Science Fiction Spotlight: Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin was a novelist who wrote numerous science fiction and fantasy books and short stories; she is profound in that she was defined as one of “America’s greatest living science fiction writer” by The New York Times in 2016, and profoundly revolutionized the canon of sci-fi. This is not a light statement and places her in the lineage of writers such as Ray Bradbury.
Le Guin recently passed away on January 22, 2018, and although this was a devastating moment for the writing world, it simultaneously responded by paying homage and respects to both what she and her creations had done for the genre. Her work proved her an expert scene-builder, a master character developer, and someone with incredibly unique and unprecedented ideas for her stories.
The final work that was released about six months after her death was a collection of poetry composed between the years 2014 and 2014. It was described by Publishers Weekly as “driven by a big heart — the heart of a poet who knew all too well the difference between miracle and eureka, revelation and revolution.” This sentiment speaks volumes not only on the technical mastery in her work but simultaneously the heart and spirit she put into each creation that separated it from anything else.
It would be obtuse to speak of the influence Le Guin’s writing had on the genre without mentioning the impact she had on the writing world. She creates worlds where a tension of politics, gender, sexuality, and more come into question and are skewed and constructed in ways that call to question the very social constructs we hold near and dear. This coincided with social change and many social movements happening concurrently with her writing. She also was one of the very few women to be made the Grandmaster of Science Fiction and is attributed to have profoundly influenced profound writers such as Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks, Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell and more.
She is both a person and writer who will be dearly missed by the writing community and one who has left a legacy that will continue to impact sci-fi writers for times to come. Here is her website, if you are interested in learning more about Le Guin: http://www.ursulakleguin.com/UKL_info.html