World the sole survivor of a planetary survey mission must go on a quest to warn other worlds of the secret invasion by a deadly enemy. It's a simple enough trope - a
Alexander Lyons
Oct 22, 2015 Alexander Lyons rated it really liked it
Great collection for existing fans, maybe not the absolute best introduction for new readers, simply because she has written better works, not because these have any barrier to entry or understanding.

Each of the three books follows the thread and mechanism recurrent in Le Guin's work - a protagonist new or alien to the world around them. Doing so allows Le Guin to excavate, explore and engage in some deep world building, each book describing a world vastly different from the one before, physical
Jeff Buddle
Jun 20, 2014 Jeff Buddle rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2010 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
When reading this, I thought I'd treat it like any other compilation of novels, reviewing each book separately. But after finishing City of Illusions I can see that, despite appearances: all three novels are at widely different time periods, though chronological, set on different planets and, of course, have different cultures; all three of these books build off of each other and are the better for being read together.

In Rocannon's World LeGuin covers a lot of ground, fully living up to the prom
Feb 16, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
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
Oct 03, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
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
David Lovato
Aug 07, 2013 David Lovato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Hainish Novels is, as the title suggests, a collection of three of Ursula K. Le Guin's books, these ones set in her science fiction Hainish Cycle.

Rocannon's World is Le Guin's first novel, and the first in this collection. A lovely tale, science fiction at its finest, and wonderfully told. Some of the paragraphs run on a little long and the story begins to feel exhausted toward the end, but it doesn't wear itself out and instead comes to a clean, beautiful close. 4/5 stars.

I'm not usually
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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 (8 books)
  • The Dispossessed
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • Rocannon's World
  • Planet of Exile
  • City of Illusions
  • The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness
  • The Telling (Hainish Cycle #8)

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