Monday, February 18, 2019

Le Guin, Ursula K. (Lathe of Heaven)

I read this book long ago, probably before I graduated college. I find it amazing that it has the same power to provoke thought and offer hope now, as it did the first time I read it.

At its core, it's a tale about our human need to change something for the better, and our inexperience with facing problems that ensue when we try to do that. The milieu Le Guin creates is horrific - and prescient - in its description of war, poverty, race, the hunger for power and the need to achieve. (I very much wish it was not as prescient as it was...) The focal point is a man who dreams, and when he dreams he can change reality. So yea, it's smack in sci-fi territory, so if that is off-putting to you, you'll want to think twice about reading this.

But I think you should. Le Guin is nothing if not one of the smartest sci-fi authors ever (she would say she wrote speculative fiction, as Atwood would also say). While some of her writing feels a bit academic (most definitely give The Left Hand of Darkness a miss if you do not like that style!) it is all in service to her greater agenda - showcasing the hardest aspects of being human, and not leaving you in the lurch at the end.

No comments: