Ursula K. Le Guin is probably – outside of Bradbury and perhaps Octavia Butler– the most accepted science fiction writer in the literary crowd. She has a list of accomplishments that are too numerous for any one person to recall. Aside from that, though, her books and stories ask and answer important questions. Her prose is – again, outside of Bradbury – some of the best in the business and she writes like words are the fluid with which she breathes. Her influence on science fiction and on fantasy is undeniable. Her Tales of Earthsea are classics of fantasy and The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed are two of the most talked about science fiction novels of the last fifty years.
“The Shobies’ Story” seems to me like it must be her weakest work – admittedly that I have read, which is not much. Nothing makes sense until the end and then it only kind of makes sense. Not only is the story confusing but many times the reactions of the characters and the lines of description are as well. I think this is on purpose as the story is about confusion and trying to make sense out of it but it felt like it went too far and made it a chore to read.