Ursula Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson are two of the greatest writers of our time, period. Though their works are often categorized as ‘science fiction’ they may be better regarded as social visionaries. They have created imaginary worlds to explore elaborately detailed “what if” scenarios, using all the tools of memorable writing—image, plot, character, attention to the nuances of language–to fashion profound literary works. Along the way they’ve won national awards, including Hugos and Nebulas galore, and a huge and faithful readership.
Although they are long-time friends they have never, to the best of their recollection, read together. So it will be a very special evening indeed when Le Guin and Robinson appear together at “Transformation without Apocalypse,” Saturday, February 15, 7:30 pm.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of links to prime your interest:
In a New Yorker review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s work titled, “Our Greatest Political Novelist?” Tim Kreider writes: “Our culture is adrift between stories right now—the old ones we lived on for thousands of years aren’t working anymore, and we haven’t come up with new ones to replace them yet. It’s natural for us to see ourselves as being at history’s endpoint, since, so far, we are, but part of science fiction’s job is to remind us that it’s early yet, we’re still a primitive people, the Golden Age may lie ahead. In an era filled with complacent dystopias and escapist apocalypses, Robinson is one of our best, bravest, most moral, and most hopeful storytellers. It’s no coincidence that so many of his novels have as their set pieces long, punishing treks through unforgiving country with diminishing provisions, his characters exhausted and despondent but forcing themselves to slog on. What he’s telling us over and over, like the voice of the Third Wind whispering when all seems lost, is that it’s not too late, don’t get scared, don’t give up, we’re almost there, we can do this, we just have to keep going.” Read the entire insightful piece HERE.
Ursula LeGuin was recently featured in a Paris Review interview. It’s a fascinating romp. Early on Le Guin says, “But where I can get prickly and combative is if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.” Read the whole tentacular piece HERE.
Le Guin’s two-volume collected short stories, The Real and the Unreal, is a finalist for this year’s Oregon Book Award. Here’s a fine Bookslut review of that collection.
Also, Le Guin, ever active and thoughtful, keeps one of the most engaging websites around, including frequent blog posts. Here’s a link to it.