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The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands (The Unreal and the Real #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  559 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
"Creates imaginary worlds that restore us, hearts eased, to our own."--"The Boston Globe"

"Admirers of fine literature, fantastic or not, will cherish this rich offer-ing."--"Publishers Weekly"

"Outer Space, Inner Lands" includes many of the best known Ursula K. Le Guin nonrealistic stories which have shaped the way many readers see the world. She gives voice to the voiceles
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ebook, 320 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Small Beer Press (first published November 20th 2012)
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Tracy
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Le Guin is one of my favourite authors. I had picked this up a few years ago but only recently read this.

I'm usually obsessively reading the news but it depresses me so much lately I've started reading books again. Should I thank the president-elect for this? Anyhow as always Ms. Le Guin's writing did not fail to sooth. I had read a few of the stories in this collection before, some of them more than once. Some of the stories I had not yet encountered and they were wonderful. It was like
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Stuart
The Unreal and the Real, Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands: Brilliant SF tales of human anthropology
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is essential reading (or listening) for all fans of SF who want to see why Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the giants of the SF/fantasy field. Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands contains a host of impressive stories, both her famous award-winners and lesser-known gems. All of them are intelligent, thought-provoking, understated, and beautifully written.
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Erin
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not realize this was a two volume affair until I got home and looked closer at the cover. Volume Two is the Outer Space half of the volume, although a few of the stories do occur on Earth, including a beautiful one about the languages of animals, plants, and possibly the earth itself.

I won't go through the stories individually, but I will say that each one is designed to blow your mind. In her introduction Le Guin says she intends to give a voice to the voiceless, and that is what she doe
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Catherine Siemann
This collection of LeGuin's short stories (non-earthly division) is a real treasure. Beginning with old favorites from my youth like "Semley's Necklace" and the amazing "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", moving through her intensely anthropological Hain-universe stories, and ending with more fairy-tale inflected stories, the storytelling is uniformly strong. "Semley's Necklace" makes literal the admonition that magic and technology are only differently understood, and "Omelas" is, to anyone w ...more
Rodney
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Betrayals," "The Matter of Seggri," "Solitude," and "The Wild Girls" are among the best short stories I've ever read. More anthropology than fiction, but also more realism than spec. Incredibly emotional and moving, but also largely set on alien world with nonhumans. They're hard to explain, but I feel like a whole new world of literary expression has opened up before me, and I am in awe. You just have to read it.
Sarah
My parents have all of Ms. Le Guin's books, including every previous collection, and I grew up reading her stories. When I bought these at Atomic in December I planned to read them all again in Ms. Le Guin's curated order. It has taken a while. I kept the book next to my bed, and I read one story every night, except sometimes I went back and reread one from the night before or the night before that. 'Cause here's the thing: these are GREAT stories. I notice something new every time.

If you had as
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Elizabeth
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really great collection. The best Le Guin collection? Hard to say. Many stories in Outer Space, Inner Lands were new to me. Surprised me, pleasantly, since I've read a ton of Le Guin's sci fi and fantasy work. I expected to get more out of the first volume as I'm unfamiliar with a lot of Le Guin's realist stories.

This collection draws stories from across Le Guin's career, a great strength. Previous collections cannot match the breadth of viewpoint found here. Approaching themes familiar to any
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Rachel (Kalanadi)
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections
"Sur", guys. A fictional expedition that reaches the South Pole first in 1910... with an all-women crew. They leave no trace. I'm not gonna cry. Not gonna cry...
Carey
Jan 18, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Worth it even for just the first story.
Aia
This is the first time I've read short stories of Ursula K. Le Guin. Until this time I'd read only her longer works. Both of these I found to be delightful. But the stories helped me to see vastness of her imagination and proved once more that she indeed 'gives voice to the voiceless'.

In the introduction Le Guin insists on disregarding the 'genres' which have been degraded to commercial product-labels. She tries to describe and categorize her stories differently. I am inclined to give my own la
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Outis
I have to wonder why the author chose these stories. Diversity perhaps? They certainly illustrate her versatility.
I knew we had different tastes but I was struck by how much better I found the newer stories to be (though there are a few exceptions of course, like The Wife's Story which I don't think I'd ever read). It really is a matter of taste because I do like some of her older stories: www.goodreads.com/review/show/803635561
In any case, this collection contains classics from the mid-90s as w
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Geoff
A good mix of science fiction (including some in her established Hainish worlds) and fantasy (one Earthsea story) from Ursula K Le Guin. Definitely good enough to make seek out some of her other collections after I read The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth and The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (which are best-of collections).

Favourites:

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Nine Lives
The Silence of the Asonu
The Fliers of Gy
Rules of N
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Nick
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ursala K. Le Guin is one of our sci-fi seers. Her musings on sex and politics and sexual politics in the guise of fiction have taught her readers to ask, what if the present order were overturned? How would life be, if things were different? What would that inverted society look like? How would that feel for the denizens of that planet? How would that affect ordinary people's lives? These questions are endlessly fascinating, haunting, and even occasionally heartbreaking, and they form the basis ...more
Meghan
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I keep thinking of when I imagine explaining the appeal of Le Guin's brand of anthropological sci-fi is how she explores power in different social structures and how it affects ordinary people.
Jim
Mar 30, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The appeal of reading this is one story. Those who walk away from Omelas.

putting on hold .
Mary Soon Lee
Ursula K. Le Guin is one of my favorite authors, and this collection contains twenty of her science fiction and fantasy stories, most of which I had read before (though years ago). While there are a few stories that didn't appeal to me, the rest range from good to superb.

The opening story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," is particularly powerful. It had a huge impact on me when I read it in the 1970s. And it still does. I also love "The Author of the Acacia Seeds," a story about communicat
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Sarah
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I don't read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, I enjoyed many of these short stories. Ursula Le Guin is a talented, imaginative, and thought-provoking story-teller. Two stories in this collection are must-reads: "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", and "The Matter of Seggri" (sort of a reverse Handmaid's Tale in which women have all of the power and the only purpose of men is to sire children). I loved the medieval setting of a few of them ("Semley's Necklace", "The Poacher"), and ...more
Larry Bassett
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have very little experience with Ms. Le Guin but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book of short stories. The first batch of stories was about people from different planets and their adventures and misadventures meeting with each other and living with each other and attempting to understand each other.

The second batch of stories were somewhat like fairytales with a good deal of novelty. In a strange kind of way the plots were seemingly very familiar and yet ultimately surprising. I am sur
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Lolo Kramer
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All stories were good, a few will haunt me forever!
Mikebee
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, though some stories have been published in other collections.
Maria
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Sommige verhalen spraken mij aan, andere minder.
Jeremiah John
I could read Le Guin forever. These stories are jewels, all of them. "The Matter of Seggri" is worth the price of the collection alone.
Zoe Brooks
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic-realism
I probably should start this review by saying that Ursula le Guin is a hero of mine. I came to her writing embarrassingly late, having managed to miss Earthsea in my youth. I have to thank my son for introducing me to her work. He picked a copy of The Wizard of Earthsea that was lying unread on my bookshelf and, liking the 1970s style cover illustration, decided to read it to pass the time during his university vacation. When he reappeared from his room, he said, “Mum, you should read this. You ...more
Full Stop
http://www.full-stop.net/2013/03/29/r...

Review by Laura Fettig

The stories in Ursula Le Guin’s newest collection, The Unreal and the Real — which were culled from her long publishing career — are perhaps not what most readers would expect out of Le Guin, who is most well known for her science fiction and fantasy writing. Many of them are what we might call pure realism, and many of them resist any category at all. The title is like a little joke Le Guin had with herself. Which stories are “real,”
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Saoirse Adams-Kushin
I feel weird posting this as a new read because about 60% of it was stories I've read before in other collections. But those were nice to revisit and the new-to-me ones were, as ever, wonderful.
Raj
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the second volume of Ursula K Le Guin's self-curated collection of short stories better than the first. This volume contains her more overtly SFF stories, which are definitely more up my street than the Literary stories of the first. Le Guin's writing remains beguiling and a joy to read and these stories have the combination of character and plot that I prefer over focus on just character. Favourites include the Hainish stories, particularly The Matter of Seggri, a classic SF what-if st ...more
Fantasy Literature
5 stars from Stuart, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

This is essential reading (or listening) for all fans of SF who want to see why Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the giants of the SF/fantasy field. Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands contains a host of impressive stories, both her famous award-winners and lesser-known gems. All of them are intelligent, thought-provoking, understated, and beautifully written. It’s hard to underestimate the influence she has had on the genre, fans, and h
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Richard
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a deep pleasure, after many years away, to come back into the arms of Le Guinn's capacious, warm, almost infinite imagination. Here are fables, fantasies, alternative worlds and alternative histories, puzzle-pieces, joke-stories that are too thought-provoking to be jokes: allegories; layer upon layer of strange quirky Otherness.

It's very hard to give a sense of what this collection is like, or about, because it's so diverse and Le Guinn is so inventive; you might expect science fiction, an
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Cal
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
To be frank, I didn't like this collection at all. I don't even know if I like Le Guin as a writer anymore. The only book I've read by her and liked was the Left Hand of Darkness, though even that is hard for me to reread because it's pretty boring in parts. Le Guin is too literary for my taste, lacking humor and engagement. She writes ideas rather than characters, and doesn't seem to care about connecting you with her characters as actual people much at all. And for being a supposedly feminist ...more
Mark Palermo
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first Volume of this series (the more "realistic" stories, for those who value categories more than Le Guin does) was obviously the work of a genius, but often suffered from a reliance on structural experiments above all else. But Volume 2 (the more fantastical tales) is where it's at! HO. LEE. FUNK.

The narrative experiments of Vol. 1 make way for imaginative genre used to its highest potential, as serious social quandaries. It's not always an easy-read; part of the thrill in these yarns is
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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

The Unreal and the Real (2 books)
  • The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth (The Unreal and the Real, #1)
“None were left now to unname, and yet how close I felt to them when I saw one of them swim or fly or trot or crawl across my way or over my skin, or stalk me in the night, or go along beside me for a while in the day. They seemed far closer than when their names had stood between myself and them like a clear barrier: so close that my fear of them and their fear of me became one same fear. And the attraction that many of us felt, the desire to feel or rub or caress one another’s scales or skin or feathers or fur, taste one another’s blood or flesh, keep one another warm, that attraction was now all one with the fear, and the hunter could not be told from the hunted, nor the eater from the food.” 1 likes
“I felt the pressure of people all around me, all the time. People around me, people with me, people pressing on me, pressing me to be one of them, one of the people.” 1 likes
More quotes…