by Chris Wayan, 2004
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More worlds? Planetocopia!
Unfortunately, my calculations suggest that this plain, on both the original Anarres and on Serrana, would be much drier than the regions to the south. Indeed, by its latitude and surroundings, the real Garden of Anarres should be the Ynlor/Rolny Peninsula to the southeast, described in the book as a thousand-mile stretch of uninhabitable sand spits, marshes and barrens. Oh well, it was a plot requirement...
Where was I? Oh yes, the capital. Well, the upper-middle Yanneba Valley will be hot and dry but watered by many streams from the high Sa Rethen Range to the north--a bit like inland California, and by gum, that's where its capital is, too! Okay, let's leave Serrana's capital there, but be sure to vacation elsewhere--downriver perhaps, where it's greener and more maritime. The Nede, as the delta is called, is a brackish pseudomangrove swamp with winding tree-lined channels, much like the Everglades but larger than the whole state of Florida. The Nede (rhymes with "Mayday") stretches between the mouths of the Yanneba and Nerrab Rivers. Its exact climate is debatable--but better than Sacramento...
So forget the lowlands. Here is where we'll find Abbenay--that city open to sun and wind, with no locks, no prisons, no cops, no laws, no rich, no poor, no money, no ads, no cars... just people following their callings--and all of it open to the street. (Sorry, Le Guin purists; I'm paraphrasing--I lent out my copy to friends, again).
Anyway. The old, cold, windy, dusty, near-Martian Anarres is back. It's just up at twelve thousand feet!
Well, and there's one other small change. Most of the anarchists in the wide streets of Abbenay are golden, fluffy llamas.
Llamas with hands.
They're Planians--amiable, stocky little cameloid centaurs.
And the streets of Abbenay are wide, all right--not to accomodate streetcars, but the rush of tourists during the summer fairs, including mammoths and taurlopes, raptors and hexapi, most of them gasping in the thin air and shivering even in their Planian ponchos, woven from their own long, fine wool...
You know, maybe that's why Planians are all so calm and confident. If I were my own cash crop...
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