review of Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel Planet of Exile

She shared nothing at all with him, but had met him and joined with him wholly and immediately across the gulf of their great difference: as if it were that difference, the alienness between them, that let them meet; and that in joining them together, freed them.

Two cultures that each see the other as less than fully human must face an existential threat together. There’s not much profound here, but I did enjoy it.

The natives call the aliens “farborns”, which personally I think sounds pretty badass. Meanwhile, the aliens use an acronym for “high-intelligence life-form” to refer to the natives: “hilfs”. That term made me viscerally uncomfortable every single time I read it…