Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Ursula Le Guin 1929-2018

I'm greatly saddened to hear this morning that one of my favourite authors have died. Ursula K Le Guin. The world will be poorer without her.

In the 1960s, She was regarded as part of the New Wave of Science Fiction, a loose movement of young writers who sought to raise the literary standards and broaden the horizons of the genre. Le Guin was perhaps the author who were most successful in doing so. Many of her books and stories, such as the Earthsea trilogy, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Word for World is Forest and The Dispossessed are regarded as classics and masterpieces. The stories dealt with serious themes with both intelligence and sensitivity, all expressed in beautiful prose.

One of these themes was death itself. And now, in the wake of Ursula Le Guin's own death, I am  reminded of the third Earthsea book, The Farthest Shore, in which it is the central subject.  The novel is about a misguided wizard who tries to gain everlasting life, but almost destroys the world by trying. The message is that it is absolutely vital to accept death, as that is necessary for accepting life. I think that it was with such healthy magnanimity Le Guin faced her own death. As she says in her novel: "To refuse death is to refuse life."

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