The Birthday of the World and Other Stories

Ursula K. Le Guin
The Birthday of the World and Other Stories Cover

A Masterful Collection...


With this collection, Le Guin once again proves her mastery of the short form.

Six out of eight stories are set in her Hainish universe and elaborate on different aspects of the Ekumen. Subjects revolve mostly around sexuality (from an anthropological angle) but also other themes. 'Old Music and the Slave Women' is a harsh look at revolution from the ground and how it disrupts and affects people that are not directly involved in the fighting - until the battle descends on them. At turns brutal and beautiful, it is one of the more memorable stories in this collection.

The story that really rose above the others for me was 'Paradises Lost'. A classic generation-ship story that explores the impact on people that are the 'tweeners... Those generations that are born and die during the voyage - never to recall their origin and never to see their destination. In typical Le Guin fashion, along with an amazing amount of story development, we also get a couple of twists that deeply affect the outcome and the main characters. A great story with a well-realized ending.