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Gabrielle Bellot

How Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea Subverts Racism (But Not Sexism)

This week, Saga Press releases a gorgeous new omnibus edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Books of Earthsea, illustrated by Charles Vess, in celebration of A Wizard of Earthsea‘s 50th anniversary. In honor of that anniversary, this week we’re running a different look at Earthsea each day—starting with the first book in the series.

“A great many white readers in 1967 were not ready to accept a brown-skinned hero,” Ursula Le Guin wrote in 2012 in an afterword to A Wizard of Earthsea, forty-four years after the seminal novel—the first in the Earthsea cycle—was published. “But they weren’t expecting one,” she continued. “I didn’t make an issue of it, and you have to be well into the book before you realize that Ged, like most of the characters, isn’t white.”

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The Amorphous Fictional Spaces of Ursula K. Le Guin

Teaching Ursula Le Guin’s famous, resonant little tale, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (the final word of which I had apparently pronounced incorrectly for years) taught me something in turn: that rigid genre classification sometimes hurts more than it helps. Le Guin’s story asks as much about ethics as it does about how we—and even the author herself—may instinctually define certain works.

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Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” Defies Genre

Teaching Ursula Le Guin’s famous, resonant little tale, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (the final word of which I had apparently pronounced incorrectly for years) taught me something in turn: that rigid genre classification sometimes hurts more than it helps. Le Guin’s story asks as much about ethics as it does about how we—and even the author herself—may instinctually define certain works.

[Read more]

Series: Genre in the Mainstream

The Real Magic of Moebius’ Edena

“Science fiction is great,” the French artist Jean Giraud—better known as Moebius—wrote in a reflection on The Airtight Garage, the comic from the late 1970s often considered his masterwork, “because it literally opens the doors of time and space.” He might as well have been talking about the revelatory feeling of viewing his art. It certainly sums up my feelings upon first reading his masterpiece, Edena.

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Series: Genre in the Mainstream

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