Trailblazing science fiction author Ursula Le Guin dies aged 88

Trailblazing science fiction author Ursula Le Guin dies aged 88

Darren Sullivan
January 25, 2018

She was talking specifically about what happens to women writers.

Writers and thinkers paid tribute on social media to the writer.

A documentary titled Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is now in post-production and is hoping to hit festivals soon.

"It probably hurts the sales of my realistic books like Searoad because it tends to get stuck into science fiction, where browsing readers that didn't read science fiction would never see it". "Godspeed into the galaxy", he wrote. "Some of them are written on my soul", tweeted British writer Neil Gaiman.

"I think hard times are coming", she says. Her mother was a writer and anthropologist and her father was an anthropologist.

Le Guin was a feminist and an environmentalist with deep interests in anarchism and taoism.

I removed the word because it made her uncomfortable.

Born Ursula Kroeber in Berkeley, Calif., on October 21, 1929, Le Guin became known for writing stories about sorcery and interplanetary conflict that infused feminist sensibilities and subverted ideas about gender. But she disliked Ernest Hemingway, and Philip Roth's literary enshrinement infuriated her (though Roth actually did write "The Great American Novel.") Her tastes are basic and visceral, she conceded.

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The books have since sold millions of copies worldwide, and were even turned into a feature length animated film in 2006, Tales From Earthsea. "I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated".

One line from The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), "It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end", is often attributed to Ernest Hemmingway. Thanks to its ingenious and thoroughly imagined alternatives to human gender and sexuality, the novel was a major success and won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.

To my mind, Le Guin's best book was her deceptively slim novella The Lathe of Heaven (1971).

Along with over 20 novels, Le Guin has also published over a hundred short stories, dozens of books of poetry, 13 children's books and more. Her early teaching career also included a brief stop on the Palouse. Le Guin's books resisted male-female power dynamics. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. She went on to explain, while deriding the corporatization of literature, that "We live in capitalism". So did the divine right of kings. You know, there were very few women writing sci-fi and fantasy in the '60s when she first began to publish.

Her son Theo Downes-Le Guin said she had been in poor health for months.

Ms. Le Guin had a form of feminism that she preferred to describe as humanism. "We not only love her; we need her". One thing that stands out about Le Guin's writing is her commitment to using the genres of science fiction and fantasy to not only reflect on our world, but to help us envision new ways of living. He writing spanned fantasy, science fiction and children's fiction.

I interviewed her for this site the year after she gave that speech, and she told me she was surprised by its reception. Her sharp-eyed compassion, and her ability to create tragically flawed but complex worlds, set a bar that the rest of us will struggle to meet.