“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, born on this date in 1929, sandwiched a terrific writing career around raising a family and writing about and supporting dozens of causes that in their own right helped create a moral high ground.
Primarily a writer of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin authored novels, children's books and short stories, and was cited as a major influence on other successful writers like Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, and Neil Gaiman. Her writing was honored with the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards – each more than once – and in 2014 she was named for the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin died in 2018.
“The task of science fiction is not to predict the future,” she once wrote. “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.’”
A big part of her success, she said, was due to the fact that she never preached to her readers. “I don't write tracts, I write novels,” she said. “I'm not a preacher, I'm a writer of fiction.”
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