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April 13, 2015 12:28 PM   Subscribe

 
Yay! Thanks for this.
posted by Cosine at 12:49 PM on April 13, 2015


I didn't know her birthday was coming up, but I took The Birthday of the World with me on a trip I'm on. I'm sitting here just having finished "Solitude", one of the stories in the collection. It's sweet and anguished and beautiful.

She does the hardest and most wonderful magic by building a world from the inside out; from the individual, to the relationship, to the city, to the world. It's astonishing.
posted by selfnoise at 12:58 PM on April 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's the 65th anniversary of her decision!

“There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.” - Ursula K. LeGuin from The Dispossessed
posted by fairmettle at 1:03 PM on April 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


The interview was by Mefi's own Naomi Alderman, who is having a bit of a day having also been linked in this post about the patriarchy.
posted by adrianhon at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


What's that you say? An Earthsea series on BBC Radio 4?

On a completely unrelated note, *ahem*.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:22 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the things I love about Le Guin is that she is as fine and literary a writer as has ever written science fiction, but she's always in conversation with the genre and not one whit ashamed of it. Unlike Atwood or Lessing or any number of others.
posted by tavella at 1:22 PM on April 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Point of fact: Lessing was never embarassed about genre science fiction and Atwood has sort of kinda come around to it.

But the real difference between them and Le Guin is that she started from the inside looking out and they came from the outside looking in. You could argue both that they sort of hit on a middle ground if you take their works in total, but also that what Lessing/Atwood did and tried to do with their science fiction is different from what Le Guin attempted, certainly for the novels she made her name with, working from different traditions.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:26 PM on April 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


“There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.”

No, no, it is possible to make that decision in your middle forties after a shattering personal and emotional collapse. Trust me.
posted by Naberius at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Another difference between LeGuin and Atwood, in my opinion, is that LeGuin is just better than everybody. She's just one of the smartest, most skilled living writers in English anyway. Even her boring books are artfully crafted and flow beautifully. I can't think of another comparable genre author.

Not that it should be a contest as each have different merits, but I never got that down with Margaret Atwood - even though I keep trying. I thought Orxy and Crake was kind of entertaining but so wildly implausible. Handmaid's Tale may be an exception.
posted by latkes at 2:29 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Having trouble coming up with male writers to compare to... most of the more baroque male genre authors I read left me pretty cold...)
posted by latkes at 2:30 PM on April 13, 2015


Ballard played the lines of genre and literary nicely.
posted by idiopath at 2:36 PM on April 13, 2015


I think her closest analog on the male side is Delany; they are both extremely interested in culture, social and sexual norms and the pressure of individuals trying to live in society. Delany takes a very different approach and his prose style is quite distinct but The Tale of Gorgik could certainly have been written by a black, gay male version of Leguin.
posted by selfnoise at 2:43 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Having trouble coming up with male writers to compare to... most of the more baroque male genre authors I read left me pretty cold...)

The Player Of Games is essentially a riff on The Dispossessed, and I think Banks was one of the few writers with the same command of prose as Le Guin - they even have quite similar styles, prose wise. I never heard him mention her in interviews, but I can't help but think she was one of his major influences.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:33 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


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