ales from now, then and maybeThirty years ago Ursula K. Le Guin began telling a story that eventually became the Earthsea trilogy: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore. It was a pleasant surprise to millions of happy readers when she produced a fourth book, Tehanu, in 1990. Now Le Guin deepens the series with Tales from Earthsea, five stories from various periods in the history of this fictional land. They are wonderful stories, bright and shining, and guaranteed to stir even the most jaded readers and probably bring tears to their eyes at least once.
Le Guin's writing is often concerned with the costs of action or inaction. A prime example is found in the shortest story in the collection, "The Bones of the Earth," where different forms of magic, and points of view, come together. It is a story that will leave you somber yet exulted at the magnificent things men and women sometimes do. Le Guin's characters, never wholly good or wholly evil, often end up doing the best they can.
This new collection also includes two maps and a short essay, "A Description of Earthsea," that provides insights into the thoughts and workings of this wonderful writer.
Gavin J. Grant lives in Brooklyn, where he reviews, writes and publishes speculative fiction.