Happy Birthday Ursula Le Guin

Written By: - Date published: 2:37 pm, October 22nd, 2017 - 15 comments
Categories: books, discrimination, gender, sexism - Tags:


15 comments on “Happy Birthday Ursula Le Guin”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Not sure what to make of Ursula Le Guin really, both in science fiction and in fantasy she never quite made the top tier. I enjoyed The Dispossesed and The Lathe of Heaven, but rarely found anyone else who’d read them. A parallel may be Doris Lessing’s Shikasta series, which at the time I felt was better written. Most of Aldiss’s stuff wasn’t any better, though his Helleconia series was interesting. Doris Pischeria & CJ Cherryh got the genre a bit better I guess.

    • Richard Christie 1.1

      I’ve read 7 or 8 Le Guin titles, I certainly rate her in top tier of SF and Fantasy writers, along with Lord Dunsany. Both have utterly inimitable styles.

  2. I started reading her via the Earthsea Trilogy when I was a teenager (and later read it to my own kids). The Lathe of Heaven and City of Illusions are perfect 60s sci-fi – short, focused, ostensibly tales of the future but really about our society and nature. The Left Hand of Darkness is one of the great sci fi novels, and is about gender in a way that Brian Aldiss probably would struggle with.

  3. The Fairy Godmother 3

    I love all her work. “The left hand of darkness” is amazing as is the Rocanon’s world trilogy set in the Hainish universe. Her later books in the Earthsea series particulary “Tehanu” are good too with great ideas. I think it is the ideas and the social issues she brings up that I like the best. “The telling” set in the Hainish universe has some very interesting ideas about religion and attitudes to it. I rate her number one.

  4. eco maori 4

    I really like science fiction the best part is when fiction turns into fact I’m a sci fi fan but sorry Gerard that Movie of yours is good but implying that we could control mother nature is never going to happen .Sorry M8 But someone set you up to make a move that forecast US having the ability to fix up all the stuff ups that we are doing to mother Earth and control her that is pure fantasy and the climate change denier billionaires are feeding that money into influencing OUR reality that its ok to shit in your own back yard and technology will fix it all up . It will be ok for the 1 % but the rest of US will be in the shit.
    Ka Pai

    • Patricia Bremner 4.1

      Yes, they think they have enough money to create their own reality.

      They will probably end up like Howard Hughes with his Spruce Goose, trying to keep the world at bay.

  5. Tracey 5

    Well said that woman

  6. Drowsy M. Kram 6

    Yes, happy birthday, and thanks. Growing up, I read and re-read the first three Earthsea books.

    Some of her sci-fi novels (The Dispossessed; The Left Hand of Darkness) are so creative, and the insights and ideas (those that I understood) rewarding.

    Really enjoyed her short-story fiction too (Birthday of the World (compilation of earlier short stories); Changing Planes). Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up with Le Guin’s more recent writing, but based on sci-fi awards received she deserves ‘top-tier’ author status (as does Cherryh, IMO.)

  7. Ad 7

    Anyone like The Word for World is Forest?


    Very Avatar. Very Vietnam War.

  8. peterlepaysan 8

    That is such a lovely up front way of saying “no”, without apology,

    I love it!

  9. lprent 9

    When I offloaded my entire science fiction and fantasy collection in 2012 and shifted to epubs and a calibre server, the only authors that we retained out of my paper collection were Ursula Le Guin and Terry Pratchett (apart from a number of duplicates).

    Neither of us wanted to get rid of them. That made a vote of 2-0

    • Wonderpup 9.1

      Snap! I only kept novels that I knew I’d want to lend to people (and never expect back) , so the Pratchett and le Guin stayed.

      I took a bit of a survey of the reading I’d done for leisure over the last 12/18 months – virtually all fantasy and space opera, and realised it was all written by women. I certainly didn’t intend that to occur!

  10. ropata 10

    A nice quote:

    “We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.” –Ursula K. Le Guin pic.twitter.com/1gNLrNOsz7— Haymarket Books (@haymarketbooks) October 21, 2017

  11. David Denny 11

    Surprisingly, she had a lot to say, in a subtle manner, about shall we say the “Imperial” hegemony and its reverberations among the First Nations peoples.

    Her father, for example, undertook groundbreaking work in the various of the Americas’ surviving humana precolumbiana.

    It’s good to get a spotlight on how “others” see “us” and Ursula Le Guin certainly has a knack of bringing that out into the open. One of the many things I never spotted was her regular identification of the sympathetic protagonists as brown skinned.

    Us Anglos think we have all the right answers. That may be true, somewhere in the upper reaches of a scale of 1:10, but having the right answers is not the same as having the ability to deploy them.

    I live on the opposite shores of the Pacific and see many issues in parallel between ourselves and yours. Resolution of these may require a sea change in Anglo psychology! But for some of us, at least, Le Guin has cleared the ground a little.

    Thanks, Ursula.

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