Sunday, January 28, 2018


Let's say goodbye to Ursula K. Le Guin, who died last week.  She was one of the top science fiction writers, and wrote with the eye of a true anthropologist, suggesting how societies might do things differently from what we're used to.  And, as opposed to most sf writers, who are male, she did it while raising three kids.

She's well known for the Earthsea series and Hainish cycle, but I admit I only read a handful of her stories novels.  The two I remember best (maybe because they were the ones being talked about when I was most busily reading science fiction) are The Left Hand Of Darkness and The Lathe Of Heaven.

The former is about a world where people's gender is not fixed--a daring concept when it was published in 1969.  The latter is about a man who's dreams become reality, and the psychiatrist who tries to harness this power.

Le Guin would often approach her stories from a different angle .  For instance, the concept in The Lathe Of Heaven could become a story where the lead characters go on exciting and dangerous adventures.  Le Guin was more interested in the personal responsibility of having a power you can't control, and an investigation in general on how we can't control our destiny.

I haven't read her in years, but maybe I should go back and see how she holds up.


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