Planet of Exile by Ursula Le Guin

Planet of Exile by Ursula Le Guin

Paperback, 126 pages
Published May 1971 by Ace Books (first published 1966)

This is a story of a colony of people stranded on a foreign planet for many years. They came to this planet to study its habitants. However, they have been stranded for 10 years of this foreign planet’s cycle—equalling 600 regular years.

The natives see these people as a group of witches who they refer to as Farborns. The natives themselves are a nomadic people. They settle down for only in the winter to withstand the cold and the savages they call 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 thought it was really interesting how Le Guin explores so many sides of humanity.

What I like most about this book is the amount 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 not being sure which group were really the humans! Le Guin seems to make a mystery of that at times!

Over all, I really, really liked it! Thumbs up.