One of the greatest fantasy and science fiction authors of our time has passed away: Ursula K. Le Guin has died at age 88. The New York Times reports she’s been in poor health for several months. The beloved and prolific writer is perhaps best known for her Hugo and Nebula award winning 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness and The Earthsea Trilogy, a world that has been brought to the screen in a TV mini-series and in a Studio Ghibli film (Tales from Earthsea).
https://twitter.com/ursulaleguin/status/955934907192266753Le Guin’s career began at the age of 11 with a short story submission. She gained acclaim and awards in a time when there weren’t many female writers in the realms of sci-fi and fantasy. She used her progressive voice to approach complicated topics inside the fantastical worlds she created, and in the real world, she did the same. When asked to write a blurb for 1987’s Synergy: New Science Fiction, Volume 1, a series of anthologies by all-male authors, she declined with a perfect statement:
“I cannot imagine myself blurbing a book, the first of the series, which not only contains no writing by women, but the tone of which is so self-contentedly, exclusively male, like a club, or a locker room. That would not be magnanimity, but foolishness. Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here.”
Fellow authors have shared their sadness at Le Guin’s passing on Twitter and cite the legacy she left behind:
Usula K. LeGuin, one of the greats, has passed. Not just a science fiction writer; a literary icon. Godspeed into the galaxy.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 23, 2018
I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul. I miss her as a glorious funny prickly person, & I miss her as the deepest and smartest of the writers, too. Still honoured I got to do this: https://t.co/U4mma5pJMw
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 23, 2018
Ursula Le Guin has died. She is a master storytelling. She is fierce and frighteningly smart and does not tolerate fools. Her EARTHSEA books are a revelation.
— Shannon buy stuff from ur local bookshop Hale (@haleshannon) January 23, 2018
I have no words. One of my first favorite writers. I penned a very long paper on her in 7th grade — and somewhere, have a TOO BIG SMILE fan photo I took with her when she visited my hometown library. https://t.co/VnSX81y6LX
— Sarah Kuhn (@sarahkuhn) January 23, 2018
Also with her loss I encourage you to behold this from Ursula LeGuin:
Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. https://t.co/A1TmhdYSfT
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) January 23, 2018
Which Le Guin novel has most touched your life? Tell us in the comments.
Featured Image: Parnassus Press