Ursula K Le Guin, 1929-2018

Malcolm Redfellow

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
4,403
Website
redfellow.blogspot.com
Twitter
mredfellow
I remember well coming upon The Wizard of Earthsea soon after it appeared in paperback — so that must be around 1970. The Earthsea trilogy was sold as a cross-over from "young adult" to adult fiction: I found it a useful follow-up recommendation for wannabe readers who needing something after The Hobbit.

I hope I recognised The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed not just as fine SF, but as good literature. I doubt I was I aware of it at the time, but her Kropotkinite anarchism was probably close to my ideal world.

Her feminism and environmentalism, for the rather butch and chauvinist genre that then was SF, were game-changers.

Now she is dead, aged 88. As John O'Hara said of the death of George Gershwin: I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Le Guin, Hugh Masekela and "Rosie the Riveter" all in a weekend. I fear to open the newspaper.
 


GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
She was an excellent writer who could conjure up a believable description in a sentence.

However, I was disappointed with her last novel in the Earthsea series. Although the story was excellent, she did not stick to the style of the earlier novels and thus it seems quite out of place.

I have read all of her novels, and some of her other works.

So thank you for these Ursula K. Le Guin.
 

macedo

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
1,044
I remember well coming upon The Wizard of Earthsea soon after it appeared in paperback — so that must be around 1970. The Earthsea trilogy was sold as a cross-over from "young adult" to adult fiction: I found it a useful follow-up recommendation for wannabe readers who needing something after The Hobbit.

I hope I recognised The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed not just as fine SF, but as good literature. I doubt I was I aware of it at the time, but her Kropotkinite anarchism was probably close to my ideal world.

Her feminism and environmentalism, for the rather butch and chauvinist genre that then was SF, were game-changers.

Now she is dead, aged 88. As John O'Hara said of the death of George Gershwin: I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Le Guin, Hugh Masekela and "Rosie the Riveter" all in a weekend. I fear to open the newspaper.
The Left Hand of Darkness almost converted me to Science Fiction (and ambisexuality).
 

Finbar10

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
2,580
I remember well coming upon The Wizard of Earthsea soon after it appeared in paperback — so that must be around 1970. The Earthsea trilogy was sold as a cross-over from "young adult" to adult fiction: I found it a useful follow-up recommendation for wannabe readers who needing something after The Hobbit.

I hope I recognised The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed not just as fine SF, but as good literature. I doubt I was I aware of it at the time, but her Kropotkinite anarchism was probably close to my ideal world.

Her feminism and environmentalism, for the rather butch and chauvinist genre that then was SF, were game-changers.

Now she is dead, aged 88. As John O'Hara said of the death of George Gershwin: I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Le Guin, Hugh Masekela and "Rosie the Riveter" all in a weekend. I fear to open the newspaper.
Thanks! I was saddened to spot some of her obituaries this morning. She was one of my favourite writers. I was actually going to create a thread on this tonight if nobody else had gotten around to it by then (so nice to see other fans here :) ). My first encounter with her work was as a teenager with the Earthsea books (fantasy novels with wizards and dragons). I went back and read the series again as an adult (plus the additional books that had been added: Tehanu, the Other Wind etc.) and it really stood the test of time. I'd rank it up there with Tolkien (though very different in feel). She had some great scifi books also, e.g. The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed (both touching on politics: feminist anarchist themes run though a lot of her works). Both of those won all the major scifi awards. Her writing was excellent literature in its own right (not just in scifi terms). There was a strong spiritual feel to a lot of her writing too (I found a lot of her books good food for the soul). She was quite into Eastern spirituality, in particular Taoism. For example, she published a very good translation of the Tao Te Ching.

Some obituaries here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/obituaries/ursula-k-le-guin-acclaimed-for-her-fantasy-fiction-is-dead-at-88.html
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/24/ursula-k-le-guin-margaret-atwood-tribute


She had only very recently published a collection of highlights from her blog (never to old to start blogging!), poignantly and presciently titled, "No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters".

Anyway, I'll finish with an Earthsea quote which seems appropriate:
Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk's flight
On the empty sky.
 
Last edited:

Clanrickard

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
33,563
Read the Earthsea Trilogy many years ago and it has stayed with me since. Great book and a great author. RIP
 

former wesleyan

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
25,615
O/T but pehaps someone can help. I'm trying to trace a SF novel from the '70's . Apocalyptic , two suns in the sky and the protagonist had only one boot.
 

Fritzbox

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
2,590
O/T but pehaps someone can help. I'm trying to trace a SF novel from the '70's . Apocalyptic , two suns in the sky and the protagonist had only one boot.
Would it be something by Isaac Asimov?
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
O/T but pehaps someone can help. I'm trying to trace a SF novel from the '70's . Apocalyptic , two suns in the sky and the protagonist had only one boot.
Something by Brian Aldiss? I cannot remember the name of the novel, but it was part of a series which deteriorated as it went along

Just checked Amazon. Was the book you are thinking of the Helliconia Trilogy: Spring, Summer, Winter published first in 1982
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
43,651
Malcolm Redfellow;11790231 I hope I recognised [I said:
The Left Hand of Darkness[/I] and The Dispossessed not just as fine SF, but as good literature. I doubt I was I aware of it at the time, but her Kropotkinite anarchism was probably close to my ideal world.

.
Are you then close to the anarchic false Pope, Francis the First , who talks frequently about Coprophagia.?
 
Last edited:

hollandia

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
30,149
I read the Earthsea trilogy almost thirty years ago in a caravan during a particularly wet holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed them, particularly "A wizard of Earthsea". Probably the first real fiction book I read cover to cover. After that I was given "The Riddle of the Sands" and "King Solomon's Mines" by the oul fella as examples of the sort of ripping yarns he'd been brought up on. Now I read sporadically, and not nearly enough for enjoyment.
 

Degeneration X

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
7,313
I remember well coming upon The Wizard of Earthsea soon after it appeared in paperback — so that must be around 1970. The Earthsea trilogy was sold as a cross-over from "young adult" to adult fiction: I found it a useful follow-up recommendation for wannabe readers who needing something after The Hobbit.

I hope I recognised The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed not just as fine SF, but as good literature. I doubt I was I aware of it at the time, but her Kropotkinite anarchism was probably close to my ideal world.

Her feminism and environmentalism, for the rather butch and chauvinist genre that then was SF, were game-changers.

Now she is dead, aged 88. As John O'Hara said of the death of George Gershwin: I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Le Guin, Hugh Masekela and "Rosie the Riveter" all in a weekend. I fear to open the newspaper.
The early Ekumen novels were great. She will always be the "Queen of Quinkdom" as Margaret Atwood lovingly described her.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
4,403
Website
redfellow.blogspot.com
Twitter
mredfellow
Is the fourth Earthsea book not considered canon? I have only read the first two.
I'd have a problem there, too.

I think of the Earthsea trilogy as Wizard, Atuan and Farthest Shore, all appearing in the earliest 1970s. Tehanu came along twenty years on. The Other Wind is later still. So we have a trilogy that isn't (I'm thinking Douglas Adams here), unless we regard the last two as dislocated sequels — as, to some extent, they are. I assume that is what gracethepirate implies in post #2 above — and I'm not contradicting her, for there is a difference in style, sophistication and intended audience.

Then there is a clutch of short-stories, set in and around the Earthsea conceit. And — correct me if I'm wrong — even ventures into collaborative graphic novels. If there is a "chronology" behind the whole set, I'd be grateful to hear it.
 
Last edited:

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
I'd have a problem there, too.

I think of the Earthsea trilogy as Wizard, Atuan and Farthest Shore, all appearing in the earliest 1970s. Tehanu came along twenty years on. The Other Wind is later still. So we have a trilogy that isn't (I'm thinking Douglas Adams here), unless we regard the last two as dislocated sequels — as, to some extent, they are. I assume that is what gracethepirate implies in post #2 above — and I'm not contradicting her, for there is a difference in style, sophistication and intended audience.

Then there is a clutch of short-stories, set in and around the Earthsea conceit. And — correct me if I'm wrong — even ventures into collaborative graphic novels. If there is a "chronology" behind the whole set, I'd be grateful to hear it.
I did not realise there was a fifth book. Must get a copy.
 

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,439
I've only read the first Earthsea book, but she's been extremely influential on most of the other authors that I read. Until her death, she was probably the most important living author of speculative fiction.
 

diaspora-mick

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2011
Messages
4,707
O/T but pehaps someone can help. I'm trying to trace a SF novel from the '70's . Apocalyptic , two suns in the sky and the protagonist had only one boot.
What would p.ie be without the occasional O/T posting ...??? :lol:

Might be this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhalgren

Two moons in the sky and a protagonist with one boot ...
I don't think you'll get much closer than that ...
 

Cruimh

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
83,462
What would p.ie be without the occasional O/T posting ...??? :lol:

Might be this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhalgren

Two moons in the sky and a protagonist with one boot ...
I don't think you'll get much closer than that ...
Yay - was looking for something Sci-Fi to read after I finish the Inspector Troy Novels by John Lawton. Cheers!
 

brughahaha

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
15,406
Picked up a copy of the Earthsea Trilogy secondhand , so probably the Banba (for those old enough to remember it) when i was about 14 and searching for another fantasy novel after finishing LOTR.

Loved it , and regularly revisited it throughout the years (due another perusal after this ,it'll be in the attic somewhere)

Never knew much about her but she seems to have lead a full and rewarding life ...nice tribute here

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/25/ursula-le-guin-david-mitchell-earthsea
 


New Threads

Most Replies

Top