This early work of Ursula Le Guin sees her in her period of writing more classical, "hard" science fiction; yet her personal fingerprint is fortunately still all over this story.
This is not a ground breaking piece of literature, it's a nice little well-rounded, bite-size, easily digestible and entertaining story, yet it still manages to discretely subvert many of the genre tropes and stereotypes and raise some interesting questions. And as always, no matter how great and imaginative world building and science fiction technology Le Guin creates, it is always the people who take front and center.
Stylistically, Le Guin hadn't quite found her stride yet when writing this book, it is not as well written as her later works. But it is still immensely enjoyable, and a snapshot of a one-woman literary revolution in its beginnings. And also just plain old entertaining and captivating.
Published Dec. 14, 1996 by Vista.