!!> EPUB ✾ The Word for World is Forest ✹ Author Ursula K. Le Guin – Thomashillier.co.uk

The Word for World is Forest Centuries In The Future, Terrans Have Established A Logging Colony Military Base Named New Tahiti On A Tree Covered Planet Whose Small, Green Furred, Big Eyed Inhabitants Have A Culture Centered On Lucid Dreaming Terran Greed Spirals Around Native Innocence Wisdom, Overturning The Ancient SocietyHumans Have Learned Interstellar Travel From The Hainish The Origin Planet Of All Humanoid Races, Including Athsheans Various Planets Have Been Expanding Independently, But During The Novel It S Learned That The League Of All Worlds Has Been Formed News Arrives Via An Ansible, A New Discovery Previously They Had Been Cut Off, Light Years From HomeThe Story Occurs After The Dispossessed, Where Both The Ansible The League Of Worlds Are Unrealised Also Well Before Planet Of Exile, Where Human Settlers Have Learned To Coexist The Th Century Has Been SuggestedTerran Colonists Take Over The Planet Locals Call Athshe, Meaning Forest, Rather Than Dirt, Like Their Home Planet Terra They Follow The Th Century Model Of Colonization Felling Trees, Planting Farms, Digging Mines Enslaving Indigenous Peoples The Natives Are Unequipped To Comprehend This They Re A Subsistence Race Who Rely On The Forests Have No Cultural Precedent For Tyranny, Slavery Or War The Invaders Take Their Land Without Resistance Until One Fatal Act Sets Rebellion In Motion Changes The People Of Both Worlds Forever


10 thoughts on “The Word for World is Forest

  1. says:

    Posted at Heradas Review1 23 2017 edit The world lost an absolute literary giant today If you haven t read Ursula K Le Guin, do yourself a favor She s fantastic.The Library of America just published these definitive hardcover collections of Le Guin s Hainish Cycle novels and stories, which made my decision to finally start working my way through this classic series of speculative fiction that much easier I m going to be tackling these in no particular order, since my research shows that the Posted at Heradas Review1 23 2017 edit The world lost an absolute literary giant today If you haven t read Ursula K Le Guin, do yourself a favor She s fantastic.The Library of America just published these definitive hardcover collections of Le Guin s Hainish Cycle novels and stories, which made my decision to finally start working my way through this classic series of speculative fiction that much easier I m going to be tackling these in no particular order, since my research shows that they re only tertiarily connected to one another, but take place in a shared universe.The Word for World is Forest is a terrific novella, originally published in the Harlan Ellison edited Again, Dangerous Visions anthology in 1972 It went on to win the Hugo award for best Novella later that year I believe it was very influential to James Cameron s Avatar which I am now certain was constructed entirely from story elements and themes originating in Old Man s War The Word for World is Forest The novella also definitely influenced George Lucas s Ewoks from Return of the Jedi, to such a degree that I think plagiarism is the better suited word.It s a social science fiction story, and a moralistic ethical one with some wonderfully insightful and precient things to say about dangerous ideas entering the public consciousness In this way it was perfectly suited for that Dangerous Visions anthology My main takeaway from tWfWiF is that once a dangerous idea is out there for the first time, there is no turning back It becomes a part of the public consciousness Here, specifically that dangerous idea is the very concept of murder, introduced to the peaceful Athsheans by their human yuman occupiers.I enjoyed the waking dreams that the Athsheans were capable of, and how deeply dreaming was ingrained into their culture and at such a foundational level Especially when that was contrasted with how little the humans yumans dreamt how they had almost lost the ability altogether and required drugs to fully dream It speaks volumes to how overworked and under rested western, and specifically American culture has become Assuredly, this has only become a larger problem since the seventies when this was written Dreams are necessary, not only as moments of respite from our chaotic lives, but as catalysts for forward imaginative thinking We need downtime in order to reset Dreams fuel us and encourage us to create What are we without dreams Without the possibility to imagine something different There was a great line in this book about how suicide harms those who live on, but murder harms the murderer herself I really liked that It may not be entirely true, but poetically, it was beautifully constructed This story almost represents the antithesis of that sentiment, when the concept of murder enters the societal consciousness of the Athsheans, it continues to harm them after the fact, by perpetuating itself ad infinitum It s impossible to go back once innocence is lost The Athsheans are forever changed by the invading yumans Be cautious what you allow into your lives and societies.Okay, so onto the Ewok Return of the Jedi connection You ve got a forest planet, filled with furry little creatures about a meter tall They re described as looking quite a bit like teddy bears They live in the forest city named Endtor Some of them were being used as slaves They eventually rise up and decide to take on their occupiers, and reclaim their planet All of their names are exactly 2 syllables long Hmm sounds a little familiar.Are you kidding me George Lucas For real dude It took about 9 years, but you massively ripped that concept off from Le Guin You didn t even scrape the serial numbers off it If Le Guin were particularly litigious, she could probably get a percentage on all Ewok merchandizing past and future She doesn t strike me as the type to sue, and Disney is a bit of giant to go up against these days Still, credit should be given where credit is due The Ewoks originated in Le Guin s mind, and she deserves the recognition


  2. says:

    Maybe after I die people will be as they were before I was born, and before you came But I do not think they willIn every book by Le Guin there is that special something for me, something that grabs a firm hold of my mind and heart and stubbornly hangs on, refusing to let go, burrowing deeply, growing roots, sprouting shoots that will go on to quietly, unobtrusively, almost imperceptibly change my mental landscape forever by making me really think, by challenging established ideas, precoMaybe after I die people will be as they were before I was born, and before you came But I do not think they willIn every book by Le Guin there is that special something for me, something that grabs a firm hold of my mind and heart and stubbornly hangs on, refusing to let go, burrowing deeply, growing roots, sprouting shoots that will go on to quietly, unobtrusively, almost imperceptibly change my mental landscape forever by making me really think, by challenging established ideas, preconceptions and expectations with unexpected quiet subversive subtletyBut even the most unmissionary soul, unless he pretend he has no emotions, is sometimes faced with a choice between commission and omission What are they doing abruptly becomes, What are we doing and then, What must I doThe idea, the storyline Le Guin uses is not new in fact, it appears to be as old a human nature itself just like that scene in the beginning of Kubrick s Space Odyssey , when proto us make the definite step on the road from ape to human by learning how to use tools as weapons of murder Throughout ages, we have fought to prove that we are stronger ergo better than whoever happens to be Them , scarring our history with bloodshed, hatred, exploitation, dehumanization, prejudice, murder After all, strongest survive, as evolution postulates Isn t that trueYou know the people you re studying are going to get plowed under, and probably wiped out It s the way things are It s human nature, and you must know you can t change thatNo, Le Guin s premise is not new, and, of course, she s not the first one to see the injustice ingrained in it We find ways to justify the advantage of brute strength be it of a human or an entire nation but, feeling bad about it somewhere deep in the human core, feeling the appeal of the idea of justice, we also root for the underdog, the oppressed, the seemingly weak, and we hope that payback is a bitchBut you must not pretend to have reasons to kill one another Murder has no reasonAnd so we think we know how this story will go, right from the opening pages of this short book, the pages that seem to forgo the subtlety and go straight for the divide between Good and Evil The Evil being the technologically superior ruthless Earthlings carelessly and brutally exploiting the resources and the inhabitants of a lushly green planet known as the Forest to its people The Good being the natives , the seemingly harmless, attuned to their environment and themselves helpless race of humanoid Ewoks, immersed in the culture based on nature and dreaming The inevitable clash between the native Selver and the outsider batshit insane macho Davidson should represent this struggle, and we know that the underdog should win, and humans should be taught a lesson in the nature of true humanity, and that the life on the planet should continue in the lovely ways that recover from human influence and proceed to prosper in the satisfying feel good wayand above all Athshe, which meant the Forest, and the World So Earth, Terra, meant both the soil and the planet, two meanings and one But to the Athsheans soil, ground, earth was not that to which the dead return and by which the living live the substance of their world was not earth, but forest Terran man was clay, red dust Athshean man was branch and rootBut this is Le Guin writing, with her sharp mind and a knack for anthropology, and the understanding that the present world hinges on political negotiations muchthan the idea of justice She knows that the epic showdown and the happily ever after may look good on page and screen, but in reality there are scars that do not heal, and that the reaction to every action does not just go away after it has served its purpose, that most victories are Pyrrhic and that things can never be the same as though nothing had happened because it did happen, after all Because in order to protect themselves and their way of life the Athsenians in Le Guin s novella had to go against their nature itself, to change, to adapt and therefore never be able to return to the hopeful it can be now as it was before Because change cannot be undone Because cruelty and hatred begets sameBut had he learned to kill his fellowmen among his own dreams of outrage and bereavement, or from the undreamed of actions of the strangers Was he speaking his own language, or was he speaking Captain Davidson sLe Guin s book was written in the heyday of the Vietnam war, and it s easy to see the parallels to it reading about Americans in battle machines fighting people in the forest But it s just as easy to see parallels to themundane events that are present in our everyday lives The questions periodically raised in the media about what simportant preserving the livelihood of the farmers or saving a rare species of beetles Ensuring livable wages to people in sweatshops overseas or cheap running shoes to the consumers in the Western world Preserving delicate marine life systems or cheap oil drilling to ensure current wellbeing of people needing the fuel And let s not forget the age old and completely wrong paradigm of If you re not with us, you re against us and the appalling idea of patriotism as hating the Other, so aptly summarized by quite caricaturish and terrifying in his self righteous madness DavidsonSee, where we differ is that with you Earth doesn t come first, actually With me it does This story is unmistakably a Le Guin , with its anthropologically themed musings, impeccable and original world building, the marring of the lines between good and evil, the greyness between black and white, the emphasis taken away from the action and to the politics, the belief in the role of the government in ensuring the semblance of peace and order, with its somewhat dry and cerebral language occasionally permeated by the descriptions so brilliantly vivid it s breathtaking And just like every book by Le Guin I ve read so far, I ll recommend it to all my friends without hesitationMaybe after I die people will be as they were before I was born, and before you came But I do not think they will


  3. says:

    If it s all the rest of us who are killed by the suicide, it s himself who the murderer kills So muses author Ursula K LeGuin in her 1972 novel The Word for World is Forest The winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella, LeGuin s mastery of the language and the genre are in full display as well as her remarkable imaginative powers Revisiting her Hainish cycle of works not a series of books but rather a group of stand alone works with a thematic central core somewhat simi If it s all the rest of us who are killed by the suicide, it s himself who the murderer kills So muses author Ursula K LeGuin in her 1972 novel The Word for World is Forest The winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella, LeGuin s mastery of the language and the genre are in full display as well as her remarkable imaginative powers Revisiting her Hainish cycle of works not a series of books but rather a group of stand alone works with a thematic central core somewhat similar to Heinlein s Future History or Poul Anderson s Poletechnic Series, though I am unaware of any reoccurring characters in LeGuin s Hainish Cycle , the author sets this work on a small planet inhabited by short, green furred humanoids who, though technologically backward, are spiritually and evolutionarilyadvanced than the visiting, conquering and destroying Terran colonists.I cannot read the novel without forming a mental comparison to the 1953 short story Piper in the Woods A Short Science Fiction Novel by Philip K Dick LeGuin has crafted a world where the humans as the natives are no doubt descended from a common Hainish ancestor as all humans are in her Hain narratives are so spiritually connected to the forest of their world that they cannot separate abstract thought away from the woods Further, the natives are able to manifest and relatefully to their dreams and LeGuin borrows a dream state awareness reminiscent of aboriginal Australian concepts The novel suggests an anthropological study and a broadened metaphor for LeGuin to observe and provide comment upon her fellow man.Most noteworthy is LeGuin s first person perspective of one of the Terran colonists Captain Davidson A villain of Dickensian evil, LeGuin portrays this characterization as adeptly as John Steinbeck did when he described car salesmen in The Grapes of Wrath This element of the novel is also akin to Norman Mailer s murky observations in Why Are We in Vietnam and perhaps both share a troublingly inevitable comment on our baser nature.Bradburyesque in its lyrical beauty, this is nonetheless a violent and disturbing novel Though the natives are small, green furred and naturally peaceful, they have been pushed to extremes and have themselves found an atavistic internal brute Observant readers of classic science fiction have noticed that director and producer James Cameron borrowed shamelessly from Poul Anderson s themes in his short story Call me Joe, and Cameron may also have adapted themes from LeGuin s outstanding work


  4. says:

    3.5 stars, rounding up Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature In The Word for World is Forest, Ursula Le Guin s 1972 Hugo Award winning novella, she works out her frustrations with the Vietnam War, colonialism, and ecologically insensitive societies The human colonists on the world Athshe have enslaved the 3 foot tall, furry green native people and have created ecological disaster everywhere they go They re stripping the forests for logging purposes, as timber is worththan gol 3.5 stars, rounding up Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature In The Word for World is Forest, Ursula Le Guin s 1972 Hugo Award winning novella, she works out her frustrations with the Vietnam War, colonialism, and ecologically insensitive societies The human colonists on the world Athshe have enslaved the 3 foot tall, furry green native people and have created ecological disaster everywhere they go They re stripping the forests for logging purposes, as timber is worththan gold back on Earth, to the point that unlikely as it may seem it s a profitable venture to ship logs back to Earth at sub light speeds.When Captain Don Davidson a perfectly loathsome man who spews racist, crude, and ignorant thoughts and words at every turn the scenes from his point of view are like wallowing in a cesspool rapes one of native women, who he doesn t really view as human, it proves to be the turning point in the relationship between the human colonists and the formerly peaceful natives.Le Guin writes a powerful, somewhat allegorical tale it s just too bad she uses such a scenery chewing, one dimensional villain to make her point The Word for World is Forest is a very moralizing, preachy story, but there are parts that are subtler, and as a whole it will stick with me It was written in 1968, and there are some definite resemblances to the later movies Return of the Jedi Ewoks, anyone and Avatar the inspiration seems fairly clear The connection has raised enough discussion that Le Guin expressly distances herself from the latter film in the Introduction to the recently published two volume Library of America collection, Ursula K Le Guin The Hainish Novels and Stories Since the film completely reverses the book s moral premise, presenting the central and unsolved problem of the book, mass violence, as a solution, I m glad I had nothing to do with it Le Guin s ending confronts that unresolved problem, in one of the stronger scenes in the story, making it clear that a society s adoption of violence as a means to an end, while it may win the immediate battle, is a Pandora s Box.I first read The Word for World is Forest about twenty years ago I think I even still have the paperback with this cheesy cover I have to say that I definitely appreciated itthis time around, in large part because I ve been reading Le Guin s other Hainish Cycle novels and stories in the LOA collection Familiarity with her other Hainish works enhances the background setting and grounds the subplot relating to ansible communications from Earth and visiting personnel from other worlds This time around the real meaning of the title also dawned on me humans call their world Earth, and we are primarily tied to the land and ground, but for the Athsheans, it is the interconnected, living trees and forests that define their world Hence, in the Athshean language the word for world and forest is the same That intriguing concept and the importance of lucid dreaming in the Athshean culture, and their relevance to the plot, added some much needed depth to this novella.I received a free copy of this for review as part of a two volume set, Ursula K Le Guin The Hainish Novels and Stories, which I recommend highly to anyone who likes thoughtful SF


  5. says:

    Another excellent instalment in the Hainish Cycle Ursula le Guin has become one of my favourite authors ever despite the fact that none of her writing has really astounded me There is just something about each one of her books that makes them both enjoyable and thought provoking.Also, this book has proto ewoks.


  6. says:

    They were here, in Centralville, twenty seven lightyears from Earth by NAFAL and four hours from Smith Camp by hopper, the second batch of breeding females for the New Tahiti Colony, all sound and clean, 212 head of prime human stock Written in 1972, this second book in the Hainish cycle is chillingly prescient about the modern world we are living in today Although the main theme is deforestation, echoes of The Handmaid s Tale and of conservative attitudes regarding economic imperatives, le They were here, in Centralville, twenty seven lightyears from Earth by NAFAL and four hours from Smith Camp by hopper, the second batch of breeding females for the New Tahiti Colony, all sound and clean, 212 head of prime human stock Written in 1972, this second book in the Hainish cycle is chillingly prescient about the modern world we are living in today Although the main theme is deforestation, echoes of The Handmaid s Tale and of conservative attitudes regarding economic imperatives, lesser races, sexism, militarism, selfishness as the highest virtue and even alternative facts are sadly too easy to correlate from this almost 50 years old story to the daily news we hear in 2017Right, but this isn t slavery, Ok baby Slaves are humans When you raise cows, you call that slavery No And it works Space travel has brought humanity to the stars, but their arrival on New Tahity, an ocean planet with a few scattered islands covered in lush forest, means extinction for the environment and enslavement for the native population small, furry green aborigens not so different from the pygmies of Central Africa or the lost tribes of the ian jungle The newcomers call them creechies or monkeys and use them as forced labor in cutting down the native treesSee, you want to keep this place just like it is, actually, Kees Like one big National Forest To look at, to study Great, you re a spesh But see, we re just ordinary joes getting the work done Earth needs wood, needs it bad We find wood on New Tahiti So we re loggers See, where we differ is that with you Earth doesn t come first, actually With me it does Kees looked at him sideways out of those blue golf ball eyes Does it You want to make this world into Earth s image, eh A desert of cement Kees, the local naturalist from Smith Logger Camp, has few actual powers to stop Davidson, the logger s boss and the poster boy of the New Right, America Earth First policy Le Guin has no use for subtlety or moderation It s a life or death situation both for the forest and for the creechies Us or them Liberals or Conservatives Might versus Right And we all know which side is losingPrimitive races always have to give way to civilized ones Or be assimilated But we sure as hell can t assimilate a lot of green monkeys Back in 1972 though, science fiction writers wereoptimistic and could imagine a scenario in which the military industrial complex can be brought to its knees I m not going into plot details here other than to say that the novel packs a lot of action for such a slim and militant story I would rather draw another parallel to the modern times The Hainish cycle is built around one technological breakthrough the ansible a device that allows for instant communication across light years in distancePolicy was no longer staticexplains one of its ambassadors on New Tahity Abuses of power and ecological disasters are communicated instantly to the public and to the legislative branch Our modern equivalent for the ansible is the internet and, not surprisingly, it is one of the first targets for censure from the current administration I don t want to end my review on such bitter and downbeat remarks Ursula K le Guin has also a keen eye for beauty, and this is truly worth fighting for All the colors of rust and sunset, brown reds and pale greens, changed ceaselessly in the long leaves as the wind blew The roots of the copper willows, thick and ridged, were moss green down by the running water, which like wind moved slowly with many soft eddies and seeming pauses, held back by rocks, roots, hanging and falling leaves No way was clear, no light unbroken, in the forest Into wind, water, sunlight, starlight, there always entered leaf and branch, bole and root, the shadowy, the complex


  7. says:

    In all honesty, the basic premise of this novella is the one I ve read seen many times before both in fiction the latest version is James Cameron s Avatar and reality A group of evil and greedy Terrans is in a process of colonizing a new planet Athshe What it means, as you can guess, is that Terrans destroy Athshe s ecosystem by cutting down the planet s forests and sending wood to their mother planet Earth which by this time is nothing but a barren desert and enslave and abuse the nat In all honesty, the basic premise of this novella is the one I ve read seen many times before both in fiction the latest version is James Cameron s Avatar and reality A group of evil and greedy Terrans is in a process of colonizing a new planet Athshe What it means, as you can guess, is that Terrans destroy Athshe s ecosystem by cutting down the planet s forests and sending wood to their mother planet Earth which by this time is nothing but a barren desert and enslave and abuse the native people who they consider to be imbecilic animals but choose to rape their females anyway What sis that through their heinous actions, Terrans affect the psyche of the whole planet s population, forcing the people to react to the invaders atrocities in a way that is foreign to their inherently non violent nature But of course, Ursula K Le Guin, a great writer that she is, creates a completely unique and meaningful tale using this age old story As always, her world building is impeccable I am always amazed at how imaginative Le Guin is there is no stone unturned, she creates an entirely original system of culture, social order, ecology, physiology, language, and thought process The result is a remarkable work of science fiction firmly grounded in brutal reality of our past and present


  8. says:

    And people still think Avatar had an original concept Though I ll admit the visuals are gorgeous Le Guin did it first, and did it better The Word for World is Forest is heartwrenchingly beautiful, all thefor its continued relevence nearly half a century since first publication Her introduction to this edition is also exquisite, and discusses not only the need and reasoning behind the writing of this story, but also the need for the creation ofany such story The pursuit of art, by ar And people still think Avatar had an original concept Though I ll admit the visuals are gorgeous Le Guin did it first, and did it better The Word for World is Forest is heartwrenchingly beautiful, all thefor its continued relevence nearly half a century since first publication Her introduction to this edition is also exquisite, and discusses not only the need and reasoning behind the writing of this story, but also the need for the creation ofany such story The pursuit of art, by artist or audience, is the pursuit of liberty If you accept that, you see at once why truly serious people reject and mistrust the arts, labelling them as escapism The captured soldier tunneling out of prison, the runaway slave, and Solzhenitsyn in exile, are escapists She later describes how easy, fluent and yet unpleasurable this story was to write, and how she struggled against making it into a preachment It isn t, she succeeded though as she also states, the moralising aspects of the story are now plainly visible The Word for World is Forest is just as easy, fluent and yet painful to read as its creation appeared to be But for all that it shows the utmost horror of human exploitation, it also shows beauty A few years after publishing this book, Le Guin learned of the Senoi people, in Malaysia, whose cultures, customs and use of dreams are or were strikingly similar to that of the Athsheans Humans are capable of humanity Art such as this is only one way to express that, but perhaps the most essential way of all


  9. says:

    Good short books are profitable reads, therefore great ones are greatly profitable I am thinking of the time invested in reading the entire book and the pleasure, inspiration or education gained from them This book clocks in at 189 pages but Le Guin made every word count Like most of Ms Le Guin s works this is a thought provoking story What happen when we introduce evil into a hitherto innocent and passive culture The Athsheans are very vivid creations, the story of their enslavement and e Good short books are profitable reads, therefore great ones are greatly profitable I am thinking of the time invested in reading the entire book and the pleasure, inspiration or education gained from them This book clocks in at 189 pages but Le Guin made every word count Like most of Ms Le Guin s works this is a thought provoking story What happen when we introduce evil into a hitherto innocent and passive culture The Athsheans are very vivid creations, the story of their enslavement and exploitation by humans is heartfelt and all too believable Real life examples of man s inhumanity to man is plentiful, what would we do or not do if we encounter a less advanced and weaker alien race I shudder to think of it I suspect the movie Avatar is inspired by this book because of the similarities in the main theme Le Guin s story is muchsophisticated of course.This is the third Le Guin book I have read this year 2011 , the other two being The Dispossessed An Ambiguous Utopia and The Left Hand of Darkness Of the three The Word for World is Forest is my favorite A book of this quality at this length ought to be read by everyone.Note If you are in the mood for short but great sci fi novels have a look at this for plenty of suggestions and do join us at PrintSF for sf books discussions


  10. says:

    a a lar n alt nda belki de ba ka hi bir yerde olmad kadar evinde hissediyordu kendini.Nas l da z c bir kitapt Orman ve D nya kelimelerinin ayn anlama geldi i bir gezegen, orada ya ayan masum bir halk ve medeniyet g t rme ad alt nda o gezegeni i gal eden, l m ve k leli i g t ren vah i insanlar Kitab n tan t m yaz s nda D nya kurtulsa bile ayn d nya olabilecek miydi pekideniyor ya, en ok da bu k s m z yor okuyucuyu K sa g r nd ne bakmay n, derin bir kitap o y zden odaklanar a a lar n alt nda belki de ba ka hi bir yerde olmad kadar evinde hissediyordu kendini.Nas l da z c bir kitapt Orman ve D nya kelimelerinin ayn anlama geldi i bir gezegen, orada ya ayan masum bir halk ve medeniyet g t rme ad alt nda o gezegeni i gal eden, l m ve k leli i g t ren vah i insanlar Kitab n tan t m yaz s nda D nya kurtulsa bile ayn d nya olabilecek miydi pekideniyor ya, en ok da bu k s m z yor okuyucuyu K sa g r nd ne bakmay n, derin bir kitap o y zden odaklanarak okumak laz m Ursula n n yazd her kitap g zel, D nyaya Orman Denir ise ok g zel olanlardan