SciFi & Fantasy Saturday - The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Don't worry, not every Saturday wil be SciFi ;)

But today, I plan to share one of my most favourite recent reads:

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Now, Ursula K Le Guin is a brilliant SciFi writer, it's just too bad she doesn't have any real faith in humanity. On the other hand, if you lok at the world today, you can't really blame her.
Of course, you also have to bear in mind that this was first published in the early 1970s.

Back then, the Cold War still had a big influence (that one only ended in 1989 (Fall of the Berlin Wall. Others may argue it lasted until 1991 when the former USSR was disolved ),
Also in the '70s, the Vietnam War was still going on and Skyjack Sunday had just happened.

Actually, summing up those events, it's not that dissimilar to today's global political status... Damn. Maybe that's why this particular book struck a chord with me...

You can read my initial thoughts after reading the book here on GoodReads, and I still stand by that opinion, really.

It really should be an obligatory read for high school kids, and I recommend it really to everyone.

The story, in short, is this: Far in the future, people from Earth colonize other planets, and strip them for resources, in this case we witness the taking over of a planet the Terrans call 'New Tahiti', and the natives call Athshe.
 Without means to communicate directly with Terra (the round trip takes about
 years, with the tchnology they posess), the colonists are pretty much left to their own devices, and being an almost completely male, and mostly comprised of military and frontier men, a certain social, testosterone-driven culture emerges. And 'co-exist' quickly turns into 'enslave'.

Until one of the natives decides to rise...
A quote that particularly touched me was this one:

"But that talk and hearsay, no matter how frightening and outrageous, could enrage a settled community of these people to the point where they acted against their customs and reason, broke entirely out of their whole style of living, this he couldn't believe."

(it was on page 93 of the edition I read, about 58% into the novel)
The 'he' who couldn't believe is Lyubov, a scientist, who doesn't really fit into the testosterone world, and who's pretty much the only one who tries to understand the indigenous people.
I, on the other hand, completely understand that they would 'act against their customs and reason'. Because enough is enough. (And if you read the book, you'll know how brutal they were treated).

One of the other main characters was Davidson, and to me, he was rather scary. He behavd appalingly, but the really scary thing was when Le Guin gav you an insight into his thought procss. He actually believed he was doing the right thing, carrying out a genocide. The really troublesome thing about him was that he had all the makings of a classic hero, only his moral compass was completely off.

The last big player in the story is Selver, one of the indigenous people. I know he's supposed to be alien, and conform to a different set of traditions and values than we humans, but he felt a bit flat and generic, really, like a hero out of ancient myths, without a real peersonality, doing what he does, because 'it's the right thing'...

All in all, I'm (stil!) really glad I read this, and the story has been haunting my thoughts pretty much ever since I read it (but in a good way).

I really, really recommend this one!