July 19th, Heatwave London
I read this three months ago while having a fun little sojourn around Europe with my lover but without my dog (who was having his own adventure travelling around Southern Ontario, he was having a great time, don’t worry about it, the guy’s having the time of his life 24/7), but it was so fucking good (and I took the fun photo seen above) that I wanted to drop a few half-remembered notes.
Does anyone remember Game of Thrones? The TV show, of course (I don’t have time to read books that long that aren’t perfect) & I’m assuming you do. If so, I’m sure you remember how the whole show set up the idea that there was a terrifying supernatural danger threatening to be launched from the North with the onset of the next Winter – winters happening lifetimes apart – and all of the local warring factions must unite in order to survive? That premise, which it totally ballsed up in the telling?
That is the exact same premise as Ursula K Le Guins’s 1966 novella, Planet of Exile, originally published as one of those weird books that have two different novels in, each read upside down from the opposite direction.
Le Guin’s novel has wise southerners with technological advantages but far less physical strength & power, it has gruff handsome northerners and betrayal and scheming and terror and danger and war. In around 100 pages (maybe a little more, I can’t remember), it basically does the entire initial premise of that TV show and it does it much much better.
Honestly, I loved it. It was excellent. I will likely read it again whenever I eventually get round to reading Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle which, other than Catwings, is the last of her major series I haven’t yet read.
Highly recommended – gave me the satisfying conclusion to Game of Thrones that I hadn’t realised I still needed!
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