The Word for World is Forest

Mass Market Paperback, 144 pages

English language

Published Feb. 7, 2005 by Tor Teen.

OCLC Number:

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4 stars (5 reviews)

17 editions


5 stars

Genuinely amazed by how much Le Guin fits into what's pretty much just a novella. Colonialism, racism, environmental destruction, and toxic masculinity, sure, but also musings on the mental machinations therein. Particularly appreciated the way she plays with language -- the chapters from the point of view of the humans, particularly the truly awful Davidson, are brutal, while the chapters from the point of view of the Athsheans start off lyrical, almost dreamlike, but change over the course of the book as their ways of thinking are polluted by the Terrans. Highly recommended.

Learning nonviolence

3 stars

I don't generally enjoy science fiction, and although I do love Ursula le Guin's theory and ideas I have never managed to finish any of her books before this one. Her writing is good, but I find that science fiction often gets too tied up in hammering home its analogies without remembering to tell a good story. The Word for World is Forest does not have this problem.

Ostensibly, this is a novel about two races of human. The first are Terrans (from Earth) who have landed on a distant planet and are cutting down its rich forested surface because there is no wood left on Earth. The other are Athsheans, who are colonised, enslaved in all but name, and are being forced to live their lives in a "terran" way by sleeping at night and working in the daytime, for example. The book weaves in the injustices of settler …


5 stars

it's a fairly short and straightforward story about resistance to colonization, but embedded in it is a kind of complicated discussion about the legitimacy of violence. It seems like it was in part a commentary on the Vietnam War (which is even alluded to at one point).

Don Davidson is one of the more thoroughly unpleasant viewpoint characters I've read; fortunately he is meant to be villainous, & at any rate it's only from his point of view for about a third of the book. His motivation, worldview & actions are disturbing but accurate for a certain sort of man.

Krieg im wald

4 stars

Das buch behandelt kolonialismus, hat also viele sehr gewalttätige und rassisitische szenen. Die geschichte ist eigentlich ganz einfach: 2 gruppen menschen, die in sehr verschiedenen umgebungen aufgewachsen sind, treffen aufeinander und hauen sich die köppe ein. Trotzdem war es spannend zu lesen, denn die Athsheaner haben eine interessante art, an die dinge heranzugehen.

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