On Ursula Le Guin’s awesome speech

You can read the full text here, and here are some of my favorite nuggets.

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 and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

The challenge for writers (and readers) and humans (and thinkers) is to confront the questions about what is real and do we live in ways that make us fully human (as opposed to subjects or objects)? How can we work toward alternatives?


Review: The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome. Wonderful. Confounding. Clever. Brilliant.

A coworker handed me her copy of this great Ursula K. Le Guin novel when she heard that I hadn’t read it yet. The book requires attention, and it wasn’t until I had long stretches of time was I able to get into it. New names. New places. Conflicts between people for reasons that aren’t clear at first. It is a testament to Le Guin’s world-building — the completeness a reader can feel of the places she creates on the planet Urras and the moon Annares — that I and I’m sure many other readers enjoy the process of moving through the novel and learning what things mentioned earlier mean.
Continue reading →