Monday, October 06, 2008

The Wicker Man: a Rock Opera about the Ultimate Sacrifice

The first thing you need to know about the current production of The Wicker Man as a rock opera currently playing in San Francisco through Oct. 25 is that it is essentially a community-theater production of the original film. I like community theater, but it has its limitations. In this case, those limitations include a postage-stamp-sized stage, and no scenery beyond a reasonably deft faux stained-glassed window which is covered up after the first scene. Given those limitations, the production is a qualified delight.

The venue is The Dark Room, a seedy bar in the Mission which has been somewhat converted into a seedy theater. The bar remains along the left-hand wall serving as the home of the light and sound boards. Surprisingly, the sound system is audiophile-level superb and effortlessly and accurately delivered the casts' voices. The theater seats maybe a hundred and a BYOB (beer mostly) crowd of, maybe, forty showed up for Saturday night's show. I sat immediate in front of DAN FOLEY's (Captain, Harbormaster and Photographer) affable Mom and Aunt.

The script is quite faithful to the 1973 movie. I'm guessing that roughly half of the dialog is taken straight from the film. The setting has been moved "an island across the Bay", and the period is nebulous. The time-line is compressed a bit, as is the running time (maybe 85 minutes here from 100 in the movie). Minor changes to the film occur throughout. Summerisle's (STEFFANOS X) first name is "Lord", for instance, and May Morrison (ERIN LUCAS) is a tailor. The imaginary Wicker Man is placed prominently in the middle of the village green. Essentially, this stage production is The Wicker Man (1973) minus the music of Paul Giovanni plus the music of Jim Fourniadis.

The music is serviceable and suggestive of rock operas of the era (Hair,Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar) though a bit less ambitious. The rock-combo orchestrations are pre-recorded but the cast and sound-guy easily hit all the cues. The first song, a brief sermonette on a passage from Job sung by the lead, FLYNNE DE MARCO (Sargeant Neil Howie), and the finale, a contrapuntal piece between the chorus of Pagan islanders and Sergeant Howie, are both pretty good (I'm a sucker for polyphony). "The Landlord's Daughter" from the original is sung in its entirely, and a verse of "The Tinker of Rye" is sung by DAN FOLEY in an awkward scene transition.

The performances are enthusiastic and fairly broad. DE MARCO anchors the show reasonably well. He had some pitch problems in the first song, but his nerves seemed to settle thereafter. His Sergeant Howie references Woodward's fairly closely. STEFFANOS X's Lord Summerisle is suitably charismatic, and KHAMARA PETTUS' Willow is pretty and appropriately burlesque (probably the only reasonable choice given the lack of nudity or, you know, even stage walls). The various bit players generally suit their roles. Props to MIKL-EM for gamely playing the role of an eight-year old girl (Myrtle Morrison) in addition to the Grave Digger and the Doctor.

All in all, the show is well worth the price, and I recommend Bay Area Pagans checking it out. If you like the 1973 film, then this show is a lively and small variation on the same material. Be sure to bring a beer in a brown paper bag (or you will feel horribly out of fashion) and enjoy the romp.

Here's some textual criticism of the show from a Pagan perspective. Both the show and original film are largely unaware of Neo-Paganism (the show includes a invocation of the elements at the sacrifice which is not present in the film suggesting some additional familiarity), and that's okay. Do we, after all, really want to be portrayed as a community capable of conspiring to human sacrifice? Been there, done the Satanic Panic of the 80's. However, I do feel that the show misses some opportunities in its update.

Sergeant Howie's Scottish Presbyterian evangelicalism is quite a different flavor to that we are more familiar with in the US. Howie's faith is stern, austere, and ascetic. It might be more interesting to explore the character as a more scary kind of US evangelical: outgoing, compelled to witness no matter how awkward the situation, and utterly convinced that there existed a golden era of traditional, Red-state values no matter how little evidence there is that such an era actually existed. I expect that the character of Sergeant Howie would relate much more to the sufferings of Paul than Job, for instance.

Similarly, it might be more interesting to tie the Summerislanders closer to California, if that's where you wish to set the play. California was the home of The Peoples Temple and Heaven's Gate, after all, and a bunch of us go out to the desert every year to burn a giant figure of a man. FBI Agent Howie at Burning Man? Am I wrong or does it almost write itself?

But, of course, that would not be the Wicker Man. Nevertheless, the show might be a spicier if it incorporated more of the languages of both modern evangelicalism (WWJD, Jesus is my boyfriend, etc.) and modern Paganism (theoretical support for polyamory, anti-patriarchal rhetoric, fanatical Green lifestyle, etc.).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thoughts On Duotheism

So, back when I was in the fifth and final semester of training for The Third Road, I somehow got into my mind that I should write an ancient holy book. And so I told a couple of my oldest and dearest friends that I was doing so, and asked them what they'd like to see included. They both happen to be gay, and so one said "gay marriage". It was 1997 and I was reading The Witches Bible by the Farrars as I rode across the Bay on a ferry at dawn because BART was on strike.

The Third Road is an off-shoot of Feri Tradition, and so duotheism does not play as central of a role as it does in Wicca. In Anderson's Feri Creation Myth (a version of which can be found in Spiral Dance) the Great White Goddess splits of into two other Goddesses and then three other Gods, one of which (Dian Y Glas) becomes Her Consort and partner.

The question I had to address as I worked on The Book of Nub was how could placing a heterosexual couple at the center of everything not be biased against non-monogamous, non-heterosexuals? I came up with several possibilities and used at least three in the piece.

First, there was this idea of transformation that is already inherent in the Feri Creation Myth. Perhaps, the sexuality of the Gods is fluid. Affirming that viewpoint would allow the pair of Gods to be at the center of everything, and, thus, their relationship could be the mythological basis supporting all homosexual and heterosexual pairings. But, then, why only two? I could imagine the Gods splitting and interacting in ways that support all healthy human interactions. But, then, why human? Was I really going to have to tell a story that would cover the thousands of mating types of some fungal sexuality? Going down this path was getting messy. I intuited that the myth was losing power.

So how about putting Goddess and God back at the center of everything, and argue that even if gays and lesbians could not relate to their relationship, they could at least acknowledge that they were the children of one man and one woman? Bleh. I want my passion for my lover and not the passion of my parents to be reflected in the passion of my Gods for each other. However worthy my parents' passion is for each other, it's not my passion. How could I accept less for homosexual brothers and sisters?

Why did I find the sexual passion of the Gods for each other as so affirming of our existence? Why did I find it so powerful? The Wiccans use the term "polarity" to describe the forces that drive the universe. The attraction of oppositely charged particles and, indeed, all physical forces are seen to be mythologically connected to the sexual attraction between Goddess and God. There is a huge, powerful idea in there that I wanted in my book.

The one thing that every healthy sexual encounter has, no matter what its stripe, is that it is one being reaching toward another. The thing that I found most powerful in Wiccan duotheism is that idea that this raw connection between my self and an other in sexual intimacy reflects and encapsulates the similar intimacy the greater Powers that drive the All That Is. Every human could certainly relate to their self interacting with an other (or others) in that dance of sexual attraction. Thus, the first pervading version of duotheism in The Book of Nub is that between Self and Other. We are Selves striving for that intimate connection to the Goddess as Other, and She reciprocates and epitomizes and fulfills that attraction in Her relationship to God and to the Universe.

But what is the best way to express how God and Goddess are intimately interconnected? Francesca (my teacher) saw the Goddess as the darkness between the stars and the God as "...the light that emerges from the darkness to fructify it." That is, They are a mutually arising pair of opposites. I thought about Mother Earth and Father Time, and thought that another way to think of Them is as space and time, providing the ground for everything to be and become. And so this second approach to duotheism that I incorporated into The Book of Nub.

But, still, even though I spent an entire chapter showing how the God and Goddess' relationship affirms all committed human relationships, I did not feel that this fully affirmed good gay sex. And so I brought in some lesser Gods and Goddesses to show how purely gay and lesbian relationships might drive our world as well. Thus, Nub 8: 10-12 reads "The beautiful Goddess of Shore lies naked before Her lover Goddess Ocean. The romance of the Full Moon excites Them, and the Ocean licks deep the sacred hollows of Shore. In wave after wave of delight They come together, and the roar of Their Passion never ceases." (As a typical heterosexual male, I must say I find those lines hot, if I do say so myself. Oh, why must we fetishize the lesbians?)

And so to summarize my duotheistic ontology, I believe that the center motive that drives our Universe is that reaching out between Self and Other. The Goddess brings others into being that She and we might experience that longing, that lust and that love. The Goddess and the God are the exemplars of that Passion which drives the All That Is, and, indeed, it is within Them as space and Time that we have our being. Between us and Them are myriads of being including other powerful Gods and Goddess whose lust for each other drives particular systems within this Universe as well.

After all this material was worked out and written down, Francesca coincidentally afforded my fellow students and I the chance to do a small ritual with Fred Lamond who was one of Gardner's initiates. He's a lovely, lovely gentleman, and after the ritual we got a-talking about Wicca and thealogy, as one might hope. I read for him Nub 4: 1-2:
The Goddess delights in Darkness as well as Light, in silence as well as sound, in the transformation of death as well as the growth in life. The Goddess darkens like the Moon. She is the silence of mystery. She enfolds you soft within Her arms at every transition of Life to Death and Death to Life. For all meaning is rooted in contrast, and She is the Mother of Wisdom.

She is the trellis upon which the vines of being grow. Everything is rooted in the same material and clings to the same structure as it reaches toward the Light of its Godhood. Her manna is your uniqueness discovered in your isolation from the Other. Her nectar is the oneness you find in your connection to, immersion in and embracing of the Other. You eat and are, in turn, consumed, "for all things feed one another."

Truly, there is but one polarity: that between Self and Other, and any other duality is merely a lesson about that polarity. Love and Hate, Man and Woman, Light and Darkness, positive and negative electric charges are merely signposts on the path to Godhood. When you claim your Self, you claim the Universe.

We then talked about polarity in Wiccan terms, and he politely disagreed with my ontology. Theirs was a fertility religion, he said. It's a sexual energy between a Goddess and God which drives everything. And so I do not think that I could convince any Wiccan that my vision is correct. Nevertheless, it was an extreme honor to get to talk to him about the topic.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Least Read Book Meme

This meme started at obake, but I learned of it at Montykins.

Bold: Read.
Underlined Read for school.
Italic: Started but never finished.
Asterisk*: Liked well enough to reread or recommend.

The Aeneid
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys*

Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged

The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian : a novel
The Hobbit*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Iliad
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
Jane Eyre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell*

The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi : a novel
Love in the Time of Cholera
Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Dalloway
The Mists of Avalon*
Moby Dick
The Name of the Rose

Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
The Once and Future King*
One Hundred Years of Solitude

On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Oryx and Crake : a novel
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion

The Sound and the Fury
A Tale of Two Cities
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
The Three Musketeers
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down

White Teeth
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West*
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Recommended Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

I wrote this list several years ago and ran out of steam towards the end, but it's a good summary of my favorites.

1. Shockwave Rider, John Brunner

Distopian vision of a time not too far from now when the rate of change has gotten too high for most people to cope. The main character is an ultra-talented hacker searching for wisdom. He finds it in a small Utopian Californian town from whence he launches a digital revolution using computer viruses. Written before the advent of PC’s.

2. Stand On Zanabar, John Brunner

Distopian vision of a time not too far from now when population pressure has gotten too high for most people to cope. The novel weaves together many styles. It has two main plot lines and a raft of secondary characters which flesh out this remarkable vision.

3. Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

A truly remarkable novel about prejudice, redemption and cultural misunderstanding. The main character, Andrew (Ender) Wiggins from Enders Game is a socio-religious sleuth trying to explain the deaths of several people in the small human settlement on a planet containing the only other sentient race we have found but haven’t exterminated. Chock full of unexpected revelations that lead to healing.

4. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Andrew (Ender) Wiggins is a young boy with a talent for military strategy who is being trained to stop the threat of alien invaders. Will he be trained in time to make a difference? A gripping read.

5. Dune, Frank Herbert

The one source for the drug that allows faster than light space travel is the planet Dune. Political intrigue about the control of Dune in an interstellar empire revolves around the son of a star-lord. The novel explodes into a struggle for religious and ecological salvation.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis

Fantasy for young adults about a magical place called Narnia that you can to get from here. Right and wrong are obvious, and the children who find their way to Narnia become better people from the experience.

7. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

There is a great evil in Middle Earth threatening to conquer all. If the evil Sauron can recover His One Ring, then all will be lost. If the forces of Good can destroy the Ring, all will be saved. Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, Troll, Wizards and Orcs all inhabit a tale full of deception, betrayal, valor, rebirth, desperation and struggles against long odds.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov

An interstellar dark age is coming, and one man (Harry Seldon) has the mathematics to prove it. Will his efforts and those of his successors be able to minimize the darkness?

9. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester

People have figured out how to teleport themselves around, but their range is limited. Can anyone figure out how to jump further to interplanetary distances? The answer rests in the mind of a deranged man suffering from synesthesia.

10. Norstrillia, Cordwainer Smith

Drugs providing the indefinite prolongation of human life are produced only on one planet from giant diseased sheep. With the help of an heirloom battle-computer one boy corners the market on the immortality elixir and buys Earth and everything on it. He goes there and receives the psychological healing he seeks from the wisdom of a cat-man and the love of a beautiful cat-woman.

11. The Lensman Series, E. E. “Doc” Smith

Good Guys vs. Bad Guys in a militaristic showdown which spans two galaxies. The Bad Guys have a ruthless, compassionless hierarchy. The Good Guys have a ruthless, compassionate hierarchy. An arms race between the two advances with each book in the series. Oh, yeah, and the Bad Guys sell drugs.

12. Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert Heinlein

The only survivor of a expedition to Mars is a boy who was conceived on the way there and is subsequently raised by Martians. He returns to Earth and discovers what it means to be human and establishes a polyamorous, love-without-limits cult.

13. Jesus On Mars, Philip Jose Farmer

Reviewing a photographic mapping of Mars, scientists discover a human-sized door on the surface with the letters Alpha and Omega inscribed on it. An expedition is sent and discovers under the surface a human settlement of Jews lead by a being claiming to be Jesus. The conservative Christian leader of the expedition has to grapple with the difference between his version of Christianity and that being practiced by the settlement.

14. Time Enough For Love, Robert Heinlein

Lazarus Long was born at the turn of the 20th Century and has lived a couple thousand years. He has become bored and depressed. In searching for something he hasn’t done, several stories of his long life are told. Ultimately, to cheer him up, scientists figure out how to send him back in time where he lives out an oedipal fantasy with his mom.

15. The Centrifugal Rickshaw Dancer, William John Wadkins

The Lagrange Corporation owns Earth as well as the habitations orbiting the Earth. A revolution is fomenting in the Grand Sphere, the largest of the habitations in space. This cyberpunk predecessor is full of inventive language and plot twists.

16. Going to See the End of the Sky, William John Wadkins

Urdon Wee is dead and leading the revolution against the Corporation. He achieved enlightenment by being kissed by a beautiful woman, being punched in the face by a strong man and drinking a powerful drug within seconds of each other. Now, his vision of the future of humanity conflicts with that of the man who punched him, and their struggle is played out through the control and influence of the lives of three children from Catchcage.

17. Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

The children of the village have all simultaneously fallen into a mysterious coma. Number Ten Ox seeks the help of Lee Kao (who has a slight flaw in his character). The master and the young villager sleuth their way through a series of adventures which not only saves the lives of the children but also corrects a wrong which has troubled the Heavenly Emperor for centuries.

18. Out On Blue Six, Ian MacDonald

Computer programs have evolved to be smarter than people, and so people’s lives are benignly controlled by software gods. A very few are dissatisfied with being defined and controlled, and a young yuppie-caste cartoonist follows her dreams of something more into a rag-tag group of guerrilla-theater actors and into the arms of an incarnated software god. Oh, yeah, and there is an intensely loyal army of genetically enhanced raccoons.

19. The Saraband of Lost Time, Richard Grant

Richard Grant’s first novel. A haunting and strange story of a war that nobody really understands.

20. Tex and Molly in the Afterlife, Richard Grant

Tex and Molly die at the end of the first chapter, and their adventures begin. Can they save a forest in Maine from the introduction of a genetically ruthless species of conifer designed by the evil forestry mega-corp? Will their ecological protest group survive their disappearance? What do the mites have to do with all of this?

21. Startade Rising, David Brin

It seems like every chapter in this novel introduces an idea that would normally be the basis for a sci-fi novel of its own. Let’s see. The nearest five galaxies, including our own, are thoroughly populated by an ancient intergalactic culture. Planets are generally allowed to go fallow once a species has ended its life-span and new species are uplifted to sentience by the old. The prestige of a species is measured by how many species it has uplifted. Earth was somehow forgotten, and Humanity is an unheard-of “wolfling” species. We have the audacity to question the way things are done and foment an intergalactic power struggle by discovering artifacts that are possibly those of the First Ancestors. The ship which made the tempestuous discovery is mostly crewed by dolphins uplifted by men. The novel plots their efforts to elude the armadas which are chasing them and reach a political accord in which humanity won’t be destroyed.

22. The Mists of Avalon, Miriam Zimmer Bradley

A retelling of the legend of Arthur from the perspective of Morgana. Thoroughly feminist and pagan.

23. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

The novelization of the outstanding comedy-sci fi radio series. The Earth gets destroyed in the first chapter. Arthur Dent is mostly the only human survivor. He and a strange group of beings seek the reasons why. The mice, after all, were very upset about it.

24. The Restaurant of the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams

Arthur Dent’s adventures continue. Arthur and his friends (?) are blown-up and find themselves at the end of time where there is a really posh restaurant (“It’s not so much an afterlife as an apres vie.”) Oh, yeah, and Marvin, the paranoid android, repeatedly sticks his head in a bucket of water.

25. A Mask for General, Lisa Goldstein

Post-apocalyptic Berkeley is the setting for a novel about how Art conquers all.

26. Dangerous Visions, Harlan Elison, Ed.

Still the greatest sci-fi short-story collection of all time. It includes Farmer’s “Riders of the Purple Wage”, a fantastic novella about what it means to be an artist; Leiber’s “Going To Roll The Bones”, a surreal fantasy about dicing with the devil, the choices we make and taking the long way home; and Sturgeon’s “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister”, a novella about the relativism of morality.

27. Rite of Passage, Alexei Panshin

The children of a huge interstellar ship are admitted into adulthood only after undergoing a survival trial on a planet. A lovely novel about the process of becoming an adult.

28. Door Into Fire, Diane Duane

A sword and sorcery adventure in a land with no homophobia, and where the Goddess is known and loved by all (literally by a few lucky adventurers). Centers on a man who has the gift of magic which is rare for men there. In addition, to an on-again, off-again relationship with a handsome prince, he falls in love with a fire elemental.

29. So You Want to Be a Wizard?, Diane Duane

A young girl learns to defend herself from bullies after she discovers a magical book in the public library which teaches her how to be wizard. But every wizard must confront The Adversary, an embodiment of the entropic forces of the Universe.

30. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle

A magical novel about the joy of individuality. A group of normal Earth children confront an oppressive, conformist culture on a distant planet.

31. The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper

The seventh son of a seventh son is introduced to magic in an extremely Celtic adventure in a modern setting.

32. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clark

Mankind’s saviors are aliens that look like the classic depiction of the Devil. They stop the warfare and bring advancements, but what are their true intentions?

33. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

The main character is killed in the first paragraph. He awakens on an earth transformed into one long, meandering river along with everyone else who has ever lived. How the heck did that happen and why?

34. The Darkover books, Miriam Zimmer Bradley

Darkover is a planet that was settled in an early colonization effort. Isolated from the rest of human interstellar culture for a long time, it has developed a unique culture of its own, a patriarchal feudal culture lead by psychics. The books explore themes of feminism in an extremely patriarchal culture and the impact of technology on indigenous cultures.

35. The Once and Future King,, E. B. White

The full Arthurian cycle in the form of a twentieth century novel.

36. Dahlgren, Samuel R. Delany

A strange novel about what it means to be an artist. Set in a mildly futuristic city somehow cut-off from the rest of the world in its own private apocalypse.

37. On Wings of Song, Thomsa Disch

With the help of electronic stimulation, some people can liberate their conscious from their bodies. However, the vast majority of the United States has become oppressively conservative and so “flying” is taboo except in the decaying liberality of the cities. The story of a small town boy who never learns to fly but sparks a cultural revolution by singing about it.

38. The Thomas Covenant Trilogy, Stephan Donaldson

Thomas is an author in a small American town who has contracted Hanson’s disease: Leprosy. He hits his head and finds himself in a fantasy world where he is instantly healed. He can not afford to believe in the reality of the world he finds himself because he would lose the diligence necessary to survive with the disease. And yet everyone looks to him to be a hero. An innovative fantasy trilogy with an ending that avoids being clichéd.

39. On a Pale Horse, Piers Anthony

A suicidally depressed man in a world of technology and magic attempts to shoot himself, but instead accidentally kills Death who was coming for him. The man becomes Death, but decides to be a compassionate one in the face of temptations from the Devil.

40. Pilgrimage and No Different Flesh, Zenna Henderson

The People crash landed on the Earth at the turn of the century. Most live in an isolated, insular settlement on Mount Baldly but a few got scattered in the crash. The People seem to be human, but have psychic powers like flight and telekinesis. Cited in the English translation of the Nag Hamadi Library as a modern literary work exhibiting gnostic themes.

41. The Bast Mysteries, Rosemary Edghill

Bast is the magical name of a neo-pagan New Yorker who repeatedly finds herself in the middle of another mysterious murder. The best exploration of the modern witchcraft movement and its culture to date.

42. Lord Valentine’s Castle, Robert Silverberg

43. Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolf

44. The Illuminatus Trilogy, Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

The ultimate paranoid conspiracy and Erisian fantasy novels of all time. The governments of the world are controlled by layer after layer of secret organizations and nefarious cabals. At the center of the web are the Illuminati. Strongly influenced by the Principia Discordia, and brilliant in its own right.

45. Lord of Light, Robert Zelazny

46. The Earthsea series, Ursula K. Leguin