Right after my last post, about The Lathe of Heaven, I started seeing stuff about Ursula K. Le Guin all over the Internet. Turns out she has won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Here’s a nice bit from her acceptance speech:
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.
There’s a nice overview of Le Guin’s work in the Oyster Review in which I learnt, among other things, that she got her name from her French husband. (Le Guin is a French/Breton name, and I wondered what the story was behind that, if she was, like Kerouac, of French-Canadian descent).
Holding a table for half and hour right in the middle of the lunchtime crowd – “I’m waiting for somebody” – “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for somebody” – and so nobody comes and nobody comes, and so finally she had to order and shove the stuff down in a big rush, and so now she’d have heartburn. On top of pique, umbrage and ennui. Oh, the French diseases of the soul.
– from The Lathe of Heaven
[This is actually the first thing I ever read by Le Guin*. Which is shocking, because it is brilliant, a very nicely done novel on very perilous writing grounds. Le Guin handles George Orr, her anti-hero who changes the world when he dreams, wakes up to a Portland fucked up in various oneiric ways, like a boss. I don’t know how else to say it. The Lathe of Heaven is the kind of book that makes you want to leaf back a couple of pages as you read, in the best possible way, to check out all the foreshadowing and clues you no doubt missed.]
*[Can this be blamed on some “literary” fiction scene prejudice thingy, ignoring major works because they happen to have a stray robot, or alien, or something in them, rather than on my own flaws? I hope so.]
I’ve a story in the new issue of NANO Fiction, the magazine of tiny stories. I just received it, and it’s a small thing of beauty. They’re always looking for fiction under 300 words, folks!