Each book stands alone, although all books in the cycle are set in the same universe.
Works are not numbered, as author says: “People write me nice letters asking what order they ought to read my science fiction books in — the ones that are called the Hainish or Ekumen cycle or saga or something. The thing is, they aren’t a cycle or a saga. They do not form a coherent history. There are some clear connections among them, yes, but also some extremely murky ones. And some great discontinuities.”
3.7 rating based on 10,173 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Ace
A world shared by three native humanoid races - the cavern-dwelling Gdemiar, elvish Fiia, and warrior clan, Liuar - is suddenly invaded and conquered by a fleet of ships from the stars. Earth scientist Rocannon is on that world, and he sees his friends murdered and his spaceship destroyed. Marooned among alien peoples, he leads the battle to free this new world - and finds that legends grow around him even as he fights.
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3.7 rating based on 5,866 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Ace Books
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years--& ten of Werel's years are over 600 terrestrial years. The lonely & dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter--a season that lasts for 15 years--the Earthmen have neighbors: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches & call the farborns. But hilfs & farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals & eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated?
Author(s): Publisher: Wentworth Press
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4.1 rating based on 102,070 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Ace
50th Anniversary Edition, with a new introduction by David Mitchell and a new afterword by Charlie Jane Anders
Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science fiction—winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants’ gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters...
Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
4.2 rating based on 73,477 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Harper Voyager
Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life—Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.
4.0 rating based on 13,441 ratings (all editions)
Centuries in the future, Terrans have established a logging colony & military base named "New Tahiti" on a tree-covered planet whose small, green-furred, big-eyed inhabitants have a culture centered on lucid dreaming. Terran greed spirals around native innocence & wisdom, overturning the ancient society.
Humans have learned interstellar travel from the Hainish (the origin-planet of all humanoid races, including Athsheans). Various planets have been expanding independently, but during the novel it's learned that the League of All Worlds has been formed. News arrives via an ansible, a new discovery. Previously they had been cut off, 27 light years from home.
The story occurs after The Dispossessed, where both the ansible & the League of Worlds are unrealised. Also well before Planet of Exile, where human settlers have learned to coexist. The 24th century has been suggested.
Terran colonists take over the planet locals call Athshe, meaning "forest," rather than "dirt," like their home planet Terra. They follow the 19th century model of colonization: felling trees, planting farms, digging mines & enslaving indigenous peoples. The natives are unequipped to comprehend this. They're a subsistence race who rely on the forests & have no cultural precedent for tyranny, slavery or war. The invaders take their land without resistance until one fatal act sets rebellion in motion & changes the people of both worlds forever.
4.2 rating based on 3,080 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Harper Perennial
At the far end of our universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into "assets" and "owners," tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the callow "space brat" Solly, the haughty soldier Teyeo, and the Ekumen historian and Hainish exile Havzhiva, freedom and duty both begin in the heart, and success as well as failure has its costs.
A Man of the People
A Woman's Liberation
Notes on Werel and Yeowe
In this stunning collection of four intimately interconnected novellas, Ursula K. Le Guin returns to the great themes that have made her one of America's most honored and respected authors.