‘Le Guin’s words are magical. Drink this magic up. Drown in it. Dream it’ David Mitchell, author of CLOUD ATLAS
In this stunning collection of four intimately interconnected novellas, Ursula K. Le Guin returns to the great themes that have made her one of America’s most honored and respected authors.
At the far end of our universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into ‘assets’ and ‘owners’, tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the callow ‘space brat’ Solly, the haughty soldier Teyeo, and the Ekumen historian and Hainish exile Havzhiva, freedom and duty both begin in the heart, and success as well as failure has its costs.
Set sixteen years after the events of The Exiled Earthborn, this explosive conclusion of the Earthborn trilogy tells the story of two brothers, the sons of Lucas and Asha, tasked with surviving the Xalan war to ensure the continued existence of the human race.
Noah, an orphan from Earth’s last days who, as a child, was smuggled to safety across the stars, is now nearly a man and a leader to the young enclave of Earthborn who reside on Sora. When the tranquility of their settlement is shattered by a shocking assassination attempt, Noah turns to his combative younger brother Erik, Lucas and Asha’s only child by blood, for aid. Their journey takes them to the remnants of a dead planet, an outlaw-infested space station, and back to Sora, whose inhabitants are bracing for a final showdown with the bloodthirsty Xalans.
They find themselves facing a new evil: the omnipotent Archon, who is somehow controlling the whole of the Xalan horde, and his bloodthirsty lieutenant, the Black Corsair, who has an unmatched taste for brutality. The Archon, so-called God of the Shadows, has unearthed knowledge that could wipe both Sorans and humans alike from the face of existence. The descendants of the Earthborn must uncover the true nature of the Archon and the Xalans before he burns everything they know and love to ashes.
Edgar Pangborn studied music at Harvard when just 15 years old, eventually turned his back on music to focus on his writing. He flourished in the early ’50s, producing a string of highly-regarded stories for the likes of Galaxy, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Ellery Queen’s Mystery magazine. His work helped establish a new ‘humanist’ school of science fiction, and has been cited as an influence by Ursula Le Guin. This omnibus contains the Hugo-shortlisted Davy, International Fantasy Award-winner A Mirror for Observers and story collection Good Neighbours and Other Strangers.
DAVY: A HUGO and NEBULA AWARD nominee, this post-apocalyptic science fiction novel is Pangborn’s most acclaimed. It is set in the Northeastern United States some centuries after an atomic war ended high-technology civilization. Davy comes of age in a pseudo-medieval society dominated by a Church that actively suppresses technology.
A MIRROR FOR OBSERVERS: The Martians, long exiled from their home planet, have for millennia been observers of the world of men. Forbidden by their laws to interfere with human destiny, they wait for mankind to mature. From the turmoil of mid 20th-century America, word comes to the Observers that one their renegades is hoping to encourage humanity in its headlong rush to self-destruction through the corruption of a single rare intellect. The struggle between Observer and Abdicator for the continuance of the human species is one of the classic conflicts in the annals of science fiction.
GOOD NEIGHBORS AND OTHER STRANGERS: A collection of short stories reflecting Pangborn’s fresh writing style and mastery of the short form.