Changing Planes: Stories

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9780151009718: Changing Planes: Stories

"Then came a child trotting to school with his little backpack. He trotted on all fours, neatly, his hands in leather mitts or boots that protected them from the pavement; he was pale, with small eyes, and a snout, but he was adorable."
--from Changing Planes

The misery of waiting for a connecting flight at an airport leads to the accidental discovery of alighting on other planes--not airplanes but planes of existence. Ursula Le Guin's deadpan premise frames a series of travel accounts by the tourist-narrator who describes bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own, and sometimes open puzzling doors into the alien.
Winner of the PEN/Malamud for Short Stories

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Review:

At first, readers may find Ursula K. Le Guin's collection Changing Planes rather light, if not slight. However, as the reader continues through its sixteen stories (ten of which are original to this volume), the collection achieves considerable weight and power.

A punny conceit links the stories and provides the title of Changing Planes. Conceived before September 11, 2001, this conceit now, unfairly, looks odd. Trapped too many times in the misery of pre-terrorist airports, Sita Dulip discovered how to change planes: not airplanes, but planes of existence. Now the people of Sita's earth travel between alternate universes.

The stories in Changing Planes are strong expressions of Le Guin's considerable anthropological and psychological insight. However, these tales don't follow traditional plot structures or character-development methods. They read more like travelogues, or socio-anthropological articles on foreign nations or tribes. They explore exotic literary planes lying somewhere between Jorge Luis Borges's ficciones and Horace Miner's anthropological satire Body Ritual Among the Nacirema. However, unlike Miner's parody, Le Guin's wise tales are rarely satirical, though "The Royals of Hegn" sharply skewers the absurdity of royalty-worship, and "Great Joy" rightly attacks the boundless corporate criminality familiar to anyone who's read a newspaper since 2001.

One of America's greatest authors, Ursula K. Le Guin has received the National Book Award, the Newberry Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, five Nebula Awards, and five Hugo Awards. --Cynthia Ward

From the Inside Flap:

In this collection, Ursula K. Le Guin, winner of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award, presents a world where there is a better way of changing planes.

Missing a flight, waiting in an airport, listening to garbled announcements-who doesn't hate that misery?

But Sita Dulip from Cincinnati finds a method of bypassing the crowds at the desks, the long lines at the toilets, the nasty lunch, the whimpering children and punitive parents, the bookless bookstores, the blue plastic chairs bolted to the floor.

A mere kind of twist and a slipping bend, easier to do than to describe, takes her not to Denver but Strupsirts, a picturesque region of waterspouts and volcanoes, or Djeyo, where she can stay for two nights in a small hotel with a balcony overlooking the amber Sea of Somue. This new discovery--changing planes-enables Sita to visit bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own and sometimes open doors into the alien.

Illustrated by Eric Beddows, Le Guin's account of her travels is by turns funny, disturbing, and thought-provoking.

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Book Description Harcourt, Orlando, Florida, U. S. A., 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Illustrated by Beddows, Eric (illustrator). First Edition. NEW - Missing a flight, waiting in an airport, listening to garbled announcements - who doesn't hate that misery? But Sita Dulip from Cincinnati finds a method of bypassing the crowds at the desks, the long lines at the toilets, the whimpering children, the bookless bookstores, and the blue plastic chairs. A mere kind of twist and a slipping bend, easier to do than describe, takes her not to Denver but to Strupsirts, a picteresque region of waterspouts and volcanoes, or to Djeyo where she can stay for two nights in a small hotel with a balcony overlooking the amber Sea of Somue. This new discovery - changing planes - enables Sita to visit bizarre societies and cultures that sometimes mirror our own and sometimes open doors into the alien. Le Guin's account of her travels is by turns funny, disturbing, and thought provoking. 246 pages. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 002253

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