Changing Planes

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“A fantastical travel guide, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels,” from a narrator with “the eye of an anthropologist and the humor of a satirist.” —USA Today
 
Hailed by Neil Gaiman as “a master of the craft” and Margaret Atwood as “a quintessentially American writer,” Ursula K. Le Guin is at her entertaining, thought-provoking best in this collection of ingeniously linked stories.
 
Missing a flight, waiting in an airport, listening to garbled announcements—who doesn’t hate that misery? But Sita Dulip of Cincinnati finds a way to bypass the long lines, the crowded restrooms, the nasty food, the whimpering children and domineering parents, the bookless bookstores, the plastic chairs bolted to the floor. . . .
 
With a kind of twist and a slipping bend, easier to do than to describe, Sita travels not to Denver but to Strupsirts, a picturesque region of waterspouts and volcanoes. Or to Djeyo, where she can stay for two nights with a balcony overlooking the amber Sea of Somue. This new method of “changing planes” enables Sita to visit bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own . . . and sometimes open doors into the thrillingly alien.
 
A New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times bestseller, featuring illustrations by Eric Beddows, Changing Planes is your boarding pass to fifteen worlds that are vintage Le Guin, from a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Mar 4, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780544341685
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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For more than four decades, Ursula K. Le Guin has enthralled readers with her imagination, clarity, and moral vision. The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, and five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, this renowned writer has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. Now, in The Birthday of the World, this gifted artist returns to these worlds in eight brilliant short works, including a never-before-published novella, each of which probes the essence of humanity.

Here are stories that explore complex social interactions and troublesome issues of gender and sex; that define and defy notions of personal relationships and of society itself; that examine loyalty, survival, and introversion; that bring to light the vicissitudes of slavery and the meaning of transformation, religion, and history.

The first six tales in this spectacular volume are set in the author's signature world of the Ekumen, "my pseudo-coherent universe with holes in the elbows," as Le Guin describes it -- a world made familiar in her award-winning novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The seventh, title story was hailed by Publishers Weekly as "remarkable . . . a standout." The final offering in the collection, Paradises Lost, is a mesmerizing novella of space exploration and the pursuit of happiness.

In her foreword, Ursula K. Le Guin writes, "to create difference-to establish strangeness-then to let the fiery arc of human emotion leap and close the gap: this acrobatics of the imagination fascinates and satisfies me as no other." In The Birthday of the World, this gifted literary acrobat exhibits a dazzling array of skills that will fascinate and satisfy us all.

The classic science fiction horror novel of possessed children that inspired the terrifying Village of the Damned films.
 
In John Wyndam’s classically elegant, calm style, this novel explores the arrival of a collective intelligence on earth that threatens to eliminate mankind. The quiet, eerie changes that befall Midwich manifest in strange ways: On the surface, everything seems normal, but scratch a little deeper and there is a clear sense of dread. After the night of September 26, every woman of childbearing age is pregnant, all to give birth at the same time, to children who are all alike—their eyes mesmerizing, void of emotion. These children are innately possessed with unimaginable mental powers and a formidable intelligence. It is these children who develop into an unstoppable force, capable of anything and far out-reaching other humans in cunning. Whatever dwells in Midwich is sowing the seeds for a master race of ruthless and inhumane creatures who are bent on nothing less than absolute and total domination.
 
The London Evening Standard called The Midwich Cuckoos “humane and urbane with a lightly sophisticated wit putting the ideas into shape.” Wyndham skillfully heightens the terror by making his narrative so rational and matter-of-fact. In such a nuclear and technological age, this story is rich in irony in that it is set in the picturesque, bucolic English Village and the “enemy,” or, the threat is seeming cherubim.
 
“Exciting, unsettling and technically brilliant.” —The Spectator
 
This 1963 masterpiece is widely considered one of the best novels of the greatest Russian writers of science fiction. Yet until now the only English version (unavailable for over thirty years) was based on a German translation, and was full of errors, infelicities, and misunderstandings. Now, in a new translation by Olena Bormashenko, whose translation of the authors’ Roadside Picnic has received widespread acclaim, here is the definitive edition of this brilliant work. It tells the story of Don Rumata, who is sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler and a brawler, Don Rumata is never defeated, but can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play? Hard to Be a God has inspired a role-playing video game and two movies, including Aleksei German’s long-awaited swan song. This long overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky were famous and popular Russian writers of science fiction, with more than 25 novels and novellas to their names. Hari Kunzru is the author of highly praised novels including Gods Without Men and The Impressionist. Olena Bormashenko is the acclaimed translator of the Strugatskys’ Roadside Picnic.
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