“The Word for World is Forest” by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Over the next few weeks, Mythgard is running a free online course on Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. I’m rereading Le Guin’s Hainish books in order to prepare. 

The Word for World is Forest continues Ursula K. Le Guin’s exploration of injustice. This time, she focuses on cultural and environmental destruction. In the distant future, humans colonize the planet Athshe for its timber resources. Le Guin alternates between Davidson, a human military officer, and Selver, an Athshean native whose wife Davidson had raped and killed. This isn’t one of Le Guin’s subtler novels, but it is a well written parable about the dangers of first contact.

Continue reading ““The Word for World is Forest” by Ursula K. Le Guin”

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“Avatar” by James Cameron

avatar-movie-poster A common joke about James Cameron’s Avatar is that it’s really just the lovechild of Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves and Cameron’s Aliens (or, depending on your age, FernGully and Aliens). In Avatar, a disillusioned marine joins a group of natives to fight against the white occupiers. Only in this version, the natives are blue-skinned aliens rather than Lakota and the occupiers are space marines rather than Col. Custer’s cavalry. There’s a lot to like about Avatar, but unfortunately the story never moves beyond those cliches. In this case, the joke contains more than a kernel of truth. Continue reading ““Avatar” by James Cameron”