Werel (Voe Deo)
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Werel is a fictional planet in the 'Ekumen' science fiction novels of Ursula K. Le Guin. It is the fourth planet of a yellow-white star. It is dominated by the Voe Deo, who independently colonised Yeowe, the previously uninhabited third planet. It is one of two planets of this name in that series.
Werel and the Voe Deo
Werel was colonised by the ancient Hainish people, long ago. There seem to have been no native animals: all existing animals are of Hainish origin, as are some of the plants. Like most planets of the ancient Hainish expansion, it lost touch and forgot its origins. It became dominated by the Voe Deo, an aggressive, progressive, black-skinned people. They dominated the lighter-skinned people of the north. It developed a stable system of slavery and capitalism that lasted for at least 3000 years. The tale of the breakdown of this system is told in Four Ways to Forgiveness, and also the short story Old Music and the Slave Women.
This Werel should not be confused with the Werel of Planet of Exile and City of Illusions, which is the third planet of the orange giant star Gamma Draconis. In the introduction to the collection The Birthday of the World, Le Guin admits an error in reusing the name and indicates she had forgotten its prior use.
This planet had complex life on land and in the sea, but no intelligent inhabitants until the Voe Deo colonised it. They brought in their own plant and animal species, killing off a lot of the native forms. The Werelians developed rocket-craft to reach, settle, mine and exploit it. Slaves were shipped there early on, mostly male. Female slaves found themselves at the bottom of a complex social system formed by slave men in the absence of women.
Rakuli and other worlds
The star 'RK-tamo-5544-34' has 16 planets, including Werel and Yeowe. Life also developed on the fifth planet, Rakuli. But it is arid and cold, fit only for its native invertebrates and not yet used by the Werelians.
- Cadden, Mike. Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005) page 174.
- 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.
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