It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
Interesting to see Wallace's side of the corresponance, too. Discussion of carbon uptake by plants. Earliest reference to biochemistry I've come across. When was carbon fixing by plants discovered?
Folk hero cum trickster spirit, El-ahrairah, goes on a quest to find the sense of smell for rabbits!
Correspondance with Wallace about geopgraphical distribution of species, dispersal mechanisms and the coming and going of continents ~100 years before any real understanding of how continental formation and destruction might actually occur.
A very brief re-telling of Adam, Eve, the Serpent and the Tree. More emphasis on Bible story exempla and less on preaching would improve this no end. It's hardly on a level with Patience or Cleanness.
The Word for World is Forest
Short and bitter-sweet. Le Guin's tale of abuse of technologically iron-age forest dwellers by space-faring Earthlings captures the horrors and of colonial rule and their causes. The technological disparity is easily understood as necessary and widely recognised but another essential factor is isolation. In Le Guin's case there's a 54 year communications turn-around, making the colony commander an effective despot. As soon as technology reduces this turn-around time to nil, the colonial system colapses because there is effective oversight. Looking instead to actual history, the Viceroy of India could do as he pleased, because the Empress Victoria was months away by the fasted communication method and therefore orders and policy were always behind reality. Add in assumed cultural superiority and the recipe for extreme abuse is complete.
Now, why do I say the book is bitter-sweet? After all the conclusion is that the colony is completely withdrawn and the natives are left to themselves. All is as it was before the arrival of men from Earth, or will be when the trees grow back. But not really - the cultural contact has changed the native people forever - they know what murder and war are now. Cultures can't come into contact without being changed - and in the case of colonial rule, one might be severely damaged or utterly destroyed.
Comparisons with Vietnam are obvious and acknowledged by Le Guin but there's a wider examination of colonialism, hatred of the "other" and avoidance of war going on, too.
The final Tale! It's a long one and not really any kind of narrative but rather a "handbook on penitance." Could be a bit of a slog, but it's an easier dialect than the Pearl manuscript or Piers Plowman, which have similar passages of religious instruction.
Caneletto as landscape painter: Well, they aren't full on cityscapes but architecture still seems at least as important as countryside.
So the stories in The Suicide Club and The Rajah's Diamond fit well the over-arching title, New Arabian Nights, in that the stories are serial and nested and involve a Prince more interested in adventure than affairs of State. They aren't Arabian, really, though, being set in Western Europe, contemporary to the author. Still amusing.