Changing Planes can be considered Le Guin's version of Gulliver's Travels. Like Swift's utopian satire, a similar satiric vein can be found in all the stories here, especially in "Porridge of Islac" and "Great Joy." Nevertheless, such satiric vein also causes some weak points. It reinforces binary oppositions--the ones between man and woman, alien and native culture, capitalist and pre-modern life mode--instead of deconstructing them. Therefore, men in the stories tend to be bad and like to make war. Women generally are peace-loving, and become the target of satire only when they are co-opted by the capitalist system (as in "Great Joy.") Perhaps it has to do with the Janus-faced feature of satire to criticize the wrong and indirectly show the right. It's just sometimes the binary oppositions are a bit too simplistic to me. Perhaps the short story form limits Le Guin from developing ideas more provocative and challenging as she does in her other novels.
Aside from the above point, I enjoy reading these stories. While the quality of the stories may differ--some very good and some so-so--in her best stories of this collection, they convey a special kind of grace in describing the culture of the exotic plane. My favorite ones are "The Silence of the Asonu," "Seasons of the Ansarac," "Great Joy" and "The Fliers of Gy."...Continua
The journey theme is depicted in a series of adventures, of places visited by the main character. Each short story - each “plane” - is characterized by a basic idea, either original or not, but always developed in a systematic and brilliant way; the reading is smooth. A book that skips easily from comic to tragic, but doesn’t lose its shine. The only thing I didn’t like was the breaking of the narrative pact in the first chapter: it puzzled me very much.
(I’m sorry for my horrible English ;P)
Il tema del viaggio declinato in una serie di avventure, di posti che la protagonista visita. Ciascuno dei racconti - dei pianeti - presenta una singola idea fondante, più o meno originale ma sempre sviluppata in modo organico e brillante; la lettura è veloce, l’inglese è molto semplice. Un libro che passa con disinvoltura da toni comici a toni tragici, senza per questo perdere smalto. Unica nota negativa: la rottura del patto narrativo nel primo capitolo mi ha disorientata non poco....Continua
I think this would be of more interest to someone particularly interested in anthropology. And fantasy. Basically, this is a book of brief studies of the people of various worlds in a universe full of other worlds.
The only story I was particularly interested by was "The Nna Mmoy Language," which described a a bizarre, but fascinating language that I think anyone interested in linguistics would be interested by....Continua