You might say it is “out of this world”.
I can hear your groans from here at my desk in my home office in Bakersfield. I know, that was almost pandering to the most obvious.
I mean what I say though: until recently I wouldn’t have expected a science fiction novelist to have so many relevant snippets within her pages of fantasy writing. A few years ago I read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and I remember how deeply that book struck a chord with me.
Naturally I ate healthy doses of CS Lewis’ Narnia chronicles so one would think I would also have an appreciation for science fiction – especially being raised in a house with people who are much more left brained than I.
She has won five Hugo awards and six Nebula Awards for writing. Her work has been adapted into films and, this surprised me, two operas. She also writes how-to-write books, collections of short stories, children’s books as well as commentary and criticism. Ursula used to tour the country giving workshops and reaching out as a leader and teacher. She translated Lao Tsu’s Tao de Ching as well as written poetry and published collections of her essays.
She is older now, still well, and continues to write.
Her best selling works include the Earthsea Series and the Catswing Series (for Children). To surprise (and delight) me even further, in her first major work of science fiction The Left Hand of Darkness includes an investigation into gender roles and is noted continually for its literary complexity.
The San Francisco Chronicle describes her work this way: ““If you want excess and risk and intelligence, try Le Guin.”
A review in Newsweek adds, “She wields her pen with a moral and psychological sophistication rarely seen... and while science fiction techniques often buttress her stories they rarely take them over. What she really does is write fables: splendidly intricate and hugely imaginative tales about such mundane concerns as life, death, love, and sex.”
Thanks to Ursula Le Guin, I am rethinking my view of Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. This year I am attempting to try new literary forms: most recently I even attempted to read a graphic novel. Any writer who tells me “To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.” and “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” and “Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” is ripe for my reading – and appreciating eye.
I’m so glad to have spent time getting to know today’s literary Granny. If you don’t know her work yet, I hope you soon will.
Tomorrow’s Literary Granny: Vita Sackville-West
This post is a part of my series Our Literary Grannies from A t0 Z which was inspired by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Find out more about the Challenge by clicking here.
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