I finished reading Rocannon’s World by Ursula LeGuin. It is only 136 pages so it’s quite an easy read, but like all of her books that I have read, it is so rich. Reading her books is like eating a rich dessert. You have to go slowly because it is too full to gobble up, but by the time you reach the end, you are extremely satisfied. She has a beautiful ability to create a plausible world, complete with cultures, races, languages, and geography without overloading the reader with too much data. At the same time she is building this world, she is telling a story of a few people, or in this case, one person.
Rocannon, the title character, is a man from a league of worlds sent to study the cultures of a recently discovered unnamed planet. The world is inhabited by multiple races of people. They know that he is from another world, in fact, they call him Starlord, however they are still in the Bronze Age technology. While Rocannon is on this world, a race from another planet rebels against the League and takes refuge on the planet, killing his fellow researchers and destroying the lives of many people on the planet. He decides he needs to warn the League, and sets off to find the rebel group.
The majority of this story is Rocannon traveling with the group. It has a very “fellowship of the ring” feel to it, as he goes through many dangers, meets new people, and has an end goal in mind. However, it doesn’t deter from the richness of his character. LeGuin is very subtle in her character building. You don’t realize that she is creating such a full person until you finish the book and are sad to say good bye to this new person you have met. In that sense, this book is much like her others I have read. However, I could often tell it was her first novel. There were some abrupt transitions, and the ending was very sudden and short. That being said, I kind of like that I can see her improvement. It is encouraging to see improvement in writers, especially since I would love to be as good as her someday. Even as a first novel, this is spectacular, and if you are a sci-fi or fantasy reader, you definitely need to read this one. She is very good at blending science with more traditional fantasy.
That’s about it. I’ve started reading The Idiot by Dostoyevsky, however, don’t expect a review on that one anytime soon. Those Russian authors like to be wordy 😉