Ursula K. Le Guin: Overview

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Editor: Dave Mote
Date: 1997
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 809 words

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America's Grande Dame of science fiction, Ursula Le Guin had no easy start to her writing career. Publishers said her early work was neither one genre nor another, so despite its obvious merit, it couldn't be published. But once launched, Le Guin has made a career of breaking down barriers that limit what we read, think, and imagine.

Le Guin has won numerous prizes, including the Boston Globe and Newbery awards for the Earthsea trilogy (1979); Hugo and Nebula awards for "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelos" (1976) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1985); and many more. Favorably compared to C.S. Lewis's Narnia chronicles and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Le Guin's efforts share with those works the ability to create new worlds that help us reexamine our own. She proffers serious literature that entertains while educating, blurring the distinction between "merely" fantastic and "real" literature to the infinite benefit of readers and writers alike.

Le Guin's best-known works are included in her Hainish cycle, which focuses on planets loosely knit by having been "seeded" in their early history by the Hainish; and her Earthsea cycle, a trilogy expanded with a fourth volume.

Prompted to write for children, Le Guin...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420004893