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On Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018)

25 Jan 2018, 15:34 UTC
On Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Thinking about Ursula Le Guin takes me to a single place. It is a snow-driven landscape, a glaciated world of constant winter called Gethen, whose name means ‘winter’ in the language of its people. I was reading The Left Hand of Winter while snow pelted down outside one afternoon in upstate New York, waiting for my wife to get back from her teaching job, nursing a cup of tea and finding my mental location fusing with Le Guin’s fascinating world.

For The Left Hand of Darkness was a spectacular introduction to Le Guin. I had seen her name and even had, somewhere in the stacks, a copy of her first novel, Rocannon’s World (1966), part of an Ace Double that I never got around to reading. The Left Hand of Darkness came out in 1969 but it was in the late 70’s that I read it. I had been through “The Word for World is Forest” when reading Again, Dangerous Visions (1972), one of Harlan Ellison’s anthologies, and although it won a Hugo Award in 1973, I hadn’t found it as much compelling as didactic and all too linked to its era.
I just wasn’t, in other words, prepared for ...

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