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Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

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Named for the anarchist utopia in Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction classic The Dispossessed, Dispatches from Anarres embodies the anarchic spirit of Le Guin’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, while paying tribute to her enduring vision. In stories that range from fantasy to sci fi to realism, some of Portland's most vital voices have come together to celebrate Le Guin’s las Named for the anarchist utopia in Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction classic The Dispossessed, Dispatches from Anarres embodies the anarchic spirit of Le Guin’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, while paying tribute to her enduring vision. In stories that range from fantasy to sci fi to realism, some of Portland's most vital voices have come together to celebrate Le Guin’s lasting legacy and influence on that most subversive of human faculties: the imagination. Fonda Lee’s “Old Souls” explores the role of violence and redemption across time and space; Rachael K. Jones’s “The Night Bazaar for Women Turning into Reptiles” touches on gender oppression and a woman’s right to choose; Molly Gloss’s “Wenonah’s Gift” imagines coming-of-age in a post-collapse culture determined to avoid past wrongs; and Lidia Yuknavitch’s “Neuron” reveals that fairy tales may, in fact, be the best way to understand the paradoxes of science. Other contributors include Curtis Chen, Kesha Ajọsẹ-Fisher, Juhea Kim, Tina Connolly, David D. Levine, Leni Zumas, Rene Denfeld, and Michelle Ruiz Keil, with a foreword by David Naimon, co-author (with Le Guin) of Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing.


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Named for the anarchist utopia in Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction classic The Dispossessed, Dispatches from Anarres embodies the anarchic spirit of Le Guin’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, while paying tribute to her enduring vision. In stories that range from fantasy to sci fi to realism, some of Portland's most vital voices have come together to celebrate Le Guin’s las Named for the anarchist utopia in Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction classic The Dispossessed, Dispatches from Anarres embodies the anarchic spirit of Le Guin’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, while paying tribute to her enduring vision. In stories that range from fantasy to sci fi to realism, some of Portland's most vital voices have come together to celebrate Le Guin’s lasting legacy and influence on that most subversive of human faculties: the imagination. Fonda Lee’s “Old Souls” explores the role of violence and redemption across time and space; Rachael K. Jones’s “The Night Bazaar for Women Turning into Reptiles” touches on gender oppression and a woman’s right to choose; Molly Gloss’s “Wenonah’s Gift” imagines coming-of-age in a post-collapse culture determined to avoid past wrongs; and Lidia Yuknavitch’s “Neuron” reveals that fairy tales may, in fact, be the best way to understand the paradoxes of science. Other contributors include Curtis Chen, Kesha Ajọsẹ-Fisher, Juhea Kim, Tina Connolly, David D. Levine, Leni Zumas, Rene Denfeld, and Michelle Ruiz Keil, with a foreword by David Naimon, co-author (with Le Guin) of Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing.

30 review for Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Doug Chase

    Dispatches from Anarres is why I read. This remarkable anthology of short stories in tribute to Ursula K. LeGuin is filled with thoughtful, heartbreaking, funny tales. Some will remind you of LeGuin and others of her spirit. I found myself pausing to think and breathe after many of the stories. This book is both readable and deep.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bailey Potter

    Such a wonderful collection of Le Guin-esque stories. Some are gloriously weird, others seem close enough to home to touch, and still more are fantastically magical. All of them will give you pause to reflect on just how far Ursula's influence has reached--and will still reach. Such a wonderful collection of Le Guin-esque stories. Some are gloriously weird, others seem close enough to home to touch, and still more are fantastically magical. All of them will give you pause to reflect on just how far Ursula's influence has reached--and will still reach.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    I thought this had some decent stories but it suffers from too many people and not enough pages, many of these are are very short. Still it's a tribute to a great, groundbreaking author so it deserves some kudos for that. I'd recommend reading some Le Guin first, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed or the very trippy The Lathe of Heaven. I've never cared for Earthsea, so ask someone else about that. I thought this had some decent stories but it suffers from too many people and not enough pages, many of these are are very short. Still it's a tribute to a great, groundbreaking author so it deserves some kudos for that. I'd recommend reading some Le Guin first, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed or the very trippy The Lathe of Heaven. I've never cared for Earthsea, so ask someone else about that.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    These are short stories in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin. Some of them play with the concepts she created, others try to emulate her writing style. Nobody wrote quite like her. Having said that, I think some of the more successful tributes are Jessie Kwak's story 'Black as Thread', Arwen Spicer's 'Let It Die', and Nicole Rosevear's 'Each Cool Silver Orb a Gift'. Honorary mention goes to Gigi Little and Jason LaPier for writing stories about insects that echo Le Guin's stories of animals, especiall These are short stories in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin. Some of them play with the concepts she created, others try to emulate her writing style. Nobody wrote quite like her. Having said that, I think some of the more successful tributes are Jessie Kwak's story 'Black as Thread', Arwen Spicer's 'Let It Die', and Nicole Rosevear's 'Each Cool Silver Orb a Gift'. Honorary mention goes to Gigi Little and Jason LaPier for writing stories about insects that echo Le Guin's stories of animals, especially 'The Author of the Acacia Seeds'. Finally, there are three short tall tales about two brothers named Ib and Nib, by Stevan Allred, which I think Ursula would have enjoyed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    As with most anthologies, a mixed bg. 1. A Lay of Light and Anger by Stewart C Baker – extremely dull and clichéd fantasy. DNF 0/5 2. The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles by Rachel K Jones. Women eat reptile eggs to transform and escape. Delightfully sinuous, more weird-fiction than anything else. 5/5 3. The Wake by James Mapes. The death of gods and the stoicism of humans. 4/5 4. Black as Thread by Jessie Kwak. Interesting take on the seductions of power, even in small things. 3/5 5. A Woven As with most anthologies, a mixed bg. 1. A Lay of Light and Anger by Stewart C Baker – extremely dull and clichéd fantasy. DNF 0/5 2. The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles by Rachel K Jones. Women eat reptile eggs to transform and escape. Delightfully sinuous, more weird-fiction than anything else. 5/5 3. The Wake by James Mapes. The death of gods and the stoicism of humans. 4/5 4. Black as Thread by Jessie Kwak. Interesting take on the seductions of power, even in small things. 3/5 5. A Woven Womb by C A McDonald. Rather dull story of creating a magic child. 2/5 6. Prothalamion by Tracy Mannaster. Very short but entrancing tale of strange disruptions to the life of a village. 4/5 7. The Kingdom of the Belly by Michelle Ruiz Keil. Short mythological story. OK. 3/5 8. Ib and Nib: the Ice Berries by Stevan Allred. Folk-tale in the style of Le Guin’s Karhide stories. 2/5 9. Old Souls by Fonda Lee. The acts of remembered past lives catch up with people. 3.5/5 10. The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away by Rene Denfeld. Depressing tale of imprisoned refugees. 3/5. I much prefer N K Jemisin’s “The Ones Who Stay and Fight”. 11. The Polar Explorer by Leni Zumas. A woman’s scientific work on Polar ice is ignored in the 19th century. Doesn’t really go anywhere. 2/5 12. Birds by Benjamin Parzybok. A crazy homeless man is taken up by a well-meaning but damaged woman. 2.5/5 13. Homeless Gary Busey by Timothy O’Leary. Homeless man harasses a citizen, who takes revenge and is persecuted for it. 2/5 14. Finding Joan by David D Levine. A middle-aged woman survives in post-apocalyptic Portland. 3/5 15. Becoming Human by Gigi Little. Ants survive the apocalypse and take up baking. 4/5 16. Bee, Keeper by Jason LaPier. Clunky environmental message. 1/5 17. KwaZulu-Natal by Juhea Kim. Depressing story of a boy and a hand-reared elephant. 2/5 18. Mr Uncle’s Favor by Kesha Ajose-Fisher. Really nice story of a young girl coming from America to Nigeria and making friends with the old man next door. 4/5 19. Ib and Nib and the Golden Ring by Stevan Allred. A pointless folk-tale. 1/5 20. Neuron by Lydia Yuknavitch. An electric shock transforms a girl, giving her the power to reach the girl she loves. 3/5 21. Laddie Come Home by Curtis C Chen. Quite interesting about sentient wearable tech, but the ending gives off an unappealing “western saviour” vibe. 3/5 22. The Way Things were by Jonah Barrett. Aliens offer escape to people who want to leave America, which unsurprisingly causes other people to try and stop them. 2/5 23. Valuable by Mo Daviau. Messy time travel. 2/5 24. Hard Choices by Tina Connolly. Excellent and quite humorous story of inter-species lust written in the form of a “choose your own adventure”. 4/5 25. When Strangers Meet by Sonia Orin Lyris. A strange ritual in an alien hive. 3/5 26. JoyBe’s Last Dance by Jason Arias. A self-aware marionette goes wrong. 2/5 27. The Taster by TJ Acena. A man tastes food for the millions of “digital citizens”. 3/5 28. Let It Die by Arwen Spicer. Excellent story about a girl who breaks society’s strong taboos against using ancient tech. 4/5 29. Each Cool Silver Orb a Gift by Nicole Rosevear. Rather shambolic story of building a better world after a war. 2/5 30. Wenonah’s Gift by Molly Gloss. Quiet story of post-apocalyptic village life, with a harsh twist. 4/5 31. Ib and Nib and the Hemmens Tree by Stevan Allred. Irritating and pointless folk-tale. 1/5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    From the Foreword:: DISPATCHES FROM ANARRES is a tribute to the vision of Ursula K. Le Guin from writers who either live in or have a strong connection to Portland, Oregon, the city Le Guin called home for sixty of her eighty-eight years. This is a collection of 31 short stories inspired by the unconventional and independent spirit of the inhabitants of the "rebel moon" Anarres, from Le Guin's novel The Dispossessed. The collection is organized into three categories: "Magelight" is a group of From the Foreword:: DISPATCHES FROM ANARRES is a tribute to the vision of Ursula K. Le Guin from writers who either live in or have a strong connection to Portland, Oregon, the city Le Guin called home for sixty of her eighty-eight years. This is a collection of 31 short stories inspired by the unconventional and independent spirit of the inhabitants of the "rebel moon" Anarres, from Le Guin's novel The Dispossessed. The collection is organized into three categories: "Magelight" is a group of magical tales, "Returning to the Root" contains stories generally focused on life here on Earth, and in the "On Time and Darkness" category are several works of sci-fi as well as some that defy categorization. The stories in this volume: I. MAGELIGHT — A Lay of Light and Anger by Stewart C. Baker. When Ahrei's parent Creiyu is taken from life by the renegade Loi, Ahrei seeks revenge in spell-song. However Ahrei must quickly adapt when her assumptions turn out to be wrong. — The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles by Rachael K. Jones. An inspired tale of an unusual market that offers an escape and freedom from society's suffocating gender and sexual orientation expectations. — The Wake by James Mapes. A storm at sea, the death of a god, and a nameless boy are elements of this traveler's story. — Black as Thread by Jessie Kwak. A seamstress weaves magic into her designs and discovers power in the prick of her needle. — A Woven Womb by C.A. McDonald. A skillful Weaver contributes some of her own personal magic to help an anxious couple create their dream child. — Prothalamion by Tracy Manaster. The world is becoming unsettled and it begins with dreams disconnecting from their dreamers. — The Kingdom of the Belly by Michelle Ruiz Keil. A girl, a ghost-cat, and a coyote are bound together and transformed. Interlude 1 — Ib & Nib and the Ice Berries by Stevan Allred. A story from Karhide (Gethen) of two cousins who go into the forest to cut wood and encounter a trickster kobold who is eager to fool them both. II. RETURNING TO THE ROOT — Old Souls by Fonda Lee. A reincarnated woman seeks and finds an ageless soul to break her pattern of tragic past lives. — The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away by Rene Denfeld. A heartbreaking memoir from the perspective of a tortured child, one of Omela's unwilling victims. — The Polar Explorer by Leni Zumas. An arctic explorer defies being underestimated because she's a woman. — Birds by Benjamin Parzybok. An encounter with a homeless person camping on a rooftop leads to observations on city life and a surprising transformation. — Homeless Gary Busey by Timothy O’Leary. A reformed alcoholic has a deadly interaction with a homeless man, forcing him back into a life of destitution and hopelessness. — Finding Joan by David D. Levine. In a dystopian Portland a lone woman plants the seeds of the future. — Becoming Human by Gigi Little. After the apocalypse, the ants at the Jackson house try becoming human. — Bee, Keeper by Jason LaPier. From the perspective of the bees, the competition is fierce for survival and they search for the optimum way of achieving their Purpose. Sometimes the way is violence. — KwaZulu-Natal by Juhea Kim. In Africa, a motherless boy and a motherless elephant develop an bond of affection which survives time and distance. — Mr. Uncle’s Favor by Kesha Ajọsẹ-Fisher. A young girl from America befriends an old blind man in Nigeria but their relationship is misunderstood. Interlude 2 — Ib & Nib and the Golden Ring by Stevan Allred. Ib finds, and hides, a gold ring, and also meets a talking fish with whom they play a riddle game. III. ON TIME AND DARKNESS — Neuron by Lidia Yuknavitch. Lucinda becomes a neuron while grocery shopping and enters the universe of sub-atomic particles. — Laddie Come Home by Curtis C. Chen. An AI accessory facilitates a rescue and makes a new friend. — The Way Things Were by Jonah Barrett. Aliens from Oulipo make first contact with Earth and offer to save humans from their 'suffering'. However conflict breaks out between supporters and oppressors. — Valuable by Mo Daviau. Glory Park follows in her mother's footsteps and saves a child from traffickers using her ability to time-travel. — Hard Choices by Tina Connolly. These shapeshifters want to eat you. — When Strangers Meet by Sonia Orin Lyris. The elegant but fatal mating dance of the silks for the One is a nature-inspired dreamscape. — JoyBe’s Last Dance by Jason Arias. Ala 'Pinocchio', a puppet seeks to achieve reality and succeeds ... in a way. — The Taster by TJ Acena. In the far future, digital humanity achieves immortality but craves the experience of life's sensual delights. — Let It Die by Arwen Spicer. The girl Nera is confronted with a deadly choice between the healing arts and lifesaving, but forbidden, technology. — Each Cool Silver Orb a Gift by Nicole Rosevear. A society with three genders struggles with fairness and truth for all. — Wenonah’s Gift by Molly Gloss. On the cusp of adulthood, the girl Dulce builds a house and then embarks on a hunt with the weapon Wenonah has given her. Postlude 3 — Ib & Nib and the Hemmens Trees by Stevan Allred. While out gathering kindling, the cousins Ib and Nib meet a stranger who takes them into a magic forest. This is a diverse assortment and readers can select individual works in this collection at random if they wish. Trying to choose the "best" stories seemed nearly impossible with so many excellent tales, so I recommend that you read them all. The story subjects range from the humorous to the heartbreaking; there are happy tales, sad tales, and cautionary tales. These are high quality stories that will appeal to many different tastes. I have to give kudos to the editor Susan DeFreitas for putting this wonderful collection together. I don't think readers will be disappointed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    to'c

    What a marvelous tribute to the always amazing Ursula K. Le Guin. I became enthralled with Ms. Le Guin's work long before her home became my home. But once I moved to Portland (has it really been 47 years???) and realized that she participated in local reading events I def jumped on the chance to attend. I'm not a writer and became impressed by not only her skill at writing but by her warmth as a human being and her depth as a thinker. I always envisioned her as a certain old woman in The Dispos What a marvelous tribute to the always amazing Ursula K. Le Guin. I became enthralled with Ms. Le Guin's work long before her home became my home. But once I moved to Portland (has it really been 47 years???) and realized that she participated in local reading events I def jumped on the chance to attend. I'm not a writer and became impressed by not only her skill at writing but by her warmth as a human being and her depth as a thinker. I always envisioned her as a certain old woman in The Dispossessed and truly believe that by the time I encountered her she had become that feisty old woman. Now, the contributors to the book are writers. I can only imagine how they reacted to Ms. Le Guin's presence. Surely they were as impressed as I by her very human presence but they were also deeply effected by her skill as a writer and communicator. And these stories stand as proud examples of not only the "Le Guin Effect" but of the writers themselves. These stories are warm and frightening and funny and deep and silly and, most of all, compassionate. Thank you Susan DeFreitas for leading the efforts to produce this gem of a book and thank you to all the authors that participated. There's only one downside: Now I have to add these authors to my reading list! Will the madness never end? (would I want it to?)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Cohn

    Let me start by saying that Ursula Le Guin is one of my favorite authors, and the idea underlying this collection fascinated me. The use of her stories as a basis for this collection in wondrous and engaging. That said, this anthology, like so many others, and particularly anthologies that are comprised of stories by multiple authors, varies in quality between items. There were quite a few stories I enjoyed, some that I thought were just okay, and one or two that I simply didn’t like. None of th Let me start by saying that Ursula Le Guin is one of my favorite authors, and the idea underlying this collection fascinated me. The use of her stories as a basis for this collection in wondrous and engaging. That said, this anthology, like so many others, and particularly anthologies that are comprised of stories by multiple authors, varies in quality between items. There were quite a few stories I enjoyed, some that I thought were just okay, and one or two that I simply didn’t like. None of this is a reflection on the quality of the collection, which is so web; rather, it is a reflection on my preferences. If you enjoy Ursula Le Guin’s writing, you will enjoy this anthology. In particular, you will enjoy the blurb by each author at the end of their story, explaining how their story was inspired by a story or interaction with Ursula Le Guin. If you haven’t read her works, you should. And if you’ve read novels and stories by her, and don’t like them, well… there’s something wrong with you. But that’s an issue for a different discussion. For everyone else, especially those familiar with the bulk of Ursula Le Guin’s work, sir back and enjoy both the stories and the connections.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wendi

    Some of the stories feel more like fanfic than tribute, but I realize there's a fine line. Overall I would recommend this book to others simply based on the foreward by David Naimon, which reads, in part: "As Jo Walton has pointed out, “Anarres found so easily be irritatingly perfect, but it isn’t. There are droughts and famines, petty bureaucrats and growing centralization of power.” And Portland’s self-regard, its self-mythologizing, its imagining itself into being as a place of re-invention, h Some of the stories feel more like fanfic than tribute, but I realize there's a fine line. Overall I would recommend this book to others simply based on the foreward by David Naimon, which reads, in part: "As Jo Walton has pointed out, “Anarres found so easily be irritatingly perfect, but it isn’t. There are droughts and famines, petty bureaucrats and growing centralization of power.” And Portland’s self-regard, its self-mythologizing, its imagining itself into being as a place of re-invention, has often been fueled by historical and cultural amnesia. Founded on stolen indigenous land, built on the idea of racial exclusion, many Portlanders live here without a sense of the city’s history of redlining and displacement, of lash laws and internment. And as Portland has entered the spotlight, succumbing to a hype it had avoided for so long, housing prices have skyrocketed, the homeless population has exploded, communities of color have been pushed to its periphery, and Portland’s own utopic mythology has rightfully been called into question." Yup, that's the city I live in.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tori Heroux

    I enjoyed this a lot more than most anthologies like this I try. It seemed more thought-out and well-organized, and I appreciated the notes from each author on the ways in which Le Guin inspired their stories. There were only a few stories I disliked and several that were truly transcendent, particularly: The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles Birds Bee, Keeper All the Ib & Nibs! Le Guin has left a visible mark on the collective consciousness of the SFF community and I so appreciate the recogn I enjoyed this a lot more than most anthologies like this I try. It seemed more thought-out and well-organized, and I appreciated the notes from each author on the ways in which Le Guin inspired their stories. There were only a few stories I disliked and several that were truly transcendent, particularly: The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles Birds Bee, Keeper All the Ib & Nibs! Le Guin has left a visible mark on the collective consciousness of the SFF community and I so appreciate the recognition this book heaps on her.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tbfrank

    Dispatches from Anarres is a collection of short fiction written in homage to celebrated author Ursula K. Le Guin. Thirty-one selections by twenty-nine different authors (one penned three which served as interludes) are included. All vary in style and setting but the influence of Ms. Le Guin is apparent in each one. These stories, as with her body of work, are meant to challenge the reader to think about the questions raised and to appreciate and have compassion for the lives of others.

  12. 4 out of 5

    C.K. Combs

    These stories capture the spirit of Ursula LeGuin. Each reveals something about the impact she has had on these writers and her enduring legacy of asking the questions others would leave unsaid. Seeing the love each contributor has for her had deepened my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Vian

    The quality of most of the collection is really good. A worthy tribute to Le Guin.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen Eisenbrey

    Having loved the fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin since I was in junior high, I eagerly anticipated this tribute anthology from the moment I learned about it on social media. What better way to honor a great storyteller than with stories? I’m happy to report this diverse collection does not disappoint! With each story, whether fantasy, science fiction, or realistic, I had a sense of dropping instantly into a fully formed world. Covering the spectrum of speculative fiction, these stories are filled w Having loved the fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin since I was in junior high, I eagerly anticipated this tribute anthology from the moment I learned about it on social media. What better way to honor a great storyteller than with stories? I’m happy to report this diverse collection does not disappoint! With each story, whether fantasy, science fiction, or realistic, I had a sense of dropping instantly into a fully formed world. Covering the spectrum of speculative fiction, these stories are filled with humor, heartbreak, adventure—the whole human and nonhuman experience. Highly recommended for Le Guin fans, especially those who want to feel her influence radiating through the work of contemporary authors; and for anyone who wants to sample a wide variety of excellent writing in the realms of fantasy and science fiction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gagliajn

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben Doherty

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria Hicks

  19. 4 out of 5

    Juhea Kim

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nika

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Doan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Momar

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Val

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason Arias

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Shipman

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