Author Ursula Le Guin gives Owen Bennett Jones a lesson in science fiction and talks about how her work has been influenced by anthropology and Taoism. She also tells the story of Ishi, a native American who escaped the massacre of his tribe.
American author Ursula K. Le Guin has died at age 88. She was one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, known primarily for her science fiction and fantasy novels and stories.
Ursula K. Le Guin believes we cannot restructure society without restructuring the English language, and thus her book on the craft of writing inevitably engages class, gender, race, capitalism and morality, all of which are not separate from grammar, punctuation, tense, and point of view for Le Guin. Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of more than sixty books of fiction, fantasy, children’s literature, poetry, drama, criticism and translation. She talks today about her writing guide, Steering The Craft, newly rewritten and revised for writers of fiction and memoir in the 21st century.
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Writer China Mieville talks to American science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin.
Le Guin was a trailblazer - writing in the 1960s, her series of books about the adventures of a boy wizard, Ged, included characters of every race and colour. Her fiction has been acutely concerned with politics, portraying worlds destroyed by environmental catastrophe that prefigured modern concerns about global warming, and societies without gender just as modern-day feminism began to take off.
Featuring contributions and tributes from Iain Banks and Margaret Atwood.
Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.
Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.
Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood
“Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin
“All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood
Celebrated science fiction and fantasy author Ursula Le Guin tells Steve Paulson that she believes books will always endure. Her thoughts on reading appeared in an essay in Harper’s Magazine called "Notes on the Alleged Decline in Reading."
Science fiction is the marmite of literature – people tend to love it or hate it. Yet no one could deny that it has produced many of the great myths of our age, from Frankenstein’s monster to William Gibson’s cyber-reality.
SF blogger Damien Walter joins our panellists to discuss where it is now, and why we should all tune in to a genre that can be satirical, prophetic, political and plain good fun, often all at the same time. He also outlines some of the titles to look out for in 2010.
We also look at John Wyndham’s previously unpublished novel, Plan for Chaos, and interview China Miéville, rising star of the "new weird".
In this episode, Paul Holdengräber talks to the award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin on the blurring of fact and fiction, the problem with celebrities, and the anxiety of influence. For more, visit LitHub.com.
Original video: https://soundcloud.com/lithub/a-conversation-with-ursula-k-le-guin
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“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society & its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, & even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality…” Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, intros to beloved books, & book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our foremost public literary intellectuals. It is essential reading, & through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.
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Russian/American scientist and author, Isaac Asimov, once wrote: Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today — but the core of science fiction, its essence, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.