John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane
jkahane

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R.I.P. Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

I heard about this yesterday, but needed to take some time before I could write the words.

Terrible, sad news in the world of science fiction and fantasy literature.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88

Over the 40+ years that I've been reading fantasy and science fiction, I've been a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin's books and works and her incredibly rich imagination and ability to...well, *write*. While I was introduced to the sf field with works by Asimov and the greats of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, my earliest fantasy reading was Tolkien's The Hobbit and Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. I may have always lived in other fantasy and science fiction worlds, but I consider Earthsea to be...home.

While I loved and enjoyed the Earthsea stories in my youth and teens, I came to adore her science fiction (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word for World Is Forest, and the rest of the Hainish Cycle), but also some of the lesser known works like Rocannon's World, The Lathe of Heaven and others. The real joy for me as I came to adulthood was I saw in Le Guin's works her use of the creative flexibility of the science fiction and fantasy genres to undertake thorough explorations of both social and psychological identity and of broader cultural and social structures. In doing so, she draws on sociology, anthropology and psychology. And Goddess, but did she know language and words! Much of her writing is an abject lesson on how to write, and she did it with aplomb.

What can I say? I know...

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."

Rest In Peace, UKL. The words are silent now - but they will live on, forever. I am glad that we have all of your writings to savour from now until the end of time.
Tags: book hut, death, fantasy, obituary, personal, reading hut, science fiction, ursula k. le guin
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