January 23rd, 2018


Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929 - 2018.


'Ursula K. Le Guin, a longtime Portland resident who influenced a generation of writers worldwide and whose name became synonymous with superlative speculative fiction, died Monday at her Portland home. She was 88.'

Born in late October 1929, she would have been almost exactly the same age as my mother, who was a fan of imaginative fiction and who introduced me to UKL's Earthsea books.

The passing years of my own life have brought growth in experience and (hopefully) maturity, and inevitably my outlook on the world is different from what it was when I was a young person. There are a number of artists whose work I admire more than their politics, and Ursula K. LeGuin is one of them.

This takes nothing - absolutely nothing - away from UKL's gifts and her work as an artist and visionary. Her invented worlds were always a natural outgrowth of the here and now, and often deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest. 'Always Coming Home' was set in a far-future Northern California landscape; 'Searoad' was set in the present-day (circa 1990) Oregon coast, in the fictional town of Klatsand.

An artist's job is to see the world in a new way. You don't have to see the world the same way they do. The fact that they can help you to see it is what matters.