Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

We are saddened to report that acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin passed on Monday, January 22nd, at her home in Portland, Oregon as confirmed by The New York Times. She was 88 years old.

Le Guin is internationally known for lending her distinct feminist voice to science fiction and fantasy, and was writing even as a child. At age 11, Ursula Le Guin submitted her first short story to Astounding Science Fiction. In 1964 her first Earthsea story, “The Word of Unbinding,” was published. The series continued over six books and eight short stories, including A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, and The Other Wind. In 1970 The Left Hand of Darkness won both the Hugo and the Nebula, and the sequel, The Dispossessed, was also so honored when it was published in 1975.

Her upbringing in a house of anthropologists influenced works like the Hainish Cycle, with its tales of contact between futuristic human species. The Left Hand of Darkness envisioned a radical speculative future of sexual identity and gender identity, raising the bar for subsequent SFF works.

She received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1995; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted her in 2001; and in 2003 The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named her the 20th Grand Master. Her life-long contribution to the shape of genre fiction cannot be overstated, and that is the legacy she leaves behind to fans and readers across the world.

Le Guin is survived by her husband, son, two daughters, and four grandchildren. All our condolences go out to her family and friends. She will be deeply missed.

We leave you with words of wisdom from the incomparable author herself:

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”


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