First Edition Hardback Cover
|Author||Ursula K. Le Guin|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3562.E42 T45 2000|
|Preceded by||The Left Hand of Darkness|
The Telling is a 2000 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin set in her fictional universe of Hainish Cycle. The Telling is Le Guin's first follow-up novel set in the Hainish Cycle since her 1974 novel The Dispossessed. It tells the story of Sutty, a Terran sent to be an Ekumen observer, on the planet Aka, and her experiences political and religious conflicts between a corporatist government and the indigenous resistance, which is centered on the traditions of storytelling, locally referred to as "the Telling" (for which the book is named).
Sutty travels from Earth to the planet Aka to provide observations as an outside observer. On Aka, all traditional customs and beliefs have been outlawed by the state. On Aka Sutty experiences and tells of the conflicts there between the Corporation, a repressive State capitalist government, and the native people who resist.
Le Guin constructed the recent historical situation of Aka as a parallel to the history of China during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. The practice of the Telling is analogous to Taoist practices, and its suppression to the suppression of religious practices by the Chinese government at the time.
The Telling was published in 2000 as part of the Signed First Editions of Science Fiction series by Easton Press, who describe themselves as releasing 'works of lasting meaning, beauty and importance.'
Reception and critical analysis
It has been noted that The Telling is just as much a story about religion and politics as it is a story about storytelling. It has also been noted as having a standard Le Guin writing approach because it has a clear outside observer/narrator and a setting that includes strongly contrasting civilizations.
Gerald Jonas, reviewing The Telling for The New York Times, found it to be "an anthropological puzzle story" but because the main character Sutty has little personal stake on Aka she comes across as "little more than a mouthpiece for the author's personal vision of the good society."
The Telling was translated into Hebrew as ההגדה by Ornit Shachar (אורנית שחר).
- "sffworld.com synopsis of The Telling".
- Seed, David A Companion to Science Fiction (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture), (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), page 417.
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- "Science Fiction", The New York Times, October 1, 2000.
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- Bernardo, Susan M.; Murphy, Graham J. (2006). Ursula K. Le Guin: A Critical Companion (1st ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-33225-8.
- Cadden, Mike (2005). Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-99527-2.
- Hellekson, Karen; Jacobsen, Craig B.; Sharp, Patrick B.; Yaszek, Lisa (2010). Practicing Science Fiction: Critical Essays on Writing, Reading and Teaching (1st ed.). McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4793-0.
- Moylan, Tom; Baccolini, Raffaella (2003). Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-96613-9.