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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
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Woodring, Jim
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Zahn, Timothy
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkley, California, in 1929.  A prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, Le Guin is best known for her Earthsea novels, the first of which was published in 1971.  None of the first four Earthsea books have ever been out of print since their publication.
Average Review Score: 4 out of 5

The Earthsea Quartet
An omnibus edition of the first four books (obviously) in the Earthsea series; 'A Wizard Of Earthsea', 'The Tombs Of Atuan', 'The Farthest Shore' and 'Tehanu'.  Le Guin creates a fantasy world of exception quality and is certainly one of the people who made the fantasy genre what it is today.  The book follows the adventures of Ged, aka Sparrowhawk, a boy who grows up to become the Archmage of Roke.  The first book is very much a coming of age story, telling of Ged's childhood, training as a mage and finally his attempts to escape an evil which he himself unleashes.  This evil proves to be Le Guin's finest creation as, after a chase across the world of Earthsea, Ged finally stops running and confronts it, only to discover that it is his own shadow.  The second book is actually my favourite, capturing the spirit of the old pulp fantasy as it features ancient tombs and decayed cultures.  I wasn't quite so struck on 'The Farthest Shore' although Le Guin's take on the afterlife is interesting (albeit pretty depressing).  Funnily enough, 'Tehanu' is very often panned in other reviews, but I actually quite enjoyed it.  It's a return to a more simple sort of fantasy story, but at the same time deals with some deep issues.  I also enjoyed the direction that Ged and Tenar's relationship takes, seeming so appropriate after what they've been through together.  Although, I'm not afraid to admit that the revelation about Tehanu surprised me less than the last time I looked down and saw feet.  The reason I've docked a point overall is that Le Guin's prose can sometimes seem really childish and simplistic.
4 out of 5
'The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts it's peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.'
The Other Wind
The fifth Earthsea novel.  Dragons harrass the lands of men and a sorcerer seeks the counsel of the wise when his dead wife begins to beckon to him from the lands of the dead.  I liked the characters Le Guin features here, particularly Alder, who is a humble everyman but eventually is the one who leads the mages of Roke in what must be done.  The author gets to further expand her concept of the afterlife, began in 'The Farthest Shore' and I liked the fact that it was man's own unnatural quest for immortality that leads into the grey lands of the afterlife, when other creatures return to the soil and are reborn.  A fitting continuation to the Earthsea series, I still have trouble with Le Guin's simplistic prose.
4 out of 5
'Sails long and white as swan's wings carried the ship Farflyer through summer air down the bay from the Armed Cliffs towards Gont Port.'
Tales From Earthsea
An anthology of short stories set in various periods of Earthsea's history.  There's always been something about Le Guin's writing that has bothered me, but which I've not been able to quantify.  Then, whilst reading the author's self-righteous introduction (in which she slams popular, pulp fantasy) to this book I suddenly realised what it was; she's too preachy.  The main focus of this preaching in this book is based around feminism and female equality.  I'm all for sexual equality, but here it's her own previous works which she's trying to retroactively correct.  You don't just suddenly realise 'hey, women should be equal with men' - especially if you're a woman yourself - and yet Le Guin seems to have done just that and then tried to find as many different ways to batter that into the reader as possible.  I would slate this book if it weren't for two things, the first of which is simply the extra information we get about the history of Earthsea (one of the stories is about the founding of the School on Roke and the book includes an essay about the languages, peoples and history of Le Guin's fantasy world).  The second is the novella-length story 'Dragonfly'.  I'd read it before, in the 'Legends' anthology (reviewed elsewhere on this site), but that was before I'd read any Earthsea books and it failed to capture my attention.  This time, however, I truly enjoyed it and found it to be the gem that redeemed this book as a whole.
4 out of 5
'After Elfarran and Morred perished and the Isle of Solea sank beneath the sea, the Council of the Wise governed for the child Serriadh until he took the throne.'

If you liked Le Guin:
Then you may well enjoy Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels.  If you specifically enjoyed reading about Ged's time at the wizard's school on Roke, then you might want to try the Harry Potter books.

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