LOST: a formidable, witty, science fiction and fantasy writer.
IF FOUND: please send her back to Portland, Oregon.
REWARD: millions of readers expecting her next stories!
A quick 2007 ink sketch I made in her presence, and that she approved and signed!
In person, I had the chance to met Ursula at the 30th Wiscon convention. We had approached her as a monument, a conception that her good humor shattered. I remember, after we had complained about the difficulty of getting published, that she told us “You know, it has always been difficult“.
Reading The Dispossessed, I felt like coming home. A sense of peace, rightness arose from the pages as I discovered how people lacking comfort and material possessions could live and achieve a reasonable happiness (with the small imperfections of life, because Ursula was a no non-sense writer).
Changing Planes is a beautiful collections of short-stories, a perfect introduction to paradoxal societies, like Those who walked away from Omela who turns on its head the maxim (the needs of the many prevail on the needs of an individual); here the happiness of a whole city hinges upon a price so horrible that some chose to walk away.
She transformed the landscape in SF by writing from a woman’s point of view; her heroes and heroines achieve their goals by more creative means than outright violence. And if they don’t achieve their goals, they discover that even an imperfect way of life can give them happiness as in The Dispossessed, The Lathe of Heaven, Four Ways to Forgiveness. I recommend the latter to show how a positive social evolution can come unexpectedly, getting there by side roads.
This citation, as she had to battle for her words in a mostly male literary environment.
“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
Her writing had compassion and wits, lots of wits. I still have many books from her to discover, to get a better understanding of humanity (both halves of it, and more than the halves with the Left Hand of Darkness!)
Her blog gave visitors funny anecdotes about her cat Pard, reflections, poems and more. Some recent books available at the Bookview Café.
I leave the rest of this post to her voice. Here: a link to her extraordinary discourse at the national Book Award, where she denounces the expulsion of science fiction from the island of Literature.
The Guardian article reporting Ursula’s passing
The bookview café blog article, that she contributed to found. A group of authors that publish their ebooks independantly.
Margaret Atwood, an author who sometimes disagreed with UKL about science fiction, wrote this eulogy in the Guardian.