Tales from Earthsea
April 2, 2021 6:36 AM - by Le Guin, Ursula K. - Subscribe

The tales of this book explore and extend the world established by the Earthsea novels—yet each stands on its own. It contains the novella “The Finder”, and the short stories “The Bones of the Earth”, “Darkrose and Diamond”, “On the High Marsh”, and “Dragonfly”. (Book 5 of the Earthsea cycle)
posted by Cash4Lead (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How timely! I bought this maybe two weeks ago and just started last night. I read the trilogy when I was kid decades ago and was pleasantly surprised to find there were more books than when I last visited.

I got about five chapters into the first book last night and it is glorious.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:08 AM on April 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I thought that Le Guin's villains in the Earthsea sequence before this tended to be kind of cookie cutter. I felt that she was more interested in the consequences of the antagonists actions rather than their motivations. To me, the villain in "The Finder" was a fully realized villain, and really set up future events.
posted by Quonab at 7:05 PM on April 4, 2021 [4 favorites]

"On the High Marsh" is one of my favorite short stories ever. It's lovely and quiet, and the tension it builds is resolved so beautifully, so humanely. I wish everyone would read this story.

"The Finder" is shattering. Few pieces of literature have left me weeping. Anieb's story was deeply, deeply moving.
posted by Caxton1476 at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I loved reading this collection of stories set in an order that made sense. I don't read enough short fiction, this was a great excuse.

That being said I think the later stories Dragonfly and The Finder are the clear strong ones. Mostly because they do such a nice job fleshing out the history of Earthsea. And again, revisiting this weird thing about women and magic and why is it like that anyway? She never quite comes out and says it but the parallel with the Catholic church and its requirement of chastity in priests is quite apparent. I also love how in Dragonfly Irian seems like a victim of the dumb rogue mage until it's revealed she's just using him for a free ride to Roke. Hilarious.

I hadn't realized until I looked it up that two of the stories (Rule of Names, Word of Unbinding) both predate the first Earthsea novel. They also feel like some of the weaker stories. But then you realize that's the beginning of the world building, that's the origin of the ideas like the power of names and the relative lack of use of magic.
posted by Nelson at 2:33 PM on April 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I skip Darkrose and Diamond when I re-read.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:03 AM on April 7, 2021

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