- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Ships in 1 to 3 days
More copies of this ISBN
Changing Planes: Storiesby Ursula K Le Guin
Winner of the PEN/Malamud for Short Stories
Synopses & Reviews
In this collection, Ursula K. Le Guin, winner of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award, presents a world where there is a better way of changing planes.
Missing a flight, waiting in an airport, listening to garbled announcements-who doesn't hate that misery?
But Sita Dulip from Cincinnati finds a method of bypassing the crowds at the desks, the long lines at the toilets, the nasty lunch, the whimpering children and punitive parents, the bookless bookstores, the blue plastic chairs bolted to the floor.
A mere kind of twist and a slipping bend, easier to do than to describe, takes her not to Denver but Strupsirts, a picturesque region of waterspouts and volcanoes, or Djeyo, where she can stay for two nights in a small hotel with a balcony overlooking the amber Sea of Somue. This new discovery--changing planes-enables Sita to visit bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own and sometimes open doors into the alien.
Illustrated by Eric Beddows, Le Guin's account of her travels is by turns funny, disturbing, and thought-provoking.
"Sure to delight fans of the unusual travelogue, this is just plain good airport reading." Publishers Weekly
"A humorous, imaginative, and thoughtful collection; Escher-like illustrations by Eric Beddows contribute to its charm." Library Journal
"Inventive and highly entertaining tales. Le Guin?s touch is as magical as ever." Kirkus Reviews
"Calvino comes to mind, and Swift....[I]n the best of [these stories] the strange, bizarre, and eccentric become questions." Village Voice
The misery of waiting for a connecting flight at an airport leads to the accidental discovery of alighting on other planesQnot airplanes but planes of existenceQin this humorous and poignant series of stories by National Book Award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin.
The misery of waiting for a connecting flight at an airport (sitting for hours "on a blue plastic chair with metal tubes for legs bolted to the floor") leads to the discovery of a way to visit other planes. Note: we are changing not airplanes here but planes of existence. Le Guin's humorous premise frames a series of travel accounts by the tourist-narrator who has mastered Sitka Dulip's Method. The fanciful descriptions of bizarre societies and cultures sometimes mirror--and satirize-our own, sometimes open puzzling doors into the alien.
In these delightful, wry short stories, Le Guin combines Gulliver's Travels, Borge's fictions, and Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince to treat war, tyranny, the middle class, folly, Disney, mortality and immortality, dreams, art, technology, and the meaning--and the mystery--of being human.
"All Le Guin's stories are...metaphors for the one human story; all her fantastic planets are this one. Le Guin is a quintessentially American writer, of the sort for whom the quest for the Peaceable Kingdom is ongoing." --Margaret Atwood
"Then came a child trotting to school with his little backpack. He trotted on all fours, neatly, his hands in leather mitts or boots that protected them from the pavement; he was pale, with small eyes, and a snout, but he was adorable."
--from Changing Planes
The misery of waiting for a connecting flight at an airport leads to the accidental discovery of alighting on other planes--not airplanes but planes of existence. Ursula Le Guin's deadpan premise frames a series of travel accounts by the tourist-narrator who describes bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own, and sometimes open puzzling doors into the alien.
Winner of the PEN/Malamud for Short Stories
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin was born in 1929, in Berkeley, California. Winner of the National Book Award and the 2002 PEN/Malamud Award for Short Stories, she is a novelist, poet, and essayist, and she has written more than a hundred short stories. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Table of Contents
Contents of Changing Planes
with a little description
The author acknowledges the readers' discomfort with air travel after 9-11.
Sita Dulip's Method
How Sita Dulip, sitting between flights in an awful airport, learned to travel to other planes of existence by focusing her mind in a certain way. The result: a more interesting kind of tourism.
The Porridge on Islac
On Islac, people are physically very different from one another: the aftermath of an unfortunate boom and crash in genetic engineering. Cautionary, humorous, with a touch of poetry (bearwigs are recombinant teddy bears that developed a taste for book glue and paper).
The Wisdom of the Asonu
The Asonu become silent as they mature: their total abstinence from language is unsettling.
Questioning the Hennebet
The Hennebet look just like us, but their minds (sort of Taoist) are totally alien. The traveler tries to but cannot communicate with them; a glimpse of their worldview makes her less sure about her own.
The Angry Veksi
A society torn by violence, which, however, has its human rules of conduct. (It's about human violence, of course.)
Social Dreaming of the Frin
A society in which dreaming is communal, not personal. Fascinating examination of the idea that some loss of self is necessary for selfhood.
The Royals of Hegn
Satire of the Brits and their absurd fascination with royalty. In Hegn, everyone is royal and comeletely dotty about the very few Commoners (who are really low-class).
Tales of Blood from Mahigul
Histories that are political allegories of man's inhumanity to man. All about war, tyranny, self-destruction. (Male-dominated, of course.)
An experiment to make children smarter by having them require less sleep, then no sleep at all, backfires: without sleep, people become mindless animals. (Another approach to the loss-of-self idea.)
The Nna Mmoy Language
A language so alien and complex, it contains an entire culture (its speakers live primitively). The traveler's vain attempts to use a translating machine.
This account of two cultures and of a migration to build a mysterious building, generation after generation, touches on the question, What is art? That is, the transcendental, nonutilitarian strivings of human beings. (Influence of Borges here).
The Gyran Hatred of Wings
The blessing and the curse (more curse than blessing) of growing wings and flying. The Gyr put up with-try to ignore-their affliction, going about their business as lawyers, accountants, etc. Yet the inspiring image of flight remains.
The Island of the Immortals
A horror story, worse than "Wake Island," and probably from Gulliver's Travels: some people, bitten by a fly, cannot die. Buried alive, after centuries, they turn to diamonds, still alive.
Confusion in Uñi
A virtual reality satire taken from the pages of Stanislaw Lem: the traveler becomes lost in a VR machine and passes from one ridiculous dream to another.
Big business and the travel industry produce a monstrous Disneylike theme park, exploiting the natives. Humorous (a village full of Santa Clauses that speak with an accent), but also acerbic, being close to home.
The Seasons of the Ansarac
A society that alternates between city life and country life, each having its joys and miseries. Commentary on the mortality of humanity: its sorrow alleviated by a sexual dance.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:
Other books you might like