Mar 6, 2010

4) The Word for World Is Forest

Original Title: The Word for World is Forest
Turkish Title: Dünyaya Orman Denir
English Title: The Word for World is Forest
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Pages: 119
Rating: 3/5
Applicable Challenges: 50 Books A Year
It was right after I’d seen the movie, “Avatar” when I read an article in a well-respected Turkish newspaper (Cumhuriyet) about the books that inspired the director of the movie, James Cameron. Actually, Cameron himself didn’t declare his official inspiration list but the author of article was strongly claiming that this book was the core of the story. I had really liked the movie although I agree with the people who argue that similar stories have been told many times. At the end I decided to read the book and asked my husband to ask a random bookstore to see if the book was available in Turkish. I was surprised to see my husband holding the book in his hand when he came home that night.
It is a science fiction novel printed in the late 1970s. In a far future, the humans from Earth establish a colony together with a military base called “New Tahiti” on a planet called Athshe. This is a really nicely described planet covered with trees and inhabited by small, green-furred, big-eyed Athsheans. Athshe in the Athshean language means forest. The humans cut down the trees, plant farms, build mines and enslave indigenous people. The Atsheans have hard time understanding what was going on in their home land as they have never faced slavery before. Then, one of the Atsheans starts to resist. I do not want to give any further information about the story but what I have already written gives a quite good idea about how similar the story is to that of Avatar’s.
I didn’t like the book as much as I thought I would. I kept marking the similarities between the book and the movie, Avatar and I was kind of lost at times and had to reread. I do not know the reason but I couldn’t stop doing it till I finish the book and at the end I was not really satisfied with what I tried to read. I give a poor rating but I do not know if it is me or the movie or the book itself to blame.

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