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Rocannon's World

(Hainish Cycle #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  9,691 ratings  ·  555 reviews
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 peoples, he leads the battle to free this new world - and finds ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 15th 1984 by Ace (first published 1966)
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Sarah Here's what the author had to say about it:

Although I read The Left Hand of Darkness first and thought it was…more
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Although I read The Left Hand of Darkness first and thought it was a standalone, so... reader's choice. (less)

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3.72  · 
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 ·  9,691 ratings  ·  555 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. This 1966 SF novel is part of the impressive two-volume set Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories, just published on Sept. 5, 2017, which a publicist was kind enough to send me. I'm gradually working my way through that collection, which is going to take a good long while. But here's my review for the first novel in the collection, which is Le Guin's first published novel. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

In her debut novel Rocannon’s World (1966), Ursula K
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked 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 fun and
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, 2018, scifi
“Not all roads that lead down lead up as well.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Rocannon's World


'Rocannon's World' is the first book in LOA's Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1. It was Ursula Le Guin's first published novel (1966) and the beginning of her Hainish Cycle, 'Rocannon's World' is beautiful literature and not just poetic SciFi. It reads like a Space Opera told with Fantasy characters in the style of The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue, or some other Norse myth.

Negatives? It w
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, science-fiction
Ekumen scientist Rocannon is interrupted in his mission on a primitive world by an attack from the League's enemies. All of a sudden he finds himself fighting with and leading the natives in the struggle, and grows into a revered legend.

Rocannon's World is the first published novel of Ursula K. Le Guin, and the first instalment in the so-called Hainish cycle. It is unfortunately also definitely the weakest book I've read by her, but that hardly means that it was disappointing. Only that it didn'
J.G. Keely
"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
Allison Hurd
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, fem-author
Interesting to see this early Le Guin. In it I hear her words so much more loudly than in some of her later works. It's sort of like this book has a stronger accent. This is an interesting blend of all sorts of things Le Guin seems to have spent her career pondering and the sort of action adventure story so popular in the '60s.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The Le Guin-ine
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthropology
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
Jan 27, 2012 added it
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
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, fantasy-horror
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
Nate D
One of my biggest annoyances with fantasy, handed down from Tolkein to much of what followed, are the racial hierarchies that seem to go unanalyzed. LeGuin, though here taking on high fantasy epic-quest tropes in a sci-fi context, seems to be aware of these same problems, implying that one's identification with others in such contexts is a matter of racial/cultural bias and perspective, rather than anything definitive. She could have done more with this -- the story being more actually quest tha ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
I was a touch put off by the ponderous, ceremonial style of much of the prologue. My culturally learned nostalgia for heroic-feudal societies is a part of my psyche I've disciplined somewhat with critical consciousness, and I had to sort of soothe myself into this with the assurance that Le Guin wouldn't indulge in some decidedly Tolkiensque world building without an eye on the real injustices such writing often glorifies or naively capitalises on. Sure enough, a humanly familiar narrator takes ...more
Timothy Urges
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rocannon, anthropologist and wanderer, sets out on a quest of revenge and justice.

Brilliant storytelling. The alien world is alive and believable. I can see the far future of humanity following the same paths as Rocannon.
review to follow
An enjoyable book, although without the real power of some of Le Guin's later works. I liked that you can start to see some of the author's favorite themes around the dangers of reliance on technology and the dynamics of interactions between cultures showing up toward the beginning. The story overall, though, has a very classic fantasy feel - Le Guin has said it was very heavily based in Norse mythology, and you can certainly feel that. The world-building also relies on hierarchical relationship ...more
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
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Ursula K Le Guin's debut science fiction novel. The first book of hers that I read was the great Left Hand of Darkness, the fourth in the Hainish cycle of which Rocannon's World is the first. The Hainish cycle isn't a series, per se, and so it really doesn't seem to matter the order in which they are read.

Rocannon's World is science fiction. It has interstellar travel and FTL ships and laser weapons; but it is also high fantasy, with lords and vassals, swords and castles, legends and gr
This is the first book in Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle, a series of 10 books that spans different worlds in the context of interplanetary ethnologists roaming about the galaxy, studying planets and their cultures, and potentially incorporating them into the League of All Worlds. I think it is a brilliant premise for a series, but it is most extraordinary for Le Guin's talent at creating entire worlds in each of her books, complete with different races/species, cultures, rituals, and meaning ...more
Erich Franz Linner-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
Endre Fodstad
May 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
I listened to this one as an audiobook. The narrator did an excellent job (although the Fiia's voices were a bit over the top) so I do not think that affected my perception of it negatively. Even so, I did not find the book engaging. Allowing for its age, it still fails to deliver on many levels. The main plotline is not very interesting and is resolved very lazily, but since the main meat of the book consists of demonstrating the culture of the different species living on Fomalhaut II it could ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There's a lot in this short novel. It's Le Guin's first, and you can tell it's an early book because of a tiny bit of clunkiness, a few too-convenient coincidences, and some SF/F elements that don't quite follow the rules (which she points out herself in the introduction that's included at the end of the Library of America volume I read it in). But you can also see her genius. The writing is beautiful, and makes you want to slow down while reading. The aliens are interesting; there are a bunch o ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sff
A lovely 2.5 star story, but I would recommend that if you are new to LeGuin that you read some of her more famous and later stories first to determine if she (as an author) is right for you. Some aspects midway through the story were a bit rough and a few of the transitions were as well but by the end you could definitely hear LeGuin's voice in the prose. She has a distinct skill with imagery that you can't help but appreciate. Another thing, reading this book really points to the pompous verbo ...more
Jen Jen
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: available-book
I was captivated by the beautiful language of this story.
Charles Dee Mitchell
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
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
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
I started out playing RPGs (role playing games) in the late 70s, and this felt like a mashup of two of them. The overarching story is like parts of a Traveller campaign, with space travel, planetary colonization, and trading between worlds. And rebels. But this is a small part of this story. Rocannon, a scientist, finds himself on one visited world where those rebels have destroyed his compound and killed his co-workers. At this point, “Rocannon’s World” becomes a DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) adve ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A skillful blending of sci-fi and fantasy, Rocannon’s World reads differently than other Hainish Cycle series books, even if one can see the roots of future stories take hold in this one. Rocannon’s story reads very much like a typical fantasy group-goes-on-a-quest story with some spaceships and aliens thrown in. Through his journey, however, Le Guin explores the meaning of myths and legends to the people within them and then to outsiders looking in. For what are we as people, as societies, but ...more
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Ursula K. Le Guin 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. She lived in Portland, Orego ...more

Other books in the series

Hainish Cycle (6 books)
  • Planet of Exile (Hainish Cycle #2)
  • City of Illusions
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4)
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #6)
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