Far and beyond the worlds she created was her perspective: on writing, being a writer, and, well, managing to live this crazy life and perhaps make it a better place while being a writer.
I only discovered her work later in life –which is all the more unforgivable when you realize she taught at my college briefly– but nevertheless, the books were there, waiting.
The first book I read, The Dispossessed, is not one of the most mentioned, though evidently well received when it came out. Here was a great science fiction novel not only full of worldbuilding, but also woven together with an elegant literary device playing with time — all the while not only exploring the concepts of anarchy and capitalism, but also how mathematicians and physicists think. It’s hard to explain how the book affected me so personally. It is neither melodramatic nor maudlin nor close to my own experiences. And yet, the impact is visceral.
From reading the remembrances from across the globe, I’m not the only one who made such a deep connection to her works:
- Constance Grady writes about her at Vox
- Longtime speculative fiction magazine Locus has a nice short piece
- Publisher Tor also has an obituary … and a more personal remembrance
- And you may not instantly think of LeGuin and GQ, but Lincoln Michel has a nice piece
- NPR appropriately notes her as “a titan”
- John Scalzi looks at her impact on generations of writers for the LA Times
- And Maria Popova covers some of why I find reading LeGuin’s thoughts on writing and the creative life so essential
I would be remiss if I didn’t also pass along a link one of my brothers shared: her receiving a lifetime achievement award at the National Book Awards in 2014:
The loss is real. But the books are there, waiting.