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Planet of Exile PDF, ePub eBook The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years--& ten of Werel's years are over 600 terrestrial years. The lonely & dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter--a season that lasts for 15 years--the Earthmen have neighbors: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years--& ten of Werel's years are over 600 terrestrial years. The lonely & dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter--a season that lasts for 15 years--the Earthmen have neighbors: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches & call the farborns. But hilfs & farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals & eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated?

30 review for Planet of Exile

  1. 5 out of 5

    da AL

    Originally published in 1966, the audio version was produced in 2007. Le Guin is a pioneer among women sci-fi writers. Here she does a great job of creating an exciting new world with new beings. The two audiobook readers do a wonderful job of bringing the story further to life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A pretty strong 3 stars, but I've dropped off of my initial 3.5 star (rounded up) rating. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: We’re on the backwater planet Werel, where a human colony from Earth landed some 600 years ago, dropped off by a starship than then left them to fight an unnamed enemy of humanity. Stranded ever since, and having lost all communications with galactic society, this group is slowly dying out, unable to thrive in Werel’s environment (among other things, the rate A pretty strong 3 stars, but I've dropped off of my initial 3.5 star (rounded up) rating. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: We’re on the backwater planet Werel, where a human colony from Earth landed some 600 years ago, dropped off by a starship than then left them to fight an unnamed enemy of humanity. Stranded ever since, and having lost all communications with galactic society, this group is slowly dying out, unable to thrive in Werel’s environment (among other things, the rate of spontaneous abortion and stillbirths is extremely high). They’re holding on to as much technology as they are able, but are slowly losing ground. Werel also contains other tribes of humans in a primitive, superstitious pre-wheel society. These humans have been on the planet far longer, seeded by the Hainish galactic civilization countless millennia ago. There’s cautious trading and relations between the more recent arrivals, but also deep suspicion of the “farborn” by the natives, with their blue-black skins and technology that the natives don’t comprehend. Their peoples have been separated for so long that the farborn can’t successfully have children with the natives, who they call hilfs (highly intelligent life forms). The unique thing about Werel is that one of its years is equivalent to 60 normal Earth years. So every season lasts for 15 years, and Winter is coming ― which is truly brutal; everyone just hunkers down and survives on the food they’ve been able to store. But now word has come that a group of barbaric nomads, the Gaal, has organized into a mass army and is marching on both the farborn and the local natives, killing everyone in their path. The farborn and the local hilfs make a tentative, hard-won deal to cooperate in fighting the Gaal. That deal violently falls apart when Agat Alterra and Rolery, a farborn man and a hilf woman, enter into what seems to be a very ill-advised fling, forbidden by hilf society on pain of death. Now the barbarians are at the door, and everyone’s in trouble. Initially I was mentally dinging this novel for relying on insta-love, but it’s not really that. It’s more infatuation and loneliness on the part of both Agat and Rolery, which is eminently believable. It begins as a temporary relationship, a coming together for comfort and sex, though it’s deeper and more meaningful than just a fling. But both Rolery and Agat think their secret relationship won’t ― can’t ― last. As everything goes south, literally and figuratively, they may find out differently. Planet of Exile is the second novel in the two-volume Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories collection that I’m currently making my way through. At the end of the first volume is a fascinating commentary, written by Le Guin in the 70s, in which she chides herself for falling into fairly traditional sexual roles with this novel. However, as Le Guin also points out, Rolery, as quiet as she is, has grit and determination, and is much more of an active change catalyst than she may seem to be at first glance. One of the more interesting aspects of Planet of Exile is anthropological: Le Guin’s creation of a primitive human society and what happens when it exists side by side with, but relatively separated from, a more advanced civilization. The Notes section at the end of the Hainish Novels and Stories collection point out some of the features of the hilf society that echo actual native cultures on Earth, including avoiding direct eye contact (considered an aggressive gesture in many Native American groups) and the ritual of stone-pounding. Planet of Exile is a very short novel, one of Le Guin’s earliest. The scientific underpinnings of this tale were rather suspect in several ways; you just have to roll with them. But I still enjoyed the read; even in her early days, Le Guin’s emerging talent is clear. Points to her for including an interracial romance in a 1966 science fiction novel, and also for having the black people be the far more advanced civilization. In the 60s, that was significant. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Planet of Exile as a stand-alone read, but read in conjunction with her next novel, City of Illusions, which deals with some travelers from Werel many generations later, its impact on me was greatly enhanced. Content note: There's a sexual relationship, but it's very subtly handled. No explicit sex.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "She the stranger, the foreigner, of alien blood and mind, did not share his power or his conscience or his knowledge or his exile. She shared nothing at all with him, but had met him and joined with him wholly and immediately across the gulf of thier great difference: as if it were the difference, the alienness between them, that let them meet, and that in joining together, freed them." ― Ursula K. Le Guin, Planet of Exile I'm making my way through Library of America's recent Le Guin Box Set. Whi "She the stranger, the foreigner, of alien blood and mind, did not share his power or his conscience or his knowledge or his exile. She shared nothing at all with him, but had met him and joined with him wholly and immediately across the gulf of thier great difference: as if it were the difference, the alienness between them, that let them meet, and that in joining together, freed them." ― Ursula K. Le Guin, Planet of Exile I'm making my way through Library of America's recent Le Guin Box Set. While the books don't have a specific order, I'm letting LOA chose the path. I guess that makes as much sense as anything. I have, however, already read The Dispossessed, so I guess I'm not reading them in EXACT Library of America order. Oh, well. 'Planet of Exile' is the second book in LOA's Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1. It was originally published in 1966, Le Guin's second published novel (I believe). I love the prose. I love the spareness. I love the empathy of Le Guin's writing. Themes of foreigness, language, exile, belonging, family, history, surge and bubble througout this series. There is always a bit of an imbalance too in these books (I mean so far, I've only read 3 now). There are usually those who have more knowledge, history, and perspective than other tribes of men. It is how that chasm gets crossed, fused, and understood is where (I believe) much of Le Guin's genius lies. Yes, she is creating her own SciFi universe, but she is doing way more. She is unlocking OUR universe. Ultimately this isn't a Hainish story, this is a story of mankind, told in the form of a fable or tale.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    This turned out to be a fairly average read. The world building and the general ideas behind the plot are excellent. Sadly Le Guin fails when it comes to storytelling. Her writing feels distant and as a result I felt a bit disconnected from the characters and the happenings. Which was a shame as I felt like this had the potential to be something special. The story takes place on the planet of Werel, a fascinating place where one year is equivalent to 60 Earth years. The seasons on Werel match th This turned out to be a fairly average read. The world building and the general ideas behind the plot are excellent. Sadly Le Guin fails when it comes to storytelling. Her writing feels distant and as a result I felt a bit disconnected from the characters and the happenings. Which was a shame as I felt like this had the potential to be something special. The story takes place on the planet of Werel, a fascinating place where one year is equivalent to 60 Earth years. The seasons on Werel match those on Earth meaning that they last 15 years each on Werel. The Earth colony of Landon has been stranded there for 10 years. 10 local years that is which is 600 Earth years! The colony is dying slowly and the population is down to its last few thousand. The colony folk have a peaceful, but strained relationship with the local humanoid aliens, but both cultures must learn to work together or fall under the migrating horde of Gaals. For the first time ever the Gaals tribes have united under one leader and rather than just peacefully migrating south for the winter, as they normally do, they plan to invade and capture a few winter cities along the way. The story touched on a number of themes including racism, prejudice, isolation, and the struggle for survival. Unsurprisingly this was quite dark at times. Rating: 3 stars. Audio Note: The narration was split between Carrington MacDuffie and Steven Hoye. A ploy that did not work particularly well as they made no effort at consistency of interpretation. The producers should probably just have went with MacDuffie as she was more adept at voicing the characters.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    In my review of Left Hand of Darkness, the first of LeGuin's works that I read, I wondered whether she had the authorial depth to create another unusual vision, or whether her books were all of a similar tone. I admit I did not expect them to be quite this similar. The first four Hainish stories, despite taking place on different worlds with different characters, all share tone, plot, theme, and character types. We have a male protagonist who has an important position in his society, but who is l In my review of Left Hand of Darkness, the first of LeGuin's works that I read, I wondered whether she had the authorial depth to create another unusual vision, or whether her books were all of a similar tone. I admit I did not expect them to be quite this similar. The first four Hainish stories, despite taking place on different worlds with different characters, all share tone, plot, theme, and character types. We have a male protagonist who has an important position in his society, but who is living through a period of upheaval and unsurety which renders his high position less useful. He wanders through a strange world, lonely and confused, unable to connect with anyone around him. Despite this lack of connection, he still develops an obsessive romance with a woman despite remaining alienated from her. He continues to follow a path towards a single, constant goal for which he must sacrifice his love, his friends, and his sense of self. Throughout the story, there will be hints and inferences about homosexuality, but despite foreshadowing, any such relationship will melt away shortly before the climax, never to be mentioned again. There will be a tone of fundamental isolation as the protagonist frets and ruminates about his relationships, which will always remain laconic and strained. He will form a relationship with a mentor character who will either die or disappear before he is ready. It works better in some stories than in others. In the true isolation of a man alone on an alien world in Left Hand of Darkness, it is understandable, if still somewhat overwrought. In The City of Illusions , the story of a man who has lost himself in a world where he can rely on no one, it seems the logical conclusion for a protagonist who is fundamentally paranoid and truly alone. However, in this book, it is less effective. We also do not have the interesting conceptual story of Rocannon's World , ingeniously blending fantasy with sci fi, so of the series, this book is the most flat. All the books are rather detached and stoic, so without a unique concept to explore, there is not a lot left. Likewise, the story does not develop a coherent reason for the protagonist to remain so detached and unsure, even within his own society. If LeGuin is depicting a character with some sort of social disorder, she never depicts any of the other characters as finding his mode off-putting, which I certainly did. And beyond that, all the protagonists in the series have the same social problems. Guilelessness is rarely good for an author, since they end up injecting themselves, their assumptions, desires, philosophies, and worldviews into their character without accounting for how it affects the story. For an author with a dull, stilted personality, this is a death sentence: no matter their intention, they will write a hidebound, dull book, returning always to their own natural level. For an author with a skewed, unusual way of looking at things, it is somewhat less problematic, since their book and characters will tend to be interesting and unpredictable, but the problem is to keep things fresh while writing what are fundamentally the same characters, themes, and story over and over. Ironically, this can sometimes be more of a problem for an idiomatic author, since their habitual stories and types will stand out more, not being able to fade into the background as easily as more common and recognizable character types and stories. It is easier to write repetitive stories when those stories already have an accepted place in the culture. Most authors have a type, a mode which they write in, as evidenced by the 'Byronic hero' or 'Lovecraftian horror', but it is important for an author to challenge themselves, pushing the limits of what they can do, ensuring that each story is, in some way, fundamentally different, and to avoid writing a story which is a watered-down version of something they have already written. LeGuin is usually good at creating differentiation in her stories; even if she keeps returning to the same character types and themes, at least the settings and subgenre material are different. As an adventure, this book is not bad, and we get some of LeGuin's odd world-building. In addition, this story provides the background for the conclusion of the next book in the series, City of Illusions, which may be why it is a less in-depth story, itself. Though happily, the next book has some of LeGuin's best writing, so this one is hardly a sign that her talents are on the wane.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zanna

    4.5 stars This novel had me from the first sentence, introducing a wilful young female protagonist and a strange, poetically evoked world. On this planet, a single cycle of the moon is more than 400 days, and the full solar year is so long that only the most elderly people have seen any of its long seasons more than once. The 'girl' Rolery, whom we follow at first, is part of a non industrial, hierarchical, patriarchal and peacable society, partly nomadic but with some mixed agriculture and spend 4.5 stars This novel had me from the first sentence, introducing a wilful young female protagonist and a strange, poetically evoked world. On this planet, a single cycle of the moon is more than 400 days, and the full solar year is so long that only the most elderly people have seen any of its long seasons more than once. The 'girl' Rolery, whom we follow at first, is part of a non industrial, hierarchical, patriarchal and peacable society, partly nomadic but with some mixed agriculture and spending the long Winters in walled, partially submerged earthwork cities rather than their warm-weather tents. The planet also has parasitic raiders who threaten the safety of Rolery's kin, and a large colony of 'farborn' people from a League world, who are also humanlike, maybe they are our kin. The farborn group keep to their enclave, living in a coastal town of comfortable, heated houses, preserving their knowledge of their foreign culture but forbidden by League convention to use or disseminate technology advanced far beyond the local level. Unlike Rolery's people, they use wheeled carts, but they don't use engines. The two groups interact rarely, peacefully, but hardly in friendship, each calling itself 'mankind' and the native group seeing the aliens as 'witches' while the colonists think the natives bigoted and backward. Le Guin makes it clear that the supposedly advanced aliens, who regard the natives somewhat as known to their social science, are actually quite ignorant of their culture; viewpoints shift in this novel, exposing mutual ignorance, misunderstandings and hostilities. The farborns are apparently what on Earth might be regarded as a racially diverse group, mainly described as dark or brown, though Rolery notes that some she sees when she walks around the the alien town are 'not much darker' than her own light-skinned kin. The elected council group is of mixed ages and genders, while the strongest leader of the group, Agat, is relatively young, described as attractive and dark brown in colouring. The native people have (thrillingly) 'golden' eyes. The aliens have been on the planet for many generations, but they are declining. Apart from the length of the year, the world-building is most interesting to me in that it explores how the aliens are genetically ill at ease on the planet – they need to take enzymoids to digest foods and their fertility is mysteriously low, while on the plus side they aren't subject to the local pathogens and so don't get sick or suffer infection. This connects with their isolation from the natives, leading into some really nice philosophical material, which Le Guin leaves us to play with while quietly offering her own conclusions in the narrative. Le Guin is very clever when it comes to making communication seem alien. Creativity around etiquette and turns of phrase (turn taking and agreement signifed by 'I listen' or 'I hear' for example) is one part of this, but more subtley the feeling that conversations are slightly rudely or bizarrely conducted reminds that the culture we are listening in on is elsewhere. Yet, everyone is relateable and the narrative is always emotionally involving. I appreciate stories that cast the climate as a protagonist, and here the coming of Winter is key to the action, not just an exotic backdrop. Referring back to Rocannon's World , the farborns are trained in controlled telepathy, and the implications of this are sensitvely explored, with romantic flair, in the relationship between Rolery and Agat. A fascinating situation is explored here with insightful, critical attention. Another highly satisfying and mind-stretching read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    Planet of Exile is not an Ursula K. Le Guin book I'd heard of before. I came on to my radar through my NoveList project, where I take my top ten lists from previous years and look for "read-alikes" on the Novelist database, then read them and compare them to the books that apparently sparked the association. Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire Planet of Exile is not an Ursula K. Le Guin book I'd heard of before. I came on to my radar through my NoveList project, where I take my top ten lists from previous years and look for "read-alikes" on the Novelist database, then read them and compare them to the books that apparently sparked the association. Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Planet of Exile is a novel in Ursula Le Guin’s HAINISH CYCLE and one of the author’s first published books. In this story, a colony of humans has been stranded for many years on the planet Werel, which has such a long orbit around its sun that one year is like 60 Earth years. These humans, gently led by Jakob Agat, live in a city surrounded by a stone wall. Because of the conditions on Werel, especially the effect of its sun’s Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi... Planet of Exile is a novel in Ursula Le Guin’s HAINISH CYCLE and one of the author’s first published books. In this story, a colony of humans has been stranded for many years on the planet Werel, which has such a long orbit around its sun that one year is like 60 Earth years. These humans, gently led by Jakob Agat, live in a city surrounded by a stone wall. Because of the conditions on Werel, especially the effect of its sun’s radiation on human genes, their colony is dwindling. The humans share the planet with two other humanoid species. They have no contact with the Gaal, a nomadic tribe, and they have a tense but sometimes cooperative relationship with the Tevarans. The planet is moving into its harsh winter phase, which will last about 15 years. Usually when this happens the nomadic Gaal pass by the human city on their way south. But this year there is a rumor that the Gaal do not plan to migrate, but rather to conquer the humans and Tevarans and take their cities for themselves. Jakob Agat hopes the humans and Tevarans can set aside their differences and suspicions and work together to defeat the Gaal. But when he falls in love with Rolery, granddaughter of the Tevaran leader, tensions flare. If you’re familiar with Ursula Le Guin’s work, I recommend reading Planet of Exile — it’s interesting to see how this excellent writer got her start. However, if you’re new to Le Guin, don’t start here. Her later work is so much better. In Planet of Exile, her world-building and character development has already improved from what we saw in Rocannon’s World, the first of the HAINISH CYCLE books, but it still lacks the vividness of her later works. For example, Jakob’s and Rolery’s love-at-first-sight relationship has no substance to it. I never felt it and wasn’t convinced that Jakob and Rolery felt it either. Perhaps this is because Le Guin’s main interest in these HAINISH novels isn’t to tell a love story, but to use science fiction to explore cultural anthropological themes. This is something that she also does better in later novels. Here, as in Rocannon’s World, her races and cultures seem too unnaturally distinct and isolated to be living so close together on the same planet. I have to say that if Planet of Exile wasn’t written by Ursula Le Guin, I probably wouldn’t recommend it at all, but I love Le Guin’s prose and I find it fascinating to compare her earlier and later works. I think that most of her fans will feel the same way. Planet of Exile is short and simple — an easy read. Again, if you’re not a fan yet, don’t start here; I suggest starting with THE EARTHSEA CYCLE or ANNALS OF THE WESTERN SHORE. I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version read by the excellent Steven Hoye and Carrington MacDuffie. This was a very nice production. All of the HAINISH CYCLE books are available on audio. Each of them can stand alone, so you don’t have to read them in any particular order, but Planet of Exile acts as a prequel to City of Illusions. I’ll be reading that one soon. Planet of Exile — (1966) The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years, and ten of Werel’s years are over 600 terrestrial years, and the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter, a season that lasts for 15 years, the Earthmen have neighbors: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches and call the farborns. But hilfs and farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals and eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dev Null

    In Planet of Exile, a group of settlers from the League of Worlds has been abandoned on their colony for hundreds of years, since the ships all ran off to fight in some great and nameless war. The world is one with a long and eccentric orbit, so its years are 60 earth-years long, and its winters particularly harsh and brutal. The colonists are slowly dying out due to low birth rates and incompatabilities with the native ecology, and hampered by their devotion to a code that will not allow them t In Planet of Exile, a group of settlers from the League of Worlds has been abandoned on their colony for hundreds of years, since the ships all ran off to fight in some great and nameless war. The world is one with a long and eccentric orbit, so its years are 60 earth-years long, and its winters particularly harsh and brutal. The colonists are slowly dying out due to low birth rates and incompatabilities with the native ecology, and hampered by their devotion to a code that will not allow them to introduce technological advances to the world without the natives discovering them first. The natives, on the other hand, lead nomadic lives and are quite content with their traditional ways, seeing no need for any such advancement. Some shelter through the long winters in cities which are torn down again in the spring, and others migrate towards the equator and warmer climes. The story is set at the coming of winter, and the migratory natives are seen for the first time to be banding together into large armies, which threatens the security of both the native cities and the colonists. By working together they have a chance to save themselves, but are nearly lost when their inability to see each other as equals destroys their alliance; the breakup sparked by the discovery that the daughter of a native chief has fallen in love with one of the leaders of the colony, and he returns her love. In the end they manage to fight together and fend off the migrating hordes, and it is seen that in addition to being accepted by the natives the settlers may be beginning to be accepted by their new world; they are adapting to, and becoming adapted to, its ecology to the point where they have a chance to survive. It could all be very schmaltzy, but it isn't. Instead of miraculously being brought together by the love of the couple, the two tribes are - alas, far more realistically - nearly destroyed by the jealosy and racism it brings out. And they know that their love is foolish and self-destructive, but there just isn't much they can do about it. The panic and terror of fighting for their lives comes across very well - this is no glorification of battle - and yet so does the exhiliration of survival and victory. All throughout the story the question continually arises: "do we risk fighting the enemy only to lose to nature's winter?" and in the end it becomes clear that nature will indeed be the deciding factor. But luck gives them a brief symbolic victory against nature, which leads nicely into the chance that they might be able to continue to exist on this planet after all. Ursula once again in fine form

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann

    I was really hoping to enjoy this book a lot more than I did; though it wasn't bad in the least bit, in fact some sections and some lines are very memorable, in that wow kind of way. She truly is a spectacular writer, even her books that I like the least, I still like. One of the reason's I thought I would enjoy this book a lot more than I did is because I really enjoyed reading Rocannon's world and I heard and read somewhere that that book was her first written or first published, not sure exac I was really hoping to enjoy this book a lot more than I did; though it wasn't bad in the least bit, in fact some sections and some lines are very memorable, in that wow kind of way. She truly is a spectacular writer, even her books that I like the least, I still like. One of the reason's I thought I would enjoy this book a lot more than I did is because I really enjoyed reading Rocannon's world and I heard and read somewhere that that book was her first written or first published, not sure exactly. So, I hoping she honed in her skills as a writer over the next 2 years and produced an even more spectacular book than the first one. I really enjoyed the beginning and especially liked that the humans were the aliens. I believe this is the first book I have read that the human beings were considered the aliens and were called the aliens in the book. The part where the young girl is describing the humans and when she saw one for the first time he wasn't nearly close to what she thought they would look like. That was my favourite part of the book. Truly genius.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tudor Vlad

    From a technical point this novel was well done, the writing was beautiful and memorable. The thing is that it didn’t work for me, and the reason for this, I think is, that it seemed like Ursula K. Le Guin wrote this book for herself, not for an audience. There was so much worldbuilding and so much depth to each character, which objectively is a good thing, but the problem here is that this novel was really short. She tried to do so many things and in the end it just fell flat for me. I’m still From a technical point this novel was well done, the writing was beautiful and memorable. The thing is that it didn’t work for me, and the reason for this, I think is, that it seemed like Ursula K. Le Guin wrote this book for herself, not for an audience. There was so much worldbuilding and so much depth to each character, which objectively is a good thing, but the problem here is that this novel was really short. She tried to do so many things and in the end it just fell flat for me. I’m still confused, and apart from the main plot/characters the rest was (and still is) a mess in my head.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    3.5 stars - This felt more like the Le Guin I love than Rocannon's World did. I am most drawn to Le Guin's works that are more intentionally feminist, so it is no surprise to anyone that what I mostly disliked in this very early novel is the way women are portrayed in the background... scuttling, shrinking, cringing, whining, submissive, foolish, panicking, "girls". Her later works are a breath of fresh air in contrast.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Exile was once the greatest punishment anyone could face: worse than incarceration, worse than execution, worse than mutilation or torture. It was, in fact, its own form of all these other punishments, separating one from the only society s/he had known and forcing her/him into if not permanent solitude at least a land of people of which s/he wasn't nor could never be a part. I suspect that Ursula K. LeGuin retains a belief in exile's potency (and I must say, I find her oeuvre spanning arguments Exile was once the greatest punishment anyone could face: worse than incarceration, worse than execution, worse than mutilation or torture. It was, in fact, its own form of all these other punishments, separating one from the only society s/he had known and forcing her/him into if not permanent solitude at least a land of people of which s/he wasn't nor could never be a part. I suspect that Ursula K. LeGuin retains a belief in exile's potency (and I must say, I find her oeuvre spanning arguments very compelling). She has conjured self-imposed exiles in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas and Earthsea, figurative exiles in The Dowry of the Angyar and The Lathe of Heaven, accidental exiles in Rocannon's World and The Left Hand of Darkness, and exile as ostracism in The Dispossessed. It can be no surprise then that Planet of Exile is her most explicit examination of exile nor that it covers so many of the forms of exile that interest her. (view spoiler)[What is surprising and quite wonderful to me, however, is that Planet of Exile is the one story where some of those in exile find their way to a peace with their situation and that it actually removes them from their exile. (hide spoiler)] I am starting to wonder if it is LeGuin's meditations on exile, which have slowly and subtly worked their way into my consciousness, that make me love her so much (and love her I do). There came a moment in Planet of Exile, when I realized where the Farborn had come from, learned who their ancestors were, made the connections to the Angyar and Gdemiar and the Fiia, that I actually felt their exile myself. LeGuin generated my own feelings of isolation and sadness to mirror those of Agat and his slowly dying people, while simultaneously thrilling me with the tiny little details that make her Hainish Cycle so rich. The closest I can come to a complaint about Planet of Exile -- and this holds for all her Hainish books -- is that this beautiful story ends so quickly. I could spend thousands of years getting to know the people of Werel, to see what crop springs from the love of Agat and Rolery, but it is not to be. Instead, I must content myself with the excellence of this fine novella, and smile inside with the happy knowledge that way back in 1966 LeGuin imagined a winter that lasted for generations, a full 30 years before G.R.R. told us, "Winter if Coming."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Spiros

    In a world where each season lasts for years and years, Winter is coming and the barbarian clans of the North unite into a single horde under a leader, marching south. Ring any bells?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    A perfectly enjoyable and well written early effort by the wonderful, late Ursula Le Guin. I have not yet read "Rocannon's World", her first novel, but having read four Hainish Cycle novels, I found it not so essential to read them consecutively. What I liked best about this one was the conditions due to the 60 year orbit period, resulting with 15 year seasons-meaning only the elderly get to repeat a seasons or two during one lifetime. It had me recall the Hal Clement novels I read a couple year A perfectly enjoyable and well written early effort by the wonderful, late Ursula Le Guin. I have not yet read "Rocannon's World", her first novel, but having read four Hainish Cycle novels, I found it not so essential to read them consecutively. What I liked best about this one was the conditions due to the 60 year orbit period, resulting with 15 year seasons-meaning only the elderly get to repeat a seasons or two during one lifetime. It had me recall the Hal Clement novels I read a couple years ago. The big difference here is that Le Guin is a far more elegant writer. This one is just short of those that came after fromthis series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Another beautiful creation from Le Guin. This time looking at difference, racism, and integration through the tale of a dwindling 'human' colony stuck on a planet populated with other human-like creatures. They are forced to band together against invaders and the coming winter and through this they, and we, see exile turn to home. Featuring Le Guin's ever elegant and sparse prose this tiny novella manages to evoke as much emotion and paint as vivid a picture as many novels six times as long. Mag Another beautiful creation from Le Guin. This time looking at difference, racism, and integration through the tale of a dwindling 'human' colony stuck on a planet populated with other human-like creatures. They are forced to band together against invaders and the coming winter and through this they, and we, see exile turn to home. Featuring Le Guin's ever elegant and sparse prose this tiny novella manages to evoke as much emotion and paint as vivid a picture as many novels six times as long. Magic.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Holy worldbuilding, Batman! I think this plot didn't pull me in as much as most of LeGuin's other stories, however this is barely a novella, but packs in a depth of worldbuilding you expect from a 500 page tome. To me it's another one of hers that's SF that really reads as fantasy. We start with Rolery, who is part of a somewhat tribal or simple village culture, as she is coming to the seaside where the "farborn" witchmen live. We of course realize these are presumably Ekumen/Humans, they're livi Holy worldbuilding, Batman! I think this plot didn't pull me in as much as most of LeGuin's other stories, however this is barely a novella, but packs in a depth of worldbuilding you expect from a 500 page tome. To me it's another one of hers that's SF that really reads as fantasy. We start with Rolery, who is part of a somewhat tribal or simple village culture, as she is coming to the seaside where the "farborn" witchmen live. We of course realize these are presumably Ekumen/Humans, they're living here as exiles for hundreds of years, and their population is slowly decreasing due to not being suited to the place and living by the heavy limitations of Ekumenical law that keep them from severely tampering with the local planet/people. She meets one of the farborn there, and he winds up coming to her village where he knows her people as "hilfs": highly intelligent life forms, there are rumors the wild people to the north known as Gaal are Southing for the Winter as they always do, but are decimating and pillaging any villages along the way. This leaves both farborn as hilfs at risk, winters are long, only the eldest of the hilf people has seen a winter in his lifetime, simple survival of the Winter is a huge undertaking, but if they lose all supplies they are lost. Despite mutual mistrust, they agree to band together for the sake of survival. The hilfs are not continuously fertile so they follow polygamous patriarchal set up, and the long "year" of season cycles, with matches being predicated on the season a person was born in. Rolery was born late in the year, so by the time she's old enough to marry, it's unlikely she will be able to mate and reproduce, leaving her best outcomes in life to be a low pick for someones 5th wife. So it's no surprise when she finds an unexpected bond with the farborn, Alterra, however even looking or being looked at brings shame due to their social rules. Suddenly their personal dealings lead to the whole truce falling apart, with hilf and farborn at one another's throats just as the first signs of the Gaal approach begin. Infighting ensues within both groups over what to do, eventually there is no option, it's join or die. Thousands and tens of thousands of Gaal march on, setting them under siege within the farborn city by the sea just as Winter comes on. The Gaal persist driving them ever in, but with the Winter extremes rising, something even worse arrives - snowghouls. They are all firmly locked in a struggle between one another and the elements.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This is, realistically, how a Prime Directive might play out if it were seriously adhered to, over centuries and not 42 minute stretches. It was published the same year that TOS premiered and presumably partakes of a similar zeitgeist. It's interesting as a period piece and as very early Le Guin. Her introduction teases out the kind of sexism that happens when you say you don't care if your characters are male or female and you just happen to reinforce a pile of sexual stereotypes, but I was surp This is, realistically, how a Prime Directive might play out if it were seriously adhered to, over centuries and not 42 minute stretches. It was published the same year that TOS premiered and presumably partakes of a similar zeitgeist. It's interesting as a period piece and as very early Le Guin. Her introduction teases out the kind of sexism that happens when you say you don't care if your characters are male or female and you just happen to reinforce a pile of sexual stereotypes, but I was surprised by just how much casual sexism pervades throughout -- when Jakob in his POV makes a disgusted reference to "male hysteria", for instance. Sharp contrast to the last book I read that was published in 1966 (Babel-17/Empire Star).

  19. 5 out of 5

    William

    The story is based around a fairly common SF trope of people from two different civilisations having to work together to survive against a common enemy. In this case, the descendants of interstellar colonists (long cut off from their home planet) have to co-operate with the local nomadic tribes to survive the twin threats of invasion and winter. The world has a very long orbit around its sun which means winter lasts for thousands of days, nobody quite says 'Winter is Coming' but they're certainl The story is based around a fairly common SF trope of people from two different civilisations having to work together to survive against a common enemy. In this case, the descendants of interstellar colonists (long cut off from their home planet) have to co-operate with the local nomadic tribes to survive the twin threats of invasion and winter. The world has a very long orbit around its sun which means winter lasts for thousands of days, nobody quite says 'Winter is Coming' but they're certainly thinking it. Overall, I liked the story but thought it wasn't as good as it could have been. Out of the three protagonists, I liked the old chief Wold and his rebellious daughter Rolery, but felt they maybe got sidelined a bit towards the end of the story in favour of Jakob, the leader of the colonists. I'm not sure I really understood some of Jakob's motivations or why the others all follow him despite him not seeming to be a good leader (he also seems confused about this). There's also an under-written romance which also didn't seem very believable. It's not a bad book, but not one of Le Guin's best.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mazzy

    Le Guin effortlessly put me into another of her strange worlds, making me feel the isolation and the dread of winter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Haralambi Markov

    “Planet of Exile” is the second novel from the Hainish cycle and like the first book “Rocannon’s World” it is similar in length, contents and the fine blend between science fiction and fantasy. The setting of “Planet of Exile” happens to be the planet Werel, third from the Gamma Draconis system, which is an extremely peculiar world. One year on Werel is equal to 60 human years, which is pretty much the average life length of the Tevarans, who are the planet’s original inhabitants. Like in “Rocann “Planet of Exile” is the second novel from the Hainish cycle and like the first book “Rocannon’s World” it is similar in length, contents and the fine blend between science fiction and fantasy. The setting of “Planet of Exile” happens to be the planet Werel, third from the Gamma Draconis system, which is an extremely peculiar world. One year on Werel is equal to 60 human years, which is pretty much the average life length of the Tevarans, who are the planet’s original inhabitants. Like in “Rocannon’s World” the race is primitive with no religion, technology or literacy, while the Earth human colony stranded on the planet have once excelled in all fields, but due to the law of the League of Worlds have been forced to remain on the same level as the inhabiting race. This of course leads to the human degradation in terms of science and technology. The story begins, when the Autumn season is almost reaching its end and preparations are made for the upcoming Winter season. News of an even more primitive tribe called the Gaals grouping in large armies in order to siege large Winter cities, built anew every year, stirs up the waters and forces the Tevarans, the clan of Wold to be more exact, and human fraction to interact. The relationship between the two races has been limited and tense as humans think of themselves as two evolved to be involved with Tevarans, while the Tevarans fear the humans for their telepathic abilities. Rolery a young girl from Wold’s clan wanders inside the human city and almost drowns, once when the ocean tide returns fast, but is saved in the last second by Jakob Agat, one of the humans in the City senate. This chance meeting develops into a very strange love relationship with a lot less romance too many inadequate moments and bad consequences for both involved. As the long dreaded Winter comes and the rumors of invasions are confirmed, Tevarans unite with the Earth colony. From then on the book handles the siege of the Earth colony city as it manages to fend off the Gaals. Personally I didn’t find “Planet of Exile” to be quite as entertaining as “Rocannon’s World” or “City of Illusions” due to the fact that in its core “Planet of Exile” is a military novel. The story starts with preparations for a war, which rages from then on in every aspect with sneak attacks, sieges, slaughters and all in between. Although there are deeper themes such as the evolution and interaction of two different species, which for their own survival have to merge together as much as they don’t want, run on the background. The Earth colony suffer from lack of potency to reproduce as an effect of the unusual sun’s radiation and later near the end it has been shown that they are vulnerable to infections, contradictory to the knowledge that no native to Werel disease or bacteria can harm the Earth colony. The Teverans take a step forward in their evolution with Rolery demonstrating a perceptive mind open to telepathic communication, a talent so far not exhibited by her race. This all leads to the idea that for the Earth colony to survive it has to merge with the native Teverans, which clearly happens as it is revealed in “City of Illusions”. All in all it wasn’t a bad book, but it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea. I would recommend it to anyone, who likes to read about military strategy and war.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth (fuelled by fiction)

    This novel is about a colony of people that have been stranded on a foreign planet for many years. They came to this planet to study its in habitants. However, they have become stranded and have been so for 10 years of this foreign planets cycle—equalling 600 regular years. This group is regarded by the natives as a group of witches they refer to as farborns. The natives themselves are a nomadic people, only settling down for the winter to withstand the cold and the savages know as the gaal. Thi This novel is about a colony of people that have been stranded on a foreign planet for many years. They came to this planet to study its in habitants. However, they have become stranded and have been so for 10 years of this foreign planets cycle—equalling 600 regular years. This group is regarded by the natives as a group of witches they refer to as farborns. The natives themselves are a nomadic people, only settling down for the winter to withstand the cold and the savages know as the gaal. This year, the gaal have become a large pillaging army rather than small, trickling groups of families migrating south. They now pose a great threat to the natives and the farborns. Although these two groups have many differences, they must now decide whether to come together and work toward a common goal: survival. So far, I have read four of Ursula Le Guin’s novel’s and I think this one was my favourite. I really liked this book. I thought it was really interesting how Le Guin explores so many different sides of humanity. What I like most about this book was that there was a lot of character development and relationship-building. I have found that in some of her other books, such as the City of Illusions, the main character is more on a solitary pilgrimage. However, in this novel, many interesting (and not necessarily romantic) relationships develop adding deeper meaning (for me, anyway) and making it a more compelling read. Now that I have read some of her other books from the Hainish cycle, I understand more details about this book. For example, that this planet is Werel, that the Farborns are Terrans, and that these Terrans were a part of the League of All Worlds. However, having not known this while I was reading it, I found it interesting no being sure which group were really the humans! Le Guin seems to make a mystery of that a times! Over all, I really liked it! Thumbs up.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shan

    Beautiful writing. It's a little bit of Romeo and Juliet in space - Jakob is descended from people left behind when their spaceship had to go fight a war, and Rolery is from the nearby primitive society. The primitive people call the others farborn, and call themselves human. Both groups are threatened by the northern nomads who will be traveling south in advance of the coming 15-year-long winter. The two groups' alliance breaks up because of the romance. It's a short novel but there's a lot to t Beautiful writing. It's a little bit of Romeo and Juliet in space - Jakob is descended from people left behind when their spaceship had to go fight a war, and Rolery is from the nearby primitive society. The primitive people call the others farborn, and call themselves human. Both groups are threatened by the northern nomads who will be traveling south in advance of the coming 15-year-long winter. The two groups' alliance breaks up because of the romance. It's a short novel but there's a lot to think about here. There's the tribalism, the inability of different groups of people to get along, and even within groups, the competitiveness and vying for dominance. There's the idea of how people would change to fit the planet they live on, and how something similar to Star Trek's Prime Directive - the spacefaring group follows a rule that says they can't use technology that's more advanced than the native people use, unless they get permission from their council, which they can't contact because the communication equipment left with the spaceship 600 years ago - would affect the lives of the advanced people who follow it. The planet's year is 60 Earth years long, meaning each season lasts 15 years, which affects when the native people have children, and maybe is the reason they live in the moment, with no history and no future plans beyond the next winter. The Library of America volume I read this in includes an essay Le Guin wrote years later, looking back at this 1964 novel with a feminist perspective.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    In this very slim novel science fiction novel, a planet's natives ("hilfs") and the "farborn" (human colonists who were left behind a really long time ago, and probably aren't going to be retrieved) are readying for a winter that's going to last the equivalent of fifteen Earth years. Every "Year" a group of barbarians migrate south, raiding hilf settlements on their way. Unfortunately this year they might have figured out how to organize and are probably not going to be easy to repel. The only c In this very slim novel science fiction novel, a planet's natives ("hilfs") and the "farborn" (human colonists who were left behind a really long time ago, and probably aren't going to be retrieved) are readying for a winter that's going to last the equivalent of fifteen Earth years. Every "Year" a group of barbarians migrate south, raiding hilf settlements on their way. Unfortunately this year they might have figured out how to organize and are probably not going to be easy to repel. The only chance the two groups have of surviving is to join forces, but they don't exactly trust each other. A young lady from the hilf tribe goes all Pocahontas and sleeps with the farborn leader which threatens the whole team-up-and-stay-alive plan. Uh-oh! So, they fight. The end. Seriously. I usually like LeGuin quite a bit and really admire the messages she tries to send about gender and conqueror-native relations, but I thought the women in this book, particularly the "savage natives" were very submissive, and also that the only lesson to be gleaned was that two groups of outnumbered folks are better than one, even if we are still pretty much outnumbered even together. However! It was a quick read, and I didn't hate it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    One of my faves in Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish series, along with The Dispossesed, with which this story shares many similar themes, and The Left Hand of Darkness. Short, beautifully told tale of war, love and survival among abandoned off-world colonists, guided by their "prime directive" of non-interference, and their primitive, native neighbors in the face of an onslaught of barbaric enemies and the coming of a brutal, years long winter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Defrog

    This is Ursula K. Le Guin's second standalone novel of the Hainish Cycle (and also her second novel overall). This time, the setting is Weral, a double planet that takes 60 earth years to complete one orbit, which means its winter season lasts around 15 earth years. The Hainish colony of Landin has been on Werel for 600 earth years, and has effectively been marooned there, with no contact from the League of Worlds. Their numbers are dwindling, and they have an uneasy relationship with Tevar, a n This is Ursula K. Le Guin's second standalone novel of the Hainish Cycle (and also her second novel overall). This time, the setting is Weral, a double planet that takes 60 earth years to complete one orbit, which means its winter season lasts around 15 earth years. The Hainish colony of Landin has been on Werel for 600 earth years, and has effectively been marooned there, with no contact from the League of Worlds. Their numbers are dwindling, and they have an uneasy relationship with Tevar, a nomadic agrarian tribe that lives nearby and regards the “farborns” as witches because they have telepathic abilities. That’s the backdrop for a tale in which the farborns and the Tevarians are forced to unite when the barbaric Gaal – who are migrating south as they typically do when winter starts to set in – make it apparent that this time they intend to raid both Tevar and Landin on the way. But the alliance unravels quickly when the de facto leader of the Landin, Jakob Agat, falls for Rolery, the daughter of Tevarian chief Wold. I generally enjoy Le Guin’s work, but this one didn’t really come together for me. The world-building is interesting, but the romance between Agat and Rolery wasn’t convincing, and the climax was rather jumbled and confusing. I get the basic themes she was trying to get across here – cross-culture clashes, the challenges of the Hainish version of the Prime Directive and the consequences of foreigners being unable or unwilling to adapt to local culture, etc. But the narrative vehicle to deliver those ideas doesn’t quite work.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    Planet of Exile was first published the same year as Rocannon's World, and presumably written not long afterward, but the difference is night and day. Where Le Guin's first science-fiction novel was an entirely mediocre planetary romance, this one instead is a thoughtful (yet exciting!) story of the clash of cultures. It's really an astounding change because most of the same elements are in place. We have humanity on a distant planet interacting with a race of intelligent natives, who themselves Planet of Exile was first published the same year as Rocannon's World, and presumably written not long afterward, but the difference is night and day. Where Le Guin's first science-fiction novel was an entirely mediocre planetary romance, this one instead is a thoughtful (yet exciting!) story of the clash of cultures. It's really an astounding change because most of the same elements are in place. We have humanity on a distant planet interacting with a race of intelligent natives, who themselves are engaged in a battle for survival. But beyond that ... the increased maturity and depth of the writing makes it feel like these two books were written a decade apart, not a year or two (at best). Planet of Exile focuses on issues of segregation and integration. You can see that it was written in the middle of the civil rights movement. But it's in no way blatant or preachy about that that inspiration; it's fully its own story about how cultures can be apart or together — and it doesn't set up straw men, but instead offers real, biological reasons for staying apart. Beyond that it's a melancholy story of dying peoples and their history and a reflective story about the definition of home. But, it's also an exciting story that keeps you on your toes and finally it's a very well-written one. Le Guin's sophomore science fiction is the one that pointed the direction toward a very bright (and as it would turn out very near) future as one of the genre's best.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Derek Nason

    Like the other books in the Hainish Cycle, Planet of Exile focuses microscopically on the life that lives in this future universe. The macro-scale side of the story is told in bits and pieces, almost incidentally, with a few words from character’s lips, here and there. The kindness the author has for her characters is inspiring. Planet of Exile is about the distance between different people being bridged by necessity, survival and love. Each side is described elegantly and thoughtfully, allowing Like the other books in the Hainish Cycle, Planet of Exile focuses microscopically on the life that lives in this future universe. The macro-scale side of the story is told in bits and pieces, almost incidentally, with a few words from character’s lips, here and there. The kindness the author has for her characters is inspiring. Planet of Exile is about the distance between different people being bridged by necessity, survival and love. Each side is described elegantly and thoughtfully, allowing the “abyss” between them to come to life, magically. I don’t understand why her shorter books aren’t as highly rated as The Dispossessed or The Left Hand of Darkness. They are just as profound. The only difference is they are shorter and sometimes more conventional within the genre. And, I’ll say it—they’re fun. Really, really fun. Not that the Dispossessed isn’t fun, but you’d never find a snarling snowgoul in it. The Left Hand of Darkness doesn’t have a flying cat fighting a helicopter like Roccanon’s World does. And fair enough. But, what? Is a flying cat a bad thing? I think flying cats are dope. I’m 100% FOR flying cats and snowgouls. We all should be.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Winter is coming... On a planet where Earthlings live a segregated existence beside other humanoids, the four seasons last centuries rather than months. The novel opens while both the Earthling and native peoples prepare for the long Winter (a persistent theme in Le Guin's early work and perhaps one that George R.R. Martin followed). The Earthlings came to this planet centuries before, but have lost contact with the League of All Worlds (called the Ekumen or Ekumenical Council in other books of Winter is coming... On a planet where Earthlings live a segregated existence beside other humanoids, the four seasons last centuries rather than months. The novel opens while both the Earthling and native peoples prepare for the long Winter (a persistent theme in Le Guin's early work and perhaps one that George R.R. Martin followed). The Earthlings came to this planet centuries before, but have lost contact with the League of All Worlds (called the Ekumen or Ekumenical Council in other books of the Hainish cycle). The story is short, simple, and elegant. Having read most of Le Guin's early work, I can say that thhis novella is perhaps the most reflective of what her later work would become. Rather than give away the plot, I'll just say that this novel contemplates the boundaries of humanity and the instict to restrict these boundaries; it does this in a fictional world that is both primitive and bears traces of a far future. The narrative is well-paced and offers tantalizing elements of universe building alongside a few unexpected plot developments. Le Guin is the master storyteller of a generation.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    "The rapidly dwindling Terran colony on distant Eltanin had been stranded for six hundred years, their only neighbors the primitive nomads who feared them and settled beside them during the cruel fifteen-year-long winters. "But it was the gathering winter that promised them the deadliest threat they had ever faced. For hordes of northern barbarians were about to descend, and the eerie, murderous snowghouls were beginning to appear. "If Terran and native couldn't overcome the six centuries of fear "The rapidly dwindling Terran colony on distant Eltanin had been stranded for six hundred years, their only neighbors the primitive nomads who feared them and settled beside them during the cruel fifteen-year-long winters. "But it was the gathering winter that promised them the deadliest threat they had ever faced. For hordes of northern barbarians were about to descend, and the eerie, murderous snowghouls were beginning to appear. "If Terran and native couldn't overcome the six centuries of fear and mistrust and join forces against the invaders, neither would survive the winter." ~~back cover I love Ursula LeGuin! She's go such a strong anthropological background, and her writing is impeccable, her plotting ingenious, and her characterization well-developed. Even in this slim book, she captures and holds your interest enthrall. "In the last days of the last moonphase of Autumn a wind blew from the northern ranges through the dying forests of Arkatevar, a cold wind that smelled of smoke and snow." See what I mean?

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