The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume Two: Outer Space Inner Lands

Get Volume 1 here.

“She is the reigning queen of…but immediately we come to a difficulty, for what is the fitting name of her kingdom? Or, in view of her abiding concern with the ambiguities of gender, her queendom, or perhaps—considering how she likes to mix and match—her quinkdom? Or may she more properly be said to have not one such realm, but two?”
—Margaret Atwood, New York Review of Books

Ursula K. Le Guin’s nonrealistic stories which have shaped the way many readers see the world. She gives voice to the voiceless, hope to the outsider, and speaks truth to power—all the time maintaining her independence and sense of humor.

This two-volume selection of Le Guin’s stories—as selected by the author—omits stories directly connected to novels. The second volume, Outer Space, Inner Lands, focuses on Le Guin’s stories of the fantastic such as “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas” and “Nine Lives” (both of which have been reprinted more than twenty times); Tiptree Award winner “The Matter of Seggri”; Nebula Award winner “Solitude”; and the secret history “Sur,” which was included in The Best American Short Stories, and includes stories from The Compass Rose, The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, Buffalo Gals, Fisherman of the Inland Sea, The Birthday of the World, and Changing Planes.

The Unreal and the Real is a much-anticipated event which will delight, amuse, and provoke.


“Ms. Le Guin, though, has matured from the vividness and imagination she had from the beginning into wisdom and a clearsightedness that reaches past sympathy.”
—Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal

“The Unreal and the Real guns from the grim to the ecstatic, from the State to the Garden of Eden, with just one dragon between. (Every collection needs one dragon.) In every good career-spanning collection, you can observe an author growing into her authority. Here, every story, in its own way and from its own universe, told in its own mode, explains that there is no better spirit in all of American letters than that of Ursula Le Guin.”
Slate“No Better Spirit”

“The metaphorical language of fantasy has the capacity to touch us in the most profound ways. But many otherwise great fantasy writers, including JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, fall too easily into the traps of dogma and moral superiority, making their medicine sometimes hard to swallow. The stories of Ursula K Le Guin manage the sublime trick of touching our hearts while also satisfying our cynical, modern minds. For this reason her stories will pass into legend, to touch many generations to come.”
The Guardian

“Second of a two-volume set, this bare-bones collection focuses on SFWA Grand Master Le Guin’s overtly fantastic visions. Settings of 20 stories, all previously anthologized, include both the science fictional Ekumen, a community of worlds populated by humans shaped by the hubristic Hain of the distant past, to such fantastical realms as the West Reach, “where dragons breed on the lava isles.” Le Guin’s imagination ranges widely; the most interesting sequence involves the world Seggri, whose gender politics are charmingly different from ours but equally constrained. This short collection, offering samples from across Le Guin’s career to date, shows why she has been a major voice in science fiction and fantasy since the 1960s.”
Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands

“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
“Semley’s Necklace”
“Nine Lives”
“The First Contact With the Gorgonids”
“The Shobies’ Story”
“The Matter of Seggri”
“The Wild Girls”
“The Fliers of Gy”
“The Silence of the Asonu”
“The Ascent of the North Face”
“The Author of the Acacia Seeds”
“The Wife’s Story”
“The Rule of Names”
“Small Change”
“The Poacher”
“She Unnames Them” [podcast, read by the author]

Praise for Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story collections:

“She wields her pen with a moral and psychological sophistication rarely seen… and while science fiction techniques often buttress her stories they rarely take them over. What she really does is write fables: splendidly intricate and hugely imaginative tales about such mundane concerns as life, death, love, and sex.”

“Delicious . . . her worlds are haunting psychological visions molded with firm artistry.”
Library Journal

“Witty, satirical and amusing. Yet it is the author’s more serious work that displays her talents best, as she employs recurring themes and elements-cultural diversity, unlikely heroes and heroines, power’s ability to corrupt, love’s power to guide-and considers characters and types (women, children, the differently sexed and gendered) so often disenfranchised by other, more technologically oriented SF writers. . . . [A] classy and valuable collection.”
Publishers Weekly

“A master of the craft.”
—Neil Gaiman

“Like all great writers of fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin creates imaginary worlds that restore us, hearts eased, to our own.”
The Boston Globe

“There is no more elegant or discerning expositor than Le Guin.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Admirers of fine literature, fantastic or not, will cherish this rich offering.”
Publishers Weekly

Cover by John D. Berry.
Cover art: “Wildcat” copyright 2010 by Paul Roden & Valerie Lueth, Tugboat Printshop.

Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received the Hugo, Nebula, Endeavor, Locus, Tiptree, Sturgeon, PEN-Malamud, and National Book Award and the Pushcart and Janet Heidinger Kafka prizes, among others.

In recent years she has received lifetime achievement awards from World Fantasy Awards, Los Angeles Times, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and Willamette Writers, as well as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award and the Library of Congress Living Legends award. Le Guin was the recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award and the Margaret Edwards Award.

Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, The Wild Girls, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and Finding My Elegy, New and Selected Poems. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is in use.
Please feel free to use this form to contact us directly, and we'll reply by email. Thank you!

 | Subscribe to comments via RSS