Kelly Link in Praise of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Genuine Magic

1960s: Days of Rage

“Originally, The Lathe of Heaven appeared in two installments in Amazing Stories, a pulp magazine started in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback. Ursula Le Guin, born in 1929, read Amazing Stories as a child and would go on to outlive almost all the science fiction pulp magazines. While many of the writers Gernsback introduced to the field have fallen out of fashion and been forgotten, Le Guin’s influence has expanded beyond all original bounds of genre, appropriately so, as her writing was profoundly slippery, generous, shape-shifting, and outreaching from the very start. The Lathe of Heaven has the feel of a fable, part fairy tale, part philosophical and psychological exploration of questions central to much of Le Guin’s work: What are the consequences of working for change, even with the best of intentions? What is the cost of utopia? What is the use and meaning of dreams? The protagonist, George…

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