Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin: R.I.P.

Very sad news. I was privileged to meet Ursula K.  Le Guin several times and was even on a panel with her. Sharing the stage with her was awe inspiring and scary. I'm sure I was incoherent. Ursula K. Le Guin was one of my heroes. She accomplished so much.

From the NYT:

Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like “The Left Hand of Darkness” and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore. She was 88.

Ms. Le Guin embraced the standard themes of her chosen genres: sorcery and dragons, spaceships and planetary conflict. But even when her protagonists are male, they avoid the macho posturing of so many science fiction and fantasy heroes. The conflicts they face are typically rooted in a clash of cultures and resolved more by conciliation and self-sacrifice than by swordplay or space battles.
Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several, including “The Left Hand of Darkness” — set on a planet where the customary gender distinctions do not apply — have been in print for almost 50 years. The critic Harold Bloom lauded Ms. Le Guin as “a superbly imaginative creator and major stylist” who “has raised fantasy into high literature for our time.”

In addition to more than 20 novels, she was the author of a dozen books of poetry, more than 100 short stories (collected in multiple volumes), seven collections of essays, 13 books for children and five volumes of translation, including the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu and selected poems by the Chilean Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral. She also wrote a guide for writers.
  
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From Locus Magazine:

Le Guin was a towering figure in the field, famed for her fiction and non-fiction alike, with a career in SF that spanned more than 50 years. She was a Hugo Award nominee 23 times and won five, and won six Nebula Awards, with 18 nominations. Other major awards included the World Fantasy Award for life achievement, the Eaton Award for life achievement, and the Pilgrim Award for lifetime contribution to SF and fantasy scholarship. Several of her works have been collected in editions from the prestigious Library of America.

Le Guin began publishing SF in 1962, and wrote numerous major novels of adult and YA SF and fantasy, including The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), The Lathe of Heaven (1971), The Dispossessed (1974), A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), Orsinian Tales (1976), Always Coming Home (1985), Gifts (2004), and Lavinia (2008). Le Guin was equally adept as a short fiction writer, with countless influential and iconic stories, among them “Vaster than Empires and More Slow” (1971), “The Word for World is Forest” (1972), “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1974), “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight” (1987), “The Matter of Seggri” (1994), and “A Woman’s Liberation” (1995). 

Her fiction collections were numerous and celebrated, among them The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975), Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (1987), A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1994), Unlocking the Air (1996), The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (2002), Changing Planes (2003), two volumes of The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, and The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016). She also wrote for children, including the Catwings series, and numerous other pictures books, along with poetry, and plays.

Le Guin was unparralled as a critic, SF scholar, thinker, and social commentator. Important works of non-fiction include From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (1973), The Language of the Night (1979), Always Coming Home (1987), Dancing at the End of the World (1989), Steering the Craft (1998), The Wave in the Mind (2004), Words are My Matter (2016), and No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters (2017). She also edited anthologies.

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3 comments:

vallerose said...

this is terrible, can we halt anyone else dying for now. She was one of the best.

Camille Minichino said...

A very early favorite of mine, and an inspiration. Very sad.

Diane Hendricksen said...

She will be sorely missed.