Ursula K. Le Guin

(1929 – 2018)

Ursula K. Le GuinBiographical Sketch

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born Ursula Kroeber, Berkeley, CA, USA, October 21, 1929 – Portland, OR, USA, January 22, 2018) was an American author best known for her works of speculative fiction, including science fiction works set in her Hainish universe, and the Earthsea fantasy series. She was first published in 1959, and her literary career spanned nearly sixty years, yielding more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children’s books. Frequently described as an author of science fiction, Le Guin was in fact a major voice in American Letters. She herself said she would prefer to simply be known as an American novelist.

Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, to author Theodora Kroeber and anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber. Having earned a master’s degree in French, Le Guin began doctoral studies but abandoned these after her marriage in 1953 to historian Charles Le Guin. She began writing full-time in the late 1950s and achieved major critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), which critic Harold Bloom considers her masterpieces.  For The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, becoming the first woman to do so. Several more works set in Earthsea and the Hainish universe, respectively, followed; others included books set in the fictional country of Orsinia, several works for children, and many anthologies.

Cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung all had a strong influence on Le Guin’s work. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists, and Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium have been identified in several writings. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use of dark-skinned protagonists in Earthsea, and also used unusual stylistic or structural devices, e.g., in the experimental work Always Coming Home (1985). Social and political themes, including race, gender, sexuality, and coming of age were prominent in her writing, and she explored alternative political structures in many stories, such as in the parable The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973) and the utopian novel The Dispossessed (1974).

Le Guin’s writing was enormously influential in the field of speculative fiction, and has been the subject of intense critical attention. She received numerous accolades, including eight Hugos, six Nebulas, and twenty-two Locus Awards, and in 2003 became the second woman honored as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The U.S. Library of Congress named her a Living Legend in 2000, and in 2014, she won the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin influenced many other authors, including Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and Iain Banks. After her 2018 death, critic John Clute wrote that Le Guin had presided over American science fiction for nearly half a century.  Michael Chabon referred to her as the greatest American writer of her generation.

Read more about Beryl Markham on Wikipedia.

 

Major Awards and Honors

U.S. Library of Congress
  • 2000: Writers and Artists – Living Legend nomination
American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters
  • 1991: Harold Vursell Award
  • 2017: Elected Member of the Academy
American Library Association (ALA)
  • 1972: Newbery Silver Medal Award – “The Tombs of Atuan”
  • 2004: Margaret Edwards Award – “Earthsea” volumes 1 – 4, “The Left Hand of Darkness”, and “The Beginning Place”
  • 2004: Arbuthnot Lecturer
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) (USA)
  • 2004: Margaret A. Edwards Award – lifetime achievement
National Book Foundation (USA)
  • 1972: National Book Award for Children’s Books – “The Farthest Shore”
  • 2014: National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
PEN/Faulkner Foundation (USA)
  • 2002: PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction
Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame (USA)
  • 2001: Induction
World Fantasy Convention
  • 1988: Best Novella – “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight”
  • 1995: Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2002: Best Novel – “The Other Wind”
World Science Fiction Society
  • 1979: Gandalf Award – Grand Master of Fantasy
  • Hugo Awards
    • 1969: Best Novel – “The Left Hand of Darkness”
    • 1973: Best Novella – “The Word for World is Forest”
    • 1974: Best Short Story – “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
    • 1975: Best Novel – “The Dispossessed”
    • 1988: Best Novelette – “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight”
    • 2017: Best Related Work – “Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000 – 2016”
    • 2018: Best Related Work – “No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters”
    • 2019: Best Art Book – “The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition”, illustrated by Charles Vess
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
  • 2002: Grand Master
  • Nebula Awards
    • 1969: Best Novel – “The Left Hand of Darkness”
    • 1974: Best Novel – “The Dispossessed”
    • 1974: Best Short Story – “The Day Before the Revolution”
    • 1990: Best Novel – “Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea”
    • 1995: Best Novelette – “Solitude”
    • 2008: Best Novel – “Powers”
Locus Awards (Locus Magazine, USA)
  • 1972: Best Novel – “The Lathe of Heaven”
  • 1975: Best Novel – “The Dispossessed”
  • 1975: Best Short Story – “The Day Before the Revolution”
  • 1976: Best Novelette – “The New Atlantis”
  • 1976: Best Single Author Collection – “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters”
  • 1983: Best Short Story – “Sur”
  • 1983: Best Single Author Collection – “The Compass Rose”
  • 1991: Best Fantasy Novel – “Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea”
  • 1995: Best Novella – “Forgiveness Day”
  • 1996: Best Collection – “Four Ways to Forgiveness”
  • 1997: Best Novelette – “Mountain Ways”
  • 2001: Best Science Fiction Novel – “The Telling”
  • 2001: Best Novelette – “The Birthday of the World”
  • 2002: Best Collection – “Tales from Earthsea”
  • 2002: Best Novella – “The Finder”
  • 2002: Best Short Story – “The Bones of the Earth”
  • 2003: Best Novelette – “The Wild Girls”
  • 2004: Best Collection – “Changing Planes”
  • 2005: Best Nonfiction – “The Wave in the Mind”
  • 2009: Best Fantasy Novel – “Lavinia”
  • 2010: Best Nonfiction / Essays – “Cheek by Jowl”
  • 2018: Best Collection – “The Hainish Novels and Stories”
  • 2019: Best Nonfiction – “Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing” (Ursula K. Le Guin & David Naimon)
  • 2019: Best Art Book – “The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition”, illustrated by Charles Vess
Jupiter Awards (Instructors of Science Fiction in Higher Education, USA)
  • 1975: Best Novel – “The Dispossessed”
  • 1975: Best Short Story – “The Day Before the Revolution”
  • 1977: Best Novelette – “The Diary of the Rose”
Pushcart Press (USA)
  • 1991: Pushcart Prize – “Bill Weisler”
    – Short story.
James Tiptree, Jr, Award (USA)
  • 1994: “The Matter of Seggri”
  • 1996: Retrospective Award – “Left Hand of Darkness”
  • 1997: “Mountain Ways”
Endeavor Award (USA)
  • 2001: “The Telling”
  • 2003: “Tales from Earthsea”
Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (USA)
  • 1995: Asimov’s Readers Award – “Forgiveness Day”
  • 2003: Asimov’s Readers Award – “The Wild Girls”
Science Fiction Research Association (USA)
  • 1989: Pilgrim Award
    – For lifetime contributions to SF and fantasy scholarship.
Mythopoeic Society (MythSoc) (USA)
  • 2009: Mythopoeic Award, Best Fantasy Novel – “Lavinia”
Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies / University of Rochester, NY Department of English (USA)
  • 1986: Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction – “Always Coming Home”
University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education (USA)
  • 1979: Lewis Carroll Shelf Award – “A Wizard of Earthsea”
Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas (USA)
  • 1995: Theodore Sturgeon Award – “Forgiveness Day”
Reed College, OR (USA)
  • 1995: Hubbub Poetry Award – “Semen”
Williamette Writers (Pacific NW, USA)
  • 2002: Lifetime Achievement Award
Pacific NW Booksellers Association (USA)
  • 2001: Lifetime Achievement Award
Oregon State Library (USA)
  • 2009: 150 Books for Oregon’s Sesquicentennial – inclusion of “The Lathe of Heaven”, “Searoad”, and “The World Begins Here” (including “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”)
Oregon Library Association (USA)
  • 1992: H.L.Davis Fiction Award – “Searoad”
City of Seattle (Wa, USA)
  • 1998: Bumbershoot Arts Award
    – Introduction: “Ursula K. Le Guin: Mutinous Navigator,” by Vonda N. McIntyre
Washington Center for the Book (USA)
  • 2006: Maxine Cushing Gray Fellowship for Writers
    – For distinguished body of work.
University of California, Riverside (USA)
  • 2012: Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award
L.A. Times (California, USA)
  • 2000: Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award
Boston Globe (Massachusetts, USA)
  • 1968: Horn Book Award – “A Wizard of Earthsea”
Harold Bloom (USA)
  • 1994: The Western Canon – inclusion of “The Left Hand of Darkness”
    – Works that have been important and influential in Western culture.
Freedom from Religion Foundation (USA)
  • 2009: Emperor Has No Clothes Award
Bibliothèque nationale de France / Centre national de la littérature pour la jeunesse
  • 1987: Prix Lectures-Jeunesse – “Loin, très loin de tout” (“Very Far Away from Anywhere Else”)
Kurd Laßwitz Award (Germany)
  • 2015: “Verlorene Paradiese” (“Paradises Lost”)
USA Postal Service
  • 2021: Stamp in the Literary Arts series
    – Designed by artist Donato Giancola.

 

Bibliography

Fiction
Earthsea
  • A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
  • The Tombs of Atuan (1970)
    – A shortened version was published in the Winter 1970 issue of Worlds of Fantasy.
  • The Farthest Shore (1972)
  • Tehanu (1990)
  • The Word of Unbinding (1964)
    – Short story; first published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 13; included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975).
  • The Rule of Names (1964)
    – Short story; first published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 13. Included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975), The Unreal and the Real (2012) and The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition (2018).
  • Dragonfly (1998)
    – Short story; first published in Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg, and later included in Tales from Earthsea (2001). Intended to fit in between Tehanu and The Other Wind; according to Le Guin, an important bridge in the series as a whole.
  • Darkrose and Diamond (1999)
    – Short story; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 97, and included in Tales from Earthsea (2001).
  • Tales from Earthsea (2001)
    • The Finder
    • Darkrose and Diamond
    • The Bones of the Earth
    • On the High Marsh
    • Dragonfly
  • The Other Wind (2001)
  • The Daughter of Odren (2014)
    – Short story originally published as an ebook; first appearance in print in The Books of Earthsea (2018).
  • Firelight (2018)
    – Short story; first published in The Paris Review, vol. 225, and included in The Books of Earthsea (2018).
  • The Books of Earthsea (2018)
    – Illustrated by Charles Vess. Includes all Earthsea works, including novels, short stories, the essay Earthsea Revisioned, and a new introduction. First print appearance of The Daughter of Odren, first book printing of Firelight.
Hainish Cycle
  • The Dowry of Angyar (1964)
    A/K/A Semley’s Necklace
    – Short story; first published in Amazing Stories, vol. 38 (1964) The first piece of Hainish Cycle fiction written by Le Guin and also used as the prologue of Rocannon’s World. Included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975) and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Rocannon’s World (1966)
  • Planet of Exile (1966)
  • City of Illusions (1967)
  • Winter’s King (1969)
    – Short story; first published in Orbit 5, edited by Damon Knight, and rereleased as a stand-alone eBook in 2017.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
  • Vaster than Empires and More Slow (1971)
    – Short story; first published in New Dimensions 1, edited by Robert Silverberg, and rereleased as a stand-alone eBook in 2017.
  • The Word for World Is Forest (1972)
    – Short story; first published in Again, Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, and rereleased as a standalone volume in 1976.
  • The Dispossessed (1974)
  • The Day Before the Revolution (1974)
    – Short story; first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, vol. 35, and rereleased as a stand-alone eBook in 2017.
  • The Eye of the Heron (1978)
    – Short story; first published in Millennial Women, edited by Virginia Kidd, and as a standalone volume in 1978. Le Guin has said that it “might” form part of the Hainish Cycle.
  • The Shobies’ Story (1990)
    – Short story; first published in Universe 1, edited by Terry Carr. Included in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1995) and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Dancing to Ganam (1993)
    – Short story; first published in Amazing Stories, vol. 68.
  • Another Story (1994)
    A/K/A Another Story, or A Fisherman of the Inland Sea
    – Short story; first published in Tomorrow Speculative Fiction magazine.
  • The Matter of Seggri (1994)
    – Short story; first published in Crank! magazine. Included in The Birthday of the World (2002), The Unreal and the Real (2012) and The Found and the Lost (2016).
  • Unchosen Love (1994)
    – Short story; first published in Amazing Stories, vol. 69.
  • Solitude (1994)
    – Short story; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 87. Included in The Birthday of the World (2002) and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Coming of Age in Karhide (1995)
    – Short story; first published in New Legends, edited by Greg Bear and Martin Greenberg.
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness (1995)
    – Reprinted in 2017 under the title Five Ways to Forgiveness, with an additional story: Old Music and the Slave Women.

    • Forgiveness Day
    • A Man of the People
    • A Woman’s Liberation.
    • Betrayals
      – Orsinia story.
  • Mountain Ways (1996)
    – Short story; first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, vol. 20.
  • Old Music and the Slave Women (1996)
    – Short story; first published in Far Horizons, edited by Robert Silverberg.
  • The Birthday of the World (2000)
    – Short story; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, vol. 98 (2000). Le Guin has said that this story “may or may not” be a part of the Hainish Cycle.
  • The Telling (2000)
  • Hainish Novels & Stories, Volumes 1 & 2 (2017)
    – Library of America omnibus edition.
Orsinia
  • Folksong from the Montayna Province (1959)
    – Poem; first published in Prairie Poet. Le Guin’s first published work.
  • An die Musik (1961)
    – Short story; first published in Western Humanities Review. Le Guin’s first published short story.
  • Imaginary Countries (1973)
    – Short story; first published in The Harvard Advocate, and included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • A Week in the Country (1976)
    – Short story; first published in The Little Magazine, vol. 9, and included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Brothers and Sisters (1976)
    – Short story; first published in The Little Magazine, vol. 10, and included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Two Delays on the Northern Line (1979)
    – Short story; first published in The New Yorker.
  • Orsinian Tales (1976)
  • Malafrena (1979)
  • Betrayals (1994)
    – Short story; first published in The Blue Motel. Included in Four Ways to Forgiveness / Five Ways to Forgiveness and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • The Complete Orsinia (2016)
    – Library of America omnibus edition of Orsinian Tales and Malafrena, as well as some original material.
  • Orsinia (2017)
    – British omnibus edition of previously published Orsinian works, as well as some original material.
Annals of the Western Shore
  • Gifts (2004)
  • Voices (2006
  • Powers (2007)
Stand-Alone Novels
  • The Lathe of Heaven (1971)
  • Very Far Away from Anywhere Else (1976)
    A/K/A: A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else
  • The Beginning Place (1980)
    A/K/A Threshold
  • Lavinia (2008)
Short Fiction Collections
  • Dreams Must Explain Themselves (1975)
    – Includes one short story, an interview with Le Guin, a transcript of an acceptance speech and the collection’s titular essay.
  • The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975)
    – Seventeen stories, including, inter alia:

    • April in Paris (1962)
      – First published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 11. Le Guin’s first professionally published short story.
    • The Masters (1963)
      – First published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 12.
    • Darkness Box (1963)
      – First published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 12.
    • The Dowry of Angyar (1964)
      A/K/A Semley’s Necklace
      – Hainish Cycle story; first published in Amazing Stories, vol. 38 (1964) The first piece of Hainish Cycle fiction written by Le Guin and also used as the prologue of Rocannon’s World. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • The Word of Unbinding (1964)
      – Earthsea story; first published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 13.
    • The Rule of Names (1964)
      – Earthsea story; first published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 13. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012) and The Books of Earthsea (2018).
    • Nine Lives (1969)
      – First published in Playboy, vol. 16. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973)
      – First published in New Dimensions III, edited by Robert Silverberg. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012), in addition to having been published as a standalone ebook.
  • The Compass Rose (1982)
    – Twenty short stories, including two previously unpublished ones: The Phoenix and The Wife’s Story, as well as, inter alia:

    • The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics (1974)
      – First published in Fellowship of the Stars, edited by Terry Carr. Also included in Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (1987) and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • Mazes (1975)
      – First published in Epoch, edited by Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • Where Does Time Go? (1979)
      A/K/A Some Approaches to the Problem of Shortage of Time
      – First published in Omni, vol. 2.
    • Small Change (1981)
      – First published in Tor zu den Sternen, edited by Peter Wilfert. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • Sur (1982)
      – First published in The New Yorker; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (1987)
    – Stories and poems that deal with coyotes, lions, ants, cats, donkeys, horses, hawks, plants, and rocks; including, inter alia:

    • Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight
      – A graphical version of this story, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, is included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics (1974)
      – First published in Fellowship of the Stars, edited by Terry Carr. Also included in The Compass Rose (1982) and The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • She Unnames Them (1985)
      – First published in The New Yorker; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Searoad (1991)
  • A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1994)
    – Also includes, inter alia, besides the title story:

    • The Ascent of the North Face (1983)
      – First published in Isaac Asimov’s Space of Her Own, edited by Shawna McCarthy; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • The Shobies’ Story (1990)
      – Hainish Cycle short story; first published in Universe 1, edited by Terry Carr. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • First Contact with the Gorgonids (1992)
      – First published in Omni, vol. 14; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Unlocking the Air and Other Stories (1996)
    – Mainstream stories including, inter alia, besides the title story:

    • The Poacher (1993)
      – First published in Xanadu, edited by Jane Yolen; also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
    • Either OR (1995)
      – First published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, November 1995 issue. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (2002)
    Eight stories, including two Hainish Cycle stories:

    • The Matter of Seggri (1994)
      – First published in Crank! magazine. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012) and The Found and the Lost (2016).
    • Solitude (1994)
      – First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 87. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • Changing Planes (2002)
    – First appearance in print of the story The Flyers (or Fliers) of Gy (2000), originally published online on SciFi. Also included in The Unreal and the Real (2012).
  • The Wild Girls (2011)
  • The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Stories of Ursula Le Guin (2012)
    – Contains one short story previously unpublished in book form (Jar of Water). Initially published in two volumes: Where on Earth and Outer Space, Inner Lands.
    Contents:

    • The Dowry of Angyar (1964)
      A/K/A Semley’s Necklace
      – Hainish Cycle short story; first published in Amazing Stories, vol. 38 (1964). The first piece of Hainish Cycle fiction written by Le Guin and also used as the prologue of Rocannon’s World. Also included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975).
    • The Rule of Names (1964)
      – Earthsea short story; first published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 13. Also included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975) and The Books of Earthsea (2018).
    • The Nine Lives (1969)
      – First published in Playboy, vol. 16; also included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975).
    • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973)
      – First published in New Dimensions III, edited by Robert Silverberg. Also included in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975), as well as having been published as a standalone ebook.
    • Imaginary Countries (1973)
      – Orsinia short story; first published in The Harvard Advocate.
    • Direction of the Road (1973)
      – First published in Orbit 12, edited by Damon Knight.
    • The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics (1974)
      – First published in Fellowship of the Stars, edited by Terry Carr. Also included in The Compass Rose (1982) and Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (1987).
    • Mazes (1975)
      – First published in Epoch, edited by Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg.
    • A Week in the Country (1976)
      – Orsinia short story; first published in The Little Magazine, vol. 9.
    • Brothers and Sisters (1976)
      – Orsinia short story; first published in The Little Magazine, vol. 10.
    • The Diary of the Rose (1976)
      – First published in Future Power, edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann.
    • Gwilan’s Harp (1977)
      – First published in Redbook. Also released as an audiobook read by the author and as a standalone book in 1981.
    • May’s Lion (1983)
      – First published in The Little Magazine, vol. 14.
    • The Silence of the Asonu (1998)
      A/K/A The Wisdom of the Asonu
      – First published by Orion.
    • The Wife’s Story (1982)
      – First published in Le Guin’s short story collection The Compass Rose (1982).
    • The White Donkey (1980)
      – First published in TriQuarterly No. 49.
    • Small Change (1981)
      – First published in Tor zu den Sternen, edited by Peter Wilfert; also included in The
    • Compass Rose (1982).
    • Sur (1982)
      – First published in The New Yorker; also included in The Compass Rose (1982).
    • The Ascent of the North Face (1983)
      – First published in Isaac Asimov’s Space of Her Own, edited by Shawna McCarthy. Also included in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1994).
    • She Unnames Them (1985)
      – First published in The New Yorker; also included in Buffalo Gals and Other Animal
    • Presences (1987).
    • Horse Camp (1986)
      – First published in The New Yorker.
    • Half Past Four (1987)
      – First published in The New Yorker.
    • Hand, Cup, Shell (1989)
      – First published in The New Yorker.
    • The Shobies’ Story (1990)
      – Hainish Cycle short story; first published in Universe 1, edited by Terry Carr. Also included in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1994).
    • Texts (1990)
      – First published in American Short Fiction, as part of the PEN Syndication Fiction Project.
    • Sleepwalkers (1991)
      – First published in Mississippi Mud.
    • First Contact with the Gorgonids (1992)
      – First published in Omni, vol. 14; also included in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1994).
    • The Poacher (1993)
      – First published in Xanadu, edited by Jane Yolen; also included in Unlocking the Air and Other Stories (1996).
    • Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight (1994)
      – Graphical version of the title story from Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet.
    • The Matter of Seggri (1994)
      – Hainish Cycle short story; first published in Crank! magazine. Also included in The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (2002) and The Found and the Lost (2016).
    • Solitude (1994)
      – Hainish Cycle short story; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 87. Also included in The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (2002).
    • Betrayals (1994)
      – Orsinia short story; first published in The Blue Motel. Also included in Four Ways to Forgiveness / Five Ways to Forgiveness (1995).
    • Either OR (1995)
      – First published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, November 1995 issue; also included in Unlocking the Air and Other Stories (1996).
    • The Lost Children (1996) 
      – First published in Thirteenth Moon, edited by Jacob Weisman.
    • The Flyers of Gy (2000)
      – First published online on SciFi; printed for the first time in Changing Planes (2002).
    • The Wild Girls (2002)
      – First published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, March 2002 issue.
    • The Jar of Water (2014)
      – First published in Tin House magazine, winter 2014 issue.
  • The Found and the Lost: Included Novellas (2016)
    • Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
    • Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight
    • Hernes
    • The Matter of Seggri
    • Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea
    • Forgiveness Day
    • A Man of the People
    • A Woman’s Liberation
    • Old Music and the Slave Women
    • The Finder
    • On the High Marsh
    • Dragonfly
    • Paradises Lost
Other Short Stories
  • Selection (1964)
    – First published in Amazing Stories, vol. 38.
  • A Trip to the Head (1970)
    – First published in Quark/1, edited by Samuel R. Delany and Marilyn Hacker.
  • Things (1970)
    – First published in Orbit 6, edited by Damon Knight, and republished as an eBook in 2017.
  • The Good Trip (1970)
    – First published in Fantastic magazine, vol. 19, and republished as an eBook in 2017.
  • The Field of Vision (1973)
    – First published in Galaxy Science Fiction, vol. 34, and republished as an eBook in 2017.
  • The Stars Below (1974)
    – First published in Orbit 14, edited by Damon Knight, and republished as an eBook in 2017.
  • Schrödinger’s Cat (1974)
    – First published in Universe 5, edited by Terry Carr.
  • Intracom (1974)
    – First published in Stopwatch, edited by George Hay. Shrewsbury.
  • The Eye Altering (1974)
    – First published in The Altered I, edited by Lee Harding.
  • The New Atlantis (1975)
    – First published in The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science Fiction, edited by Robert Silverberg.
  • Ghost Story (1977)
    – First published in Encore, Magazine of the Arts vol. 1, issue 6, April – May 1977. Distributed to attendees of The Oregon Symphony and The Portland Opera.
  • Courtroom Scene (1977)
    – First published in Encore, Magazine of the Arts vol. 1, issue 6, April – May 1977. Distributed to attendees of The Oregon Symphony and The Portland Opera.
  • SQ (1978)
    – First published in Cassandra Rising, edited by Alice Laurance.
  • The First Report of the Shipwrecked Foreigner to the Kadanh of Derb (1978)
    – First published in Antaeus No. 29.
  • The Pathways of Desire (1979)
    – First published in New Dimensions Science Fiction, Number 9, edited by Robert Silverberg.
  • Malheur County (1979)
    – First published in The Kenyon Review, vol. 1.
  • The Spoons in the Basement (1982)
    – First published in The New Yorker.
  • The Professor’s Houses (1982)
    – First published in The New Yorker.
  • Daddy’s Big Girl (1987)
    – First published in Omni.
  • Legends for a New Land (1988)
    – First published in Mythlore, vol. 56.
  • Kore 87 (1988)
    A/K/A A Child Bride
    – First published in Terry’s Universe, edited by Beth Meacham.
  • The Kerastion (1990)
    – First published in the Westercon 1990 Program Book.
  • Newton’s Sleep (1991)
    – First published in Full Spectrum 3, edited by Lou Aronica, Amy Stout and Betsy Mitchell.
  • The Rock That Changed Things (1992)
    – First published in Amazing Stories, vol. 67.
  • In the Drought (1994)
    – First published in Xanadu 2, edited by Jane Yolen.
  • Olders (1995)
    – First published in Omni, vol. 17.
  • The Island of the Immortals (1998)
    – First published in Amazing Stories, vol. 70.
  • The Royals of Hegn (2000)
    – First published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, February 2000 issue.
  • The Building (2001)
    – First published in Redshift, edited by Al Sarrantonio.
  • Social Dreaming of the Frin (2002)
    – First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 103.
  • The Seasons of the Ansarac (2003)
    – First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, vol. 104.
  • LADeDeDa (2009)
    – Coauthored with Vonda McIntyre; first published in Nature, vol. 458.
  • Elementals (2013)
    – First published in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Rich Horton.
  • Pity and Shame (2018)
    – First published in Tin House magazine, Summer 2018 issue.
Fiction Chapbooks
  • Walking in Cornwall (1976)
    – Originally published privately.
  • The Water is Wide (1976)
    – Included in The Unreal and the Real (2012)
  • Tillai and Tylissos (1979)
    – Written with Theodora Kroeber.
  • In the Red Zone (1983)
    – Written with Theodora Kroeber.
  • A Winter Solstice Ritual (1991)
    – Written with Vonda McIntyre.
  • No Boats (1992)
    – Written with Vonda McIntyre.
  • Findings (1992)
  • Blue Moon over Thurman Street (1993
  • The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975)
Anthologies edited by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Nebula Award Stories 11 (1976)
  • Edges (1980)
    – With Virginia Kidd.
  • Interfaces (1980)
    – With Virginia Kidd.
  • The Norton Book of Science Fiction (1993)
    – With Brian Attebery.
  • Selected Stories of H. G. Wells (2004)
Children’s Books
Catwings
  • Catwings (1988)
  • Catwings Return (1989)
  • Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings (1994)
  • Jane On Her Own (1999)
Kesh/Always Coming Home
  • The Trouble with the Cotton People (1984)
    – Short story, first published in The Missouri Review, vol. 7.
  • The Visionary (1984)
    – Short story, first published in Parabola: Myth and the Quest for Meaning, vol. 9.
  • Time in the Valley (1985)
    – Short story, first published in The Hudson Review, vol. 37.
  • Always Coming Home (1985)
    – While usually described as a novel, this is, more precisely, a collage of tales, verse, drawings, and other material from a fictional future society in the Napa valley.
Stand-alone Children’s Books
  • Leese Webster (1979
  • The Adventure of Cobbler’s Rune (1982)
  • Solomon Leviathan’s Nine Hundred and Thirty-First Trip Around the World (1983)
  • A Visit from Dr. Katz (1988)
  • Fire and Stone (1988)
  • Fish Soup (1992)
  • A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back (1992)
  • Tom Mouse (2002)
  • Cat Dreams (2009)
Poetry
  • Wild Angels (1975)
  • Hard Words and Other Poems (1981)
  • Wild Oats and Fireweed: New Poems (1988)
  • Going out with Peacocks and Other Poems (1994)
  • The Twins, The Dream: Two Voices/Las Gemelas, El Sueño: Dos Voces (1997)
    – Co-authored with Diana Bellessi. Each author also translated the other’s poems.
  • Sixty Odd (1999)
  • Incredible Good Fortune (2006)
  • Four Different Poems (2007)
  • Out Here: Poems and Images from Steens Mountain Country (2010)
    – Illustrated with photographs by Roger Dorband.
  • Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems (2012)
  • Late in the Day: Poems 2010–2014 (2015)
  • So Far So Good: Poems 2014–2018 (2018)
Screenplay
  • King Dog: A Screenplay (1985)
Nonfiction
Essays
  • Fifteen Vultures, The Strop, and the Old Lady (1972)
    – First published in Clarion II: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and Criticism, edited by Robin Scott Wilson.
  • Dreams Must Explain Themselves (1973)
    – First published in Algol, vol. 21.
  • From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (1973)
    – Collection.
  • Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons? (1974)
    – First published in Pacific Northwest Library Association Quarterly, vol. 38.
  • The Child and the Shadow (1975)
    – First published in Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, vol. 32.
  • Ketterer on The Left Hand of Darkness (1975)
    – First published in Science Fiction Studies vol. 2.
  • American SF and The Other (1975)
    – First published in Science Fiction Studies vol. 2. Drawn from Le Guin’s statements at a panel on women in science fiction at a convention in Bellingham in 1973; later published in a special issue of Science Fiction Studies covering Le Guin’s work.
  • Is Gender Necessary? (1976)
    – First published in Aurora: Beyond Equality, edited by Vonda McIntyre and Susan Janice Anderson.
  • Science Fiction and Mrs Brown (1976)
    – First published in Science Fiction at Large, edited by Peter Nicholls. A speech that Le Guin gave in London in 1975..
  • The Language of the Night (1979)
    – Collection.
  • Dancing at the Edge of the World (1989)
    – Collection.
  • Way of the Water’s Going (1989)
    – Features text from Always Coming Home with photographs by Ernest Waugh and Allan Nicholson.
  • Earthsea Revisioned (1993)
    – Reproduction of a lecture given at Oxford University in 1992.
  • All Happy Families (1997)
    – First published in Michigan Quarterly Review, vol. 36.
  • Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew (1998)
    – Collection.
  • The Wave in the Mind (2004)
    – Collection.
  • Cheek by Jowl (2009)
    – Collection.
  • Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story (2015)
    – Collection
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016 (2016)
    – Collection
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters (2017)
    – Collection.
  • Dreams Must Explain Themselves and Other Essays 1972–2004 (2018)
    – Collection.
Nonfiction Chapbooks
  • The Altered I: An Encounter with Science Fiction (1976)
  • The Art of Bunditsu (1982)
  • Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction (1991)
  • Talking About Writing (1992
  • The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (2019)
    – Republication of the essay first published in Women of Vision, 1988.
Interviews
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing (2018)
    – A series of interviews conducted by David Naimon.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview (2018)
    – Edited by David Streitfeld.
Translations
  • Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching (1997)
  • Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral (2003)
  • Angélica Gorodischer: Kalpa Imperial (2003)
  • Gheorghe Săsărman: Squaring the Circle: A Pseudotreatise of Urbogony (2013)
    – With Mariano Martín Rodríguez.

 

A Selection of Quotes

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

“Meaning in art isn’t the same as meaning in science. The meaning of the second law of thermodynamics, so long as the words are understood, isn’t changed by who reads it, or when, or where. The meaning of Huckleberry Finn is.”

“I don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. I accept it. It isn’t a matter of faith, but of evidence.”

“It appears that we’ve given up on the long-range view. That we’ve decided not to think about consequences – about cause and effect. Maybe that’s why I feel that I live in exile. I used to live in a country that had a future.”

“A decision worthy of the name is based on observation, factual information, intellectual and ethical judgment. Opinion – that darling of the press, the politician, and the poll – may be based on no information at all.”

“Literature is a field a great many men consider theirs by right. Virginia Woolf committed successful competition in that field. She barely escaped the first and most effective punishment – omission from the literary canon after her death. Yet eighty or ninety years later charges of snobbery and invalidism are still used to discredit and diminish her. Marcel Proust’s limitations and his neuroticism were at least as notable as hers. But that Proust needed not only a room of his own but a cork-lined one is taken as proof he was a genius. That Woolf heard the birds singing in Greek shows only that she was a sick woman.”

“Opinion all too often leaves no room for anything but itself.”

“Cats have no guilt and very little shame.”

“Can women operate as women in a male institution without becoming imitation men?”

“Large, general questions about meaning, etc., can only be answered with generalities, which make me uncomfortable, because it is so hard to be honest when you generalize. If you skip over all the details, how can you tell if you’re being honest or not?”

“If we insist that in the real world the ultimate victor must be the good guy, we’ve sacrificed right to might. (That’s what History does after most wars, when it applauds the victors for their superior virtue as well as their superior firepower.) If we falsify the terms of the competition, handicapping it, so that the good guys may lose the battle but always win the war, we’ve left the real world, we’re in fantasy land – wishful thinking country.”

“When there’s no social pressure behind it, respectful behavior becomes a decision, an individual choice.”

“if I wanted to be the center of the universe I’d have a dog.”

“The racism, misogyny, and counter-rationality of the reactionary right in American politics for the last several years is a frightening exhibition of the destructive force of anger deliberately nourished by hate, encouraged to rule thought, invited to control behavior. I hope our republic survives this orgy of self-indulgent rage.”

“Thinking about Homer, and it occurred to me that his two books are the two basic fantasy stories: the War and the Journey.”

“So God is dead, at least as a swearword, but hate and feces keep going strong. Le roi est mort, vive le fucking roi.”

“Thus they both set a fatal trap for the believer: if you believe in God you can’t believe in evolution, and vice versa. But this is rather like saying if you believe in Tuesday you can’t believe in artichokes.”

“The idea that only belief sees the world as wonderful, and the ‘cold hard facts’ of science take all the color and wonder out of it, the idea that scientific understanding automatically threatens and weakens religious or spiritual insight, is just hokum.”

“Fear is seldom wise and never kind.”

“Maybe the prolonged ‘festival of cruelty’ going on in our literature and movies is an attempt to get rid of repressed anger by expressing it, acting it out symbolically. Kick everybody’s ass all the time! Torture the torturer! Describe every agony! Blow up everything over and over! Does this orgy of simulated or ‘virtual’ violence relieve anger, or increase the leaden inward load of fear and pain that causes it? For me, the latter; it makes me sick and scares me. Anger that targets everything and everybody indiscriminately is the futile, infantile, psychotic rage of the man with an automatic rifle shooting preschoolers. I can’t see it as a way of life, even pretended life. You hear the anger in my tone? Anger indulged rouses anger. Yet anger suppressed breeds anger. What is the way to use anger to fuel something other than hurt, to direct it away from hatred, vengefulness, self-righteousness, and make it serve creation and compassion?”

“I think Homer outwits most writers who have written on the War, by not taking sides. The Trojan war is not and you cannot make it be the War of Good vs. Evil. It’s just a war, a wasteful, useless, needless, stupid, protracted, cruel mess full of individual acts of courage, cowardice, nobility, betrayal, limb-hacking-off, and disembowelment. Homer was a Greek and might have been partial to the Greek side, but he had a sense of justice or balance that seems characteristically Greek – maybe his people learned a good deal of it from him? His impartiality is far from dispassionate; the story is a torrent of passionate actions, generous, despicable, magnificent, trivial. But it is unprejudiced. It isn’t Satan vs. Angels. It isn’t Holy Warriors vs. Infidels. It isn’t hobbits vs. orcs. It’s just people vs. people. Of course you can take sides, and almost everybody does. I try not to, but it’s no use, I just like the Trojans better than the Greeks.”

“Human societies provide us with various more elaborate devices. One of the most effective is respect. You don’t like the stranger, but your carefully respectful behavior to him elicits the same from him, thus avoiding the sterile expense of time and blood on aggression and defense. In less change-oriented societies than ours, a great part of the culture’s useful information, including the rules of behavior, is taught by the elders to the young. One of those rules is, unsurprisingly, a tradition of respect for age.”

“Respect has often been overenforced and almost universally misplaced (the poor must respect the rich, all women must respect all men, etc.). But when applied in moderation and with judgment, the social requirement of respectful behavior to others, by repressing aggression and requiring self-control, makes room for understanding. It creates a space where appreciation and affection can grow. Opinion all too often leaves no room for anything but itself.”

“If piano is the opposite of forte, graceful chitchat with strangers is definitely my piano.”

“It goes right back to the idea of the Power of Positive Thinking, which is so strong in America because it fits in so well with the Power of Commercial Advertising and with the Power of Wishful Thinking, aka the American Dream.”

“I think this is pretty much what Mr. Hamid says more politely, when he says that art is bigger than notions of black or white, male or female, American or non. Human beings don’t necessarily exist inside of (or correspond to) the neat racial, gendered or national boxes into which we often unthinkingly place them. It’s a mistake to ask literature to reinforce such structures. Literature tends to crack them. Literature is where we free ourselves.”

“War is something human beings do and show no signs of stopping doing, and so it may be less important to condemn it or to justify it than to be able to perceive it as tragic. But once you take sides, you have lost that ability.”

“I have watched my country accept, mostly quite complacently, along with a lower living standard for more and more people, a lower moral standard. A moral standard based on advertising.”

“As you know, Jim, a woman who competes successfully with men in a field men consider theirs by right risks being punished for it.”

“The strange fortune of my lynx brought him to live in an artificial environment, a human community utterly foreign to him. His isolation from his natural, complex wilderness habitat is grievous and unnatural. But his aloofness, his aloneness, is the truth of his own nature. He retains that nature, brings it among us unchanged. He brings us the gift of his indestructible solitude.”

“Somewhere inside us, I think, we all carry the Mowgli dream – that the other animals will see and accept us as one among them.”

“It seems to me the Super-Perceptive Child Victim of Self-Pity has something in common with the Inner Child: they’re lazy. It’s so much easier to blame the grownups than to be one.”

“All fundamentalisms set strict limits to the uses of imagination, outside which the fundamentalist’s imagination itself runs riot,”

“Upholders and defenders of a status quo, political, social, economic, religious, or literary, may denigrate or diabolize or dismiss imaginative literature, because it is – more than any other kind of writing – subversive by nature. It has proved, over many centuries, a useful instrument of resistance to oppression.”

“Meaning – this is perhaps the common note, the bane I am seeking. What is the Meaning of this book, this event in the book, this story …? Tell me what it Means. But that’s not my job, honey. That’s your job. I know, at least in part, what my story means to me. It may well mean something quite different to you. And what it meant to me when I wrote it in 1970 may be not at all what it meant to me in 1990 or means to me in 2011. What it meant to anybody in 1995 may be quite different from what it will mean in 2022.”

“Denial is an effective weapon in the hands of fear.”

“Indifference to what words actually say; willingness to accept a vapid truism as a useful, even revelatory concept; carelessness about where a supposed quotation comes from – that’s all part of what I like least about the Internet. A “blah blah blah, who cares, information is what I want it to be” attitude – a lazy-mindedness that degrades both language and thought.”

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader and the Imagination

“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.”

Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper’s Magazine, February 2008

“The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn’t have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you’re fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you’re reading a whole new book.”

The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

“Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.”

“In many college English courses the words ‘myth’ and ‘symbol’ are given a tremendous charge of significance. You just ain’t no good unless you can see a symbol hiding, like a scared gerbil, under every page. And in many creative writing course the little beasts multiply, the place swarms with them. What does this Mean? What does that Symbolize? What is the Underlying Mythos? Kids come lurching out of such courses with a brain full of gerbils. And they sit down and write a lot of empty pomposity, under the impression that that’s how Melville did it.”

Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story

“And here’s an example of deliberate violation of a Fake Rule: Fake Rule: The generic pronoun in English is he. Violation: ‘Each one in turn reads their piece aloud.’ This is wrong, say the grammar bullies, because each one, each person is a singular noun and their is a plural pronoun. But Shakespeare used their with words such as everybody, anybody, a person, and so we all do when we’re talking. (‘It’s enough to drive anyone out of their senses,’ said George Bernard Shaw.) The grammarians started telling us it was incorrect along in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. That was when they also declared that the pronoun he includes both sexes, as in ‘If a person needs an abortion, he should be required to tell his parents.’ My use of their is socially motivated and, if you like, politically correct: a deliberate response to the socially and politically significant banning of our genderless pronoun by language legislators enforcing the notion that the male sex is the only one that counts. I consistently break a rule I consider to be not only fake but pernicious. I know what I’m doing and why.”

Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”

The Left Hand of Darkness

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”

A Wizard of Earthsea

“It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.”

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

The Dispossessed

“Dead anarchists make martyrs, you know, and keep living for centuries. But absent ones can be forgotten.”

The Farthest Shore

“But when we crave power over life – endless wealth, unassailable safety, immortality – then desire becomes greed. And if knowledge allies itself to that greed, then comes evil. Then the balance of the world is swayed, and ruin weighs heavy in the scale.”

“Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility.”

Lavinia

“‘There’s a saying,’ Aeneas said: ‘Keep an eye on Greeks when they offer gifts.’ He spoke wryly. ‘Horses, particularly.'”

 

Find more quotes by Beryl Markham on Wikiquote and Goodreads.

 

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