Planet of Exile (1966)
by Ursula K Le Guin,
in Worlds of Exile and Illusion.
Orb Books, 1996.
Five thousand nights of Winter, five thousand days of it: the rest of their youth and maybe the rest of their lives.Chapter 14
Stranded for six centuries on a planet circling the star Gamma Draconis – Eltanin, ‘the serpent’s head’ – a community of humans live isolated in their coastal town called Landin, near a promontory rock to which it’s linked by a high causeway. They are known to their indigenous neighbours as ‘farborn’, and because they’re dark-skinned are visually distinct from the pale-skinned, golden-eyed inhabitants of the planet.
A further difference is that the highly intelligent life-forms (called ‘hilfs’ here) have a stone-age subsistence as well as culture – having no concept of the wheel, windows, or books – and in keeping with their ethical principles of non-interference with a less technologically advanced culture the farborns are careful to limit the reach of any innovations.
But two factors are coming together to upset the fragile standoff between the farborns in Landin and the hilfs in their incomplete settlement of Tevar. The severe planetary winter is coming, a season which lasts fifteen earth-years; and news is emerging of a mass migration south by the marauding Gaal, inimical to both communities. On a personal level a relationship is forming which will threaten any concerted action to counter the coming storms.Continue reading “Alike in dignity: #LoveHain”