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Publisher's Summary

The dazzling BBC Radio adaptations of Ursula K. Le Guin's famous fantasy saga and her groundbreaking science fiction masterpiece - plus bonus material.

Ursula K. Le Guin was one of the most revered and influential writers of the 20th century. Her Earthsea books have sold millions of copies and been translated into numerous languages, while her trailblazing novel The Left Hand of Darkness was a landmark in feminist science fiction and ranks among the greatest SF novels of all time. This BBC collection brings together the magical radio retellings of both these seminal classics.

Set on an immense archipelago where magic is a part of life, Earthsea tells the stories of Ged, a young, reckless wizard, and Tenar, taken from her home as a child to become Arha, guardian priestess of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. Meeting for the first time deep within the tombs, their destinies become intertwined, and they unite to bring peace to their troubled world. Years later, their paths have diverged - but when Ged returns to Tenar's island on a dragon's back, they are caught up in an epic battle for the future of Earthsea itself. Starring James McArdle, Shaun Dooley and Robert Glenister as Ged, and Aysha Kala, Vineeta Rishi and Nina Wadia as Tenar with Toby Jones and Noma Dumezweni.

The Left Hand of Darkness takes place on an alien world in the grip of an Ice Age. Genly Ai has been sent from Earth on a mission to persuade Gethen to join a planetary union, the Ekumen. But his task is fraught with difficulty. For this is a world whose people have no fixed gender, and Genly's encounters with the natives are marked by mutual incomprehension and mistrust. In coming to terms with their otherness and their sameness Genly must let go of his fixed ideas about identity and embark on a dangerous journey across the snow plains with his only ally, First Minister Estraven. The stakes are high to save a world from war. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith stars as Genly, with Lesley Sharp as Estraven.

Also included Ursula Le Guin at 85, in which novelist Naomi Alderman interviews Le Guin, with contributions from Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell and Karen Joy Fowler.

Production credits:

Written by Ursula K.Le Guin. Adapted by Judith Adams.

Earthsea

Ged - James McArdle/Shaun Dooley/Robert Glenister, Tenar - Aysha Kala/Vineeta Rishi/Nina Wadia, Young Ged - Kasper Hilton-Hille, Young Tenar - Nishi Malde, Ogion - Paul Hilton/Michael Bertenshaw, Manan - Zubin Varla, Cob - Toby Jones, Nilgu - Noma Dumezweni

Other cast: Souad Faress, David Hounslow, Adam Thomas-Wright, Mark Edel-Hunt, Jessica Turner, Lucy Hutchinson, Stephen Critchlow, Sam Dale, Ayesha Antoine, Richard Linnell, Jack Kane, David Acton, Chris Pavlo, Will Featherstone, Jude Akudwudike, Laura Elphinstone, Rosie Boore, Elizabeth Counsell, John Lightbody, Ryan Early, Stephen Hogan, Sean Murray, Emma Handy, Lauren Cornelius, Kerry Gooderson, Ryan Whittle, Steven Robertson, Joseph Ayre, Narinder Samra, Tom Vanson, Sabrina Sandhu.

Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko. Original music by Jon Nicholls. Sound design by Caleb Knightley.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4 Extra, 27th April-5th May 2015 (Series 1), 15th-22nd October 2018 (Series 2).

The Left Hand of Darkness

Genly Ai - Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Estraven - Lesley Sharp, Argaven - Toby Jones

Other cast: Louise Brealey, Noma Dumezweni, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh, Stephen Critchlow, David Acton, David Hounslow, Rhiannon Neads, Sam Dale, Ayesha Antoine.

Directed by Allegra McIlroy. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 12-19 April 2015 

Ursula Le Guin at 85

Presented by Naomi Alderman. With Ursula K. Le Guin, David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman and Karen Joy Fowler. Reader: Ayesha Antoine.

Produced by Allegra McIlroy. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 9th April 2015.

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about The Complete Earthsea Series & The Left Hand of Darkness

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Too much fluff and interruptions.

Great voice acting, music and production value.

Since it was for radio way too many into and outro credits that repeated and broke up the flow.

The adaptation I think shortened the main story too much which made the plot hard to follow.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-11-22

Adaptation is a travesty...

The way in which these novels have been adapted drains all meaning out of the narrative. I am a great fan of the Earth sea books, but they need to be presented as they were written, not have two stories chopped up and merged. Shockingly bad adaptation of excellent material

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  • Mr M Taylor
  • 01-18-22

A big disappointment

I never read the original books but they are a favourite of my daughter and they are an acknowledged classic of the fantasy genre. I was very disappointed with this adaptation, I didn't warm to the characters and the story didn't engage me it was all a bit flat. I guess that trying to fit it into the the half hour radio adaptation format meant too much was missed out. I couldn't even listen to the left hand of darkness it was so poor.