Rocannon's World

Ursula K. Le Guin
Rocannon's World Cover

Rocannon's World


This was the late Ursula K Le Guin's first novel, and it also introduced her connected books of Hain. It was published in 1966, though it's prologue is a short story published two years earlier. This is a hard SF road trip novel which introduces several alien races and ways of thought.

The prologue stands alone, the story of a strong female character who demands her inheritance of a necklace to be used in a dowry. She does not realize just how far she has to go to get this necklace, A surprise that is revealed only at the very end.

Using that necklace as a link, the main story is about a stranded ethnologist on a planet that could become the launching point for a major war against the Hain. He overhears a radio transmission and discovers where the enemy base is, then travels there through many adventures. At the very end, the satisfying conclusion, and a reference back to that initial story. As a novel, these two work well together. 3½ stars.

Most famously, this book introduced the concept of faster than light communication using the Ansible, a name which has been borrowed by many other science fiction writers.