Comments to Lorendiac's answer in this question pointed out an odd coincidence -- Ursula K. Le Guin may have used the same planet name ("Werel") to refer to different worlds in different stories:

The Wikipedia article for Four Ways to Forgiveness claims

This 'Werel' is not the same as the world called Werel in Le Guin's Planet of Exile and City of Illusions.

but there isn't any citation or explanation why.

Both novels are set in the "Hainish Cycle" universe and both involve liberation from slavery. In PoEx and CoI the Werelese are liberators but in FWtF they are the enslavers.

Is there any statement from LeGuin herself about any relation (or lack thereof) between the Werels in the two story sets, or is it inferred only from the text?

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    As an aside, in any sufficiently realistic work planet names will be deliberately duplicated, for much the same reason there is, e.g., more than one city named Dover, only more so. Jan 1, 2019 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


If you follow the source linked in the Wikipedia article it quotes LeGuin with saying in an open letter that she had "simply forgot" that she had used the name already. Also the planets are described differently. Screenshot from Google Books:

enter image description here

The book is: Erlich, Richard D. (2009). Coyote's Song: The Teaching Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin. Milford series: Popular writers of today. 72. Wildside Press. p. 432. ISBN 9781434457752.

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    I'm always loath to quote from preview-only Google Books sources, especially given LeGuin's fierce vocal opposition to what she perceived as Google's disregarding of copyright. It would be great to see the "Open Letter" itself.
    – Spencer
    Jan 1, 2019 at 17:50
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    @Spencer, personally I'd loathe to leave my wife's sick bed to drive home and pick the book from the shelf just so I can quote it first hand, so Google books is all that you'll get from me. I may understand your feelings about this, but that doesn't make the answer wrong. Jan 1, 2019 at 17:59
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    @Eike You have my upvote but there's the matter of the prudent 24-hour soak before accepting an answer (in addition to Valorum's providing a great source for an edit).
    – Spencer
    Jan 1, 2019 at 18:10
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    @V2Blast: Even if a screen reader could OCR the text, it won't, because the image's alt text is set to "enter image description here" (so that's what the screen reader will say).
    – Kevin
    Jan 2, 2019 at 5:37
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    @Spencer, sorry, my comment came out all wrong, didn't it? I just wanted to point out that I did not deprive any author of his royalties, since that seems to worry you. Google books was just a convenience while I am not at home. Jan 2, 2019 at 12:18

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