The Internet Reacts to Death of Ursula K. Le Guin

Things We Saw Today: RIP Ursula K. Le Guin, The Queen of Fantasy

So she chose to bestow upon herself the power that was more often afforded to men.

The legendary Le Guin is known for her works such as the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Dispossessed.

Pacific Northwest writers and institutions figured prominently in the outpouring of condolences on social media.

"Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greats, has passed", Stephen King wrote on Twitter. Mixing science fiction and fantasy, and told from the point of view of an interplanetary envoy stranded in a planet with a medieval culture, the novel hinted at something different. "Godspeed into the galaxy", tweeted King.

Le Guin was often dismissed as "just" a science-fiction or fantasy writer, but admirers knew she was much more than that. "Her words are always with us".

British-born Neil Gaiman, also a Hugo and Nebula victor, said Le Guin's words were "written on his soul". Her mother, Theodora Quinn Kroeber, wrote the biography "Ishi in Two Worlds".

Principles and beliefs associated with Taoism were also central to Le Guin's imaginative fiction: non-action, living harmoniously with the self and the universe, respecting the natural rhythms of life.

"What I read as a kid, what other people were writing, it was very male-centered", Le Guin said in an interview with The Chronicle in 2016.

I removed the word because it made her uncomfortable.

Ms. Le Guin studied Renaissance literature at Radcliffe College, graduating in 1951, and one year later received a master's degree from Columbia University with a thesis on representations of death in the French poetry of Pierre de Ronsard. She wrote five unpublished novels, which were deemed "too inaccessible" to publish.

The books have since sold millions of copies worldwide, and were even turned into a feature length animated film in 2006, Tales From Earthsea.

Le Guin considered Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" and John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" great books. "I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated". The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), a truly revolutionary novel about a race of aliens that changes gender at will, which holds up better than ever in 2018?

Throughout her career, Le Guinwon major speculative fiction awards the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award and World Fantasy Award, each a few times. "I just wanted to do my job writing, and to do it really well", she told The Paris Review in an interview from her family home in 2013. Her early teaching career also included a brief stop on the Palouse.

In 2014, she was recognized by the National Book Foundation for her body of work, some of which is now being reprinted in deluxe editions by the Library of America. Their third installment, "The Farthest Shore", received the National Book Award for children's literature.

She once translated the ancient "Tao Te Ching", publishing her take on the Taoist classic. Speaking of it in 2013, Le Guin said, "In the 1960s, we started talking about gender". She inspired a generation of writers to unshackle from realism - a mode she once accused of centering the human undeservedly - in favor of her wide and generous vision.

Despite her claim of being less political than Saramago, Le Guin's essays are critical of American politics, beginning with the Nixon and Reagan eras and continuing through the Obama-Romney debates. She has been both playful and powerful.

The Lathe of Heaven was often seen as Le Guin's tribute to Philip K. Dick - another writer who liked to poke the boundaries of reality. "We not only love her; we need her".

Michael Berry writes the science fiction and fantasy column for The San Francisco Chronicle.

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