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Summary

The planet Athshe was a paradise whose people were blessed with a mystical awareness of existence.

Then the conquerors arrived and began to rape, enslave, and kill humans with a flicker of humanity. The athseans were unskilled in the ways of war, and without weapons. But the gentle tribesmen possessed strange powers over their dreams. And the alien conquerors had taught them how to hate....

©1976 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

  • 1973 Hugo Award, Best Novella
  • All-Time Best Novellas (Locus Magazine)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant, well performed, failed by sound design

the words are not noise to be covered by other noise. scrap the sound design

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Archaon
  • 10-07-11

She is talent incarnate

Rarely can one find a read so full of deeper, and not instantly obvious, meanings that one has to stop the recording regularly to think about it, while also being wholly enraptured by the tale as it progresses.
Le Guin is a rare breed of writer, a true innovator, a master of literary sorcery.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Margit D. Morawietz
  • 10-06-12

Classic Tree Hugger Masterpiece

Ursula LeGuin is so much head & shoulders above most other SciFi/Phantasy writers it's not even funny. This world is beautiful and a dream. Allegory with guns, but not a shoot 'em up. Not for every one,it's somewhat slow. This is not a long novel, but so dense I relisten to chapters just to get it all. And then on re -reading/listening get more. Here the author does not spell everything out but it implied in a masterful way, that it engages your own imaginative function.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aba
  • 24-02-11

Avatar's influence

Clearly, this book inspired James Cameron's Avatar. I enjoyed Avatar on many levels and appreciated very deep messages (and the not very deep messages). The Word for World is Forest is equally mesmerizing. Well worth your time.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-17

amazing however sad story.

this short story is very good to start a discussion on colonization and it's long time effects on the communities, skiing other things. it's hard but worthy to read or hear it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 19-11-15

Worth it for the narrator

Every once in a while you listen to a book that's both really well written and really well read. Kevin Pariseau knows pace, voices, and characterization and made this book more amazing than reading the written word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • zandperl
  • 01-08-11

Dissapointing

This book was enough of a dud that I was prompted to write this review. Firstly, the book is short and is more of relating a series of events than an actual story with a plot that crescendos and comes to a climax and is then resolved. Only one character truly has any character development, and that is the one that you're supposed to view as the antagonist.

I am also disappointed to learn that Audible did not bother to mention that this is not the first book in the series (or the universe) of the Hainish Cycle. Had I known, I would not have bought it, as I prefer not to start in the middle of a series, and this book is not particularly interesting as a stand-alone.

11 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Beverley Gelonesi
  • 10-07-18

Fascinating story- but not a happy one!

A very thought provoking read, the story being plausible and straightforward, but underlying is profound storytelling showing progression of different mindsets-innocence to violence, sadness and reconciliation.

Definitely worth reading/ listening. But not recommended if you want a light-hearted read!

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  • Karelle Scharff
  • 20-06-18

Ripped from the headlines 40+ years later

Ursula LeGuin was prescient. This reads like it was written about Trumpsters. God help us.

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  • Brian Gryth
  • 26-04-18

Still outstanding

Not The Left Hand of Darkness or The Dispossessed, but still great.

An accurate account of what human settlement of other planets could be like. At least as accurate as the benevolent variety.

Athsheans are essentially Ewok just cooler and much more interesting.

This book is a quick and interesting read.

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  • Readinguy
  • 13-04-18

One of LeGuin's best

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have. I think it may be LeGuin's most beautiful novel--and that's saying something.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Word for World Is Forest ?

The end of the book is particularly affecting. I've gone back to listen to that part agin.

Any additional comments?

LeGuin dedicates this book to her father, who was an anthropologist. The character of the anthropologist in the story is most likely based on her father, and her affection for that character shows. But her knowledge of how to think about different cultures permeates the book. Even the title turns out to be revelatory.