Opinion: In her science fiction and fantasy, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote so much about reality

Author Ursula K. Le Guin in 2008.
(Benjamin Reed / For The Times)

To the editor: I was attracted to the work of writer Ursula K. Le Guin, who died Monday, for the same reason that I read books about cavemen goring dinosaurs and saw movies about samurai fighting with tiki torches: She didn’t write about the world I lived in, which I was desperately trying to escape.

As I matured, however, I discovered that she was indeed writing about my world — that of the lonely artist and intellectual in a chaotic social environment, grappling with issues of community and isolation, desire and reality, time and mortality.

I suppose this is a good time to remember the words of her wizard Ged, spoken as he lights a fire to warm himself and his traveling companion. Death, Ged says, “is terrible, and should be feared.” Then, he adds, “And life also is terrible thing, and must be feared and praised.”

Her works, without losing sight of the shadows, will go on praising life for many generations to come.


Philip Walsh, Northridge

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