World = forest

Or as the Germans say: Das Wort für Welt ist Wald.

These are some thoughts on The Word for World Is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin. Spoilers.

I’ve read this story before. So this time I focused on my big reactions.

  • It’s horrible being inside Davidson’s head. He’s pretty much the only good/right/strong person (he thinks) in the camp, no, on the planet, no, in the universe, and he constantly considers this. That one is a woman, of course, this one acts like a woman, he’s stupid, the next one is weak etc. Blargh!
  • This is a story of lost innocence. Before Davidson and friends, the planet was peaceful. After Davidson, the concepts of murder and rape exist, and there’s no way to go back. (I am reminded of “The Streets of Ashkelon”, free, by Harry Harrison.)
  • Part of the inspiration for this story is the war in Vietnam. It doesn’t resonate strongly. I guess fire jelly is related to napalm? To me this is just a story about war, the one war that just keeps going.

Other important themes are a League of Planets, language, dreams, colonialism and sustainable living. And it’s interesting to compare this story with Avatar.

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