Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 15 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|The short story "Solitude" from "The Birthday of the World" describes life on a planet that was once very technologically advanced, but on which the population has plummeted and society has since reverted to the Stone Age. What planet is this?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Eleven-Soro. The precise reason for the collapse of civilization on Eleven-Soro is never explicitly discussed, but it is assumed that the overpopulation caused the once-advanced world to regress so dramatically.
Davenant is another name for Hain. Kheakh is mentioned only briefly in "Four Ways to Forgiveness" as a planet that had "destroyed itself". Faraday is the violent, imperialistic planet which is the source of much conflict in "Rocannon's World"; it is never mentioned in later works.
|In "The Dispossessed", the character Shevek takes the unprecedented step of leaving his homeworld of Anarres to visit the planet of origin, Urras. He does this because he has slowly come to the realization that his anarchist culture, though it lacks laws and government, is stagnating due to fear of innovation. Because his ideas differ from the accepted norm, he is being prevented from making new inroads in his field. What is Shevek's profession?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Physicist. There is very little trade in goods and virtually no trade in ideas between Anarres and Urras, and no one from Anarres has apparently visited Urras since the planet was colonized by revolutionaries several hundred years ago. Shevek goes because he wishes to continue his work (which we are led to believe contributed to the development of the ansible) and he cannot do so on Anarres.
|The novella "City of Illusions" concerns a planet subjected by a frightening alien race with unusual powers. What are these aliens called?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
The Shing. The Shing have the power to "mindlie", that is, to lie while speaking telepathically, an ability other peoples do not have and which terrifies the main character Ramarran when he discovers it. While they are never mentioned in any other work, several books and stories make a reference to "the Age of the Enemy" when the Ekumen was temporarily broken. As there is apparently no Ekumen at the time of "City of Illusions", it is often thought that the Shing are the Enemy. It is also thought that they are not of Hainish descent, since they cannot interbreed with the planetary population.
"Hilf" is shorthand for "Highly intelligent life-form"; a rarely-used term for "aliens". Creechie is the derogatory name that the Terrans give the native Athsheans in "The Word for World is Forest".
|In the short story "The Matter of Seggri", published in the collection "The Birthday of the World", the planet Seggri has a very unusual gender issue, which has shaped the society. What is this issue? ||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
There are approximately 16 women for every 1 man. It is assumed that the extreme gender imbalance on Seggri was a result of genetic manipulation for unknown reasons by the original Hainish colonizers. The imbalance results in a society where women are in charge of virtually everything, with the men, who live apart in "castles" seen as useful only for breeding and the playing of various sports. They are seen as lacking the intelligence of women.
|In "The Telling", the story focuses on the Ekumenical Observer Sutty, who, due to her past, has great difficulty accepting the validity of the quasi-religious way of life. What planet does Sutty come from?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Terra. Terra is our own Earth with a different history. In this history a fundamentalist religious movement has taken control of most of the planet. The result is a chaos of repression, fanaticism and terrorist violence. Sutty, who comes from an unnamed country which is probably India, moves to Canada to escape the violence. She experiences the loss of most of her family, as well as her lover, to the regime and the violence surrounding it. Later, when the fanatics begin to lose power and Terra joins the Ekumen, she becomes an Observer of the Ekumen, in which capacity she is assigned to the planet Aka, a planet suffering under its own sort of oppression.
|It is said at various times in many works that the peoples of all inhabited planets descend from the people of one original colonizing planet. Which planet is this?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Hain. The Hainish are an extraordinary people: they developed extremely advanced technology, including space travel, several millenia ago and used it to colonize a wide array of other known worlds. After losing contact with their colony planets, they reestablished contact in an effort to create the Ekumen.
Chiffewar is a planet mentioned only briefly, its chief characteristics being that its people are universally bald, and that war does not exist.
Rokanan is the planet of LeGuin's first Ekumen novel, "Rocannon's World".
Gethen, also known as Winter, is the setting for "The Left Hand of Darkness" and two short stories.
|LeGuin's universe does not have light-speed travel (a few stories involve attempts to develop light-speed ships) but it does have an instrument that allows information to travel instantaneously. What is this instrument called?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
The ansible. The ansible first appears in "The Word for World is Forest". It has since become something of a common science fiction device, also appearing in several other authors' works, including Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game". Card appears to give a nod to LeGuin when he has the character of Colonel Graff say the device got its common name when "somebody dredged the name ansible out of an old book somewhere".
NAFAL ("Nearly As Fast As Light") refers to the manner in which interplanetary ships travel. Churten is mentioned a few times as an experimental, instantaneous method of travel, the physical equivalent of ansible communication.
|LeGuin's works are connected by a sort of United Nations of inhabited planets, which is generally referred to as the Ekumen. However, in many earlier works, the Ekumen is called by another name. What is it?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
The League of All Worlds. LeGuin says in the forward to her 2002 short story collection, "The Birthday of the World", that the word Ekumen comes from the Greek word oikumene, which means "household". It is also possible that the League of All Worlds is a precursor to the Ekumen, rather than another name for it. This is never clear.
|The planet O appears in only three short stories, and is characterized by what unusual social practice?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
A marriage system in which four people are married to each other. This marriage system, called a sedoretu, is a prominent feature of ki'O (as people from O are known) society, as they are quite difficult to arrange successfully. The stories "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea", "Unchosen Love" and "Mountain Ways" all discuss the challenges posed by these four-person marriages.
The "almost total lack of social structure" would fairly accurately describe the planet Eleven-Soro, where society collapsed due to extreme overpopulation. The "communal living" is a feature of life on Anarres, and the economy based on slavery is a description of the twin planets Werel and Yeowe.
|The 1974 novel "The Dispossessed" concerns a colony of people who follow an anarchic, revolutionary philosophy that puts them at odds with their planet of origin. What is this philosophy called?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Odonianism. Odonianism is named after its founder, Laia Odo, who died several hundred years before the story begins (Odo does, however, appear in a short story "The Day Before the Revolution"). Pravic is the language spoken on Anarres. There are no such things as Cetianism and Anarres-anarchy, though the twin planets on which the story takes places, Anarres and Urras, are collectively known as Tau Ceti, making the inhabitants of both planet Cetians.
"The Dispossessed" also won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards in 1974 and 1975.
|The novel "The Left Hand of Darkness", set on the planet Gethen, won both the Nebula (in 1969) and the Hugo (in 1970). It was not, however, the first time LeGuin had "visited" Gethen. Which earlier short story was also set there?||Ursula K. LeGuin's Ekumen
Winter's King. "Winter's King" appears in the short story collection "The Wind's Twelve Quarters". "Winter" is another name for the planet Gethen, due to its extreme and very long winters. The other three titles are also stories from the collection, but which are not part of the Hainish Cycle.
The most famous characteristic of the Gethenians, the fact that they are fully androgynous 26 days out of every month, is not evident in "Winter's King", though it becomes important in "The Left Hand of Darkness". Gethen is also the setting for the short story "Coming of Age in Karhide", which appears in the collection "The Birthday of the World".