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specfiction Posted - 10/10/2006 : 09:24:46

Ursula Kroeber was born in 1929 and raised in Berkeley California. Her father was the well known Berkeley anthropologist Alfred Krober. Her mother the writer Theodora Krober was also an anthropologist with a degree in clinical psychology. Ursula studied in France in the 1950's where she met and later married the French historian Charles Le Guin.

Ursula's first stories were mainstream fiction in imaginary countries, but she had trouble getting published. She started writing SF, which had been a teenage interest. Her first published novel was the Left Hand of Darkness, which remains a classic to this day and reflects Ursula Le Guin's interest and insights into society and human nature.

My favorite books by Ursula Le Guin are the Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and the Lathe of Heaven, which is an amazing story about alternate realities.
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specfiction Posted - 04/09/2007 : 09:23:06
Lathe of Heaven was such an unusual story that to me it means different things at different times. But the two things that I believe are clear is that it presents two overiding issues. The first is the very idea of perfection, which I feel is flawed conceptually. Western thinkers like Plato were big on perfection, thinking that since the objective world was not "perfect," it was not the best source of knowledge. This idea seems arrogant at best and patently stupid at worst. Even with his reputed powers of logic, Plato knew too little about the world to make such a judgement. And the fact that he didn't know enough to know what he did not know was even worse. Thinking like that led to the dark ages. In Lathe, Le Guin cleverly shows how even the best intentioned ideas about personal perfection lead to disaster.

Second is the idea that there may only be a subjective reality--that objective reality is some kind of mass illusion. I don't believe this, but she has shown it to be an interesting premise for a great story.

tamarawilhite Posted - 04/05/2007 : 19:57:22
I only found myself drawn to "Lathe of Heaven". IT was not the idea that the universe was all thought, and hence took the form we thought it should exactly because we thought it should. I was more drawn to the ideas that the professor had of perfection. In seeking to solve overpopulation, he had most people killed off - a nightmare action in pursuit of the impossible dream of perfection. To solve racism, everyone ended up gray. And the black social worker who was the most sympathetic and concerned character in the book thus ceased to exist in that perfect world.

Tamara Wilhite/Humanity's Edge

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