begins with a tale about how Sita Dulip discovered a method of transporting oneself to another plane of reality, whilst waiting for her delayed flight at the airport. There then follows a series of short stories about one person's trips and experiences to these alternate planes.
My favourites among these were:Seasons of the Ansarac
: About a semi nomadic race, who live on a world where there are four seasons, but each season lasts for 6 years. And still their way of life is set by the seasons. Every twelve years, the entire race of people migrate between 2 continents, and every 'year' (24 years in fact) there is a mating season.Porridge on Islac
: a world where the populace experimented freely with genetic modification, and as a result almost none of the human population is entirely human anymore. Some people are in fact part vegetable, which brought a whole new meaning to 'you are what you eat'.
Although I did like most of the stories, I couldn't keep listing them. Suffice to say they were all very innovative and thought provoking ideas. But I could see that each 'plane' had certain flaws in it's world building, where you could see that if LeGuin had attempted to embelish any more on them they were going to run into huge problems of physics or metaphysics, or some plot hole or other that was going to need too much crafty explaining... Makes me think that this book was LeGuin's round filing cabinet for ideas that were never going to make it as real novels. Nifty idea really, good for her, don't let an interesting idea go to waste!
Several of the stories, I did feel, were trying a little to push some kind of moral on the reader, which sometimes I find uncomfortable. It's a little hard to explain, but there was a lot to do with governments or authorities and oppression, or people attempting to interfere with another people's way of life.. it was a very Star Trek: The Next Gen feel to it, if anyone knows what I mean by that! :)
But of course I did like the book, and I would definately reccommend it.