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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Helping create 'the moral high ground'

“I get a lot of moral guidance from reading novels, so I guess I expect my novels to offer some moral guidance, but they're not blueprints for action, ever.”– Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin, who has sandwiched a terrific writing career around raising a family and writing about and supporting dozens of causes that in their own right have created the moral high ground about which she speaks, turns 85 today.

Primarily a writer of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin has authored novels, children's books, and short stories, and been cited as a major influence on other successful writers like Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, and Neil Gaiman.  Her writing has been awarded the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award and World Fantasy Award – each more than once – and in 2014 she was honored with the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. 

As far as writing science fiction goes, she said, “The task of science fiction is not to predict the future.  Rather, it contemplates possible futures. Writers may find the future appealing precisely because it can't be known, a black box where ‘anything at all can be said to happen without fear of contradiction from a native. The future is a safe, sterile laboratory for trying out ideas in, a means of thinking about reality, a method.’”

And, a big part of her success, she said, is due to the fact that she never preaches to or at her readers.  I don't write tracts, I write novels. I'm not a preacher, I'm a writer of fiction.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

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