“Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore.,” reports Gerald Jonas in The New York Times. Le Guin was 88.
The cause of death was not reported.
The Times continues, “Ms. Le Guin embraced the standard themes of her chosen genres: sorcery and dragons, spaceships and planetary conflict. But even when her protagonists are male, they avoid the macho posturing of so many science fiction and fantasy heroes. The conflicts they face are typically rooted in a clash of cultures and resolved more by conciliation and self-sacrifice than by swordplay or space battles.”
Writes the Associated Press, “A longtime feminist, Le Guin earned degrees from Radcliffe and Columbia. Her 1983 ‘Left-Handed Commencement Address’ at Mills College was ranked one of the top 100 speeches of the 20th century in a 1999 survey by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Texas A&M University.
“‘Why should a free woman with a college education either fight Machoman or serve him?’ she told the graduates. ‘Why should she live her life on his terms? … I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated.’”
To read the entire speech, please click here, where it is posted on Le Guin’s website.
Cover of a First Edition of “Left Hand of Darkness”