Ursula K. Le Guin RIP


#1
  1. According to her son she was in poor health for months.

Science fiction/fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin dies at 88
#2

Haha, Discourse thinks you wanted to make a numbered list with a single entry that starts at 88.


#3

Oh no! I loved her Earthsea books growing up.


#4

Markdown does. Trivially easy to get past, see http://commonmark.org/help

Hint: there is a specific key on your keyboard that can help here.

Also

Ursula Le Guin’s National Book Awards speech in 2014 is one of the finest and most inspirational I’ve ever seen. It bowled me over then and continues to do so every time I watch it.


#5

One of America’s greatest living national treasures is now just one of America’s greatest national treasures.

She could write stories from the perspective of the most powerful people (A Wizard of Earthsea) and the basest underdogs (“The Word For World Is Forest”). She wrote stories where the character could reshape reality (“The Lathe of Heaven”) and stories where the reader would never be the same (“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”). She could present interesting and original views of the interstellar future (The Left Hand Of Darkness, The Dispossessed) and uniquely plausible portions of Eastern Europe just adjacent to where the passport station in Papers, Please and the Grand Budapest Hotel stood. (The Orsinian Tales). Even her blog entries about her cat were charming.

This would be a damned shame if she hadn’t lived such a full life with such a vast and magnificent literary output. RIP.


#6

A very thoughtful writer. My favourite was The Lathe of Heaven along with the Earthsea books.


#7

Wasn’t she irrationally anti-GMO and stuff though? Oh wait no that was my mom, Margaret Atwood.


#8

Apart from Earthsea, I’d like to recommend her collection Changing Planes, which I believe most people are unaware of. It’s superb.


#9

I was a huge fan of Earthsea, as well as the many Hainish Cycle books, including The Left Hand of Darkness, which I read as kid.


#10

Me too. They were one of my first introductions to fantasy.


#11

I will have to try Changing Planes again, because the first time I tried I kind of lost interest midway through.


#12

Does anyone remember the name of the short story about a group of humans who were on an Allen planet eating the local fauna. Everything was going well until something wakes up. I’m trying to find the book in her bibliography but don’t know which one it is. I’m pretty sure it was a short story or novella.

Edit: it’s called “Vaster than Empires and More Slow” I recommend it to all, deeply chilling, especially the end.


#13

Certainly one of the guiding forces in SF for the past 50 years, and probably the foremost proponent of sociological SF. A generational force, a great part of what made the 70s in SF such an important decade. She will be missed.


#14

I remember noticing my 7th grade English teacher reading The Left Hand of Darkness during study hall back in 78. I can still see that old cover.


#15

Oh, man. Her writing was immensely important to me, especially in my teens and early 20s.

The Dispossessed
The Left Hand of Darkness
Searoad
A Fisherman of the Inland Sea
Rocannon’s World
Earthsea
The Wind’s Twelve Quarters
The Language of the Night
Orsinian Tales

I feared this day would come soon. RIP.


#16

It might come as no surprise to people who’ve read The Farthest Shore and also observed my screen name, but the Earthsea series was pretty foundational for me. I owe things about how I see the world to this woman. Rest in peace.


#17

@Chappers, “Vaster than Empires and More Slow” and “The Word for World is Forest” were something of a piece together, I always thought (and, man, fuck you James Cameron). If you’ve read the former but not the latter I highly recommend giving it a read.

I loved Earthsea, too, and it was hugely formative on my literary tastes and worldview. I never could get through Lord of the Rings, but I reread the Earthsea books many times. Sure, decades before Harry Potter existed, my young self was captivated by the idea of a school for magic, but more importantly, it was just the lack of the big, epic quest- “A Wizard of Earthsea” was mostly a simple story about a person coming to terms with the darkness inside himself. Similarly, “The Tombs of Atuan” with its female protagonist and her quiet struggle with unasked-for faith and power in a patriarchal society, with who she is and what she can do was similarly ‘simple’ but just as amazing.

And so on. The world is a little darker by her passing, but much brighter for her life. Pretty much the best eulogy anyone could ask for, in my opinion.


#18

Huh. I don’t think I’ve come across someone before who like that the most. I really like it, mainly because it’s her most PK Dickian work, and I really really like PK Dick, but I still don’t think it’s as good as, say, The Left Hand Of Darkness or The Dispossessed.


#19

You guys have seen the video adaptation of Lathe, yes?


#20

Yes, that’s probably why I really like Lathe. That being said, Let Hand of Darkness is a really close second asa favourite for me.