Ursula K. Le Guin was an American writer who was considered one of the masters of the science fiction genre and often compared to Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke. The author also wrote fantasy, poetry, children's books and essays.
She was a truly prolific and talented author, a feminist to the core. She created fantastic worlds in which the female protagonists possessed a strong will that emanated from herself.
An understanding of both anthropology and diverse cultures influenced Ursula K's highly acclaimed science fiction writing, Le Guin. In books such as Earthquake or The Left Hand of Darkness, she created what Nancy Jesser, in Feminist Writers, called "an anthropology of the future, imagining whole systems and cultural conflicts.
Avoiding archetypal science-fiction heroes, muscular men, complacent women, and overblown technology as the cause and solution to the world's problems, Le Guin was known for skillfully telling a story that contained many layers of meaning beneath a tranquil exterior.
Her Earthsea novels have been cited by several critics as characteristic of her work; one essayist in Science Fiction Writers commented that "her books were not limited by realistic facts or scientific speculation, but only by the author's moral imagination. Echoes of Taoism, Jungian psychology, ecological concerns and myths resonate throughout her writings.
Much of her scientific interest came from the intellectually stimulating environment in which she grew up. Her father, an anthropologist, was noted for her studies of California's native cultures. Her mother, Theodora Kroeber Quinn, was a psychologist and, in her later years, also a writer; she would be a particularly considerable influence on her daughter, both as a writer and a feminist.
After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the Radcliffe College of Harvard University, where she graduated in 1951. She was a member of the national Phi Beta Kappa honour and received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Paris in 1953, after earning a master's degree in Middle Ages and Renaissance Romantic Literature from Columbia University the year before.
Her early writings consisted of poetry and short fiction. Her first published work was the story "April in Paris", which appeared in the magazine Fantastic in 1962 when she was 33 years old.
She married the historian Charles A. Le Guin., they had two daughters and a son. Le Guin died in their home in Portland after several months of health problems. Her more than 20 novels have been translated into over 40 languages.
Her most famous quotes:
"Science fiction is an immense metaphor."
"Truth, as always, eludes the stranger."
"To hear, you must be silent" (Earthsea)
"A dragon's hunger is slow to awaken, but then it is hard to quench." (Earthsea)
"Separation educates, no doubt, but your presence is the education I want" (The dispossessed)
"The ecology of a forest is very delicate. If the forest perishes, the fauna can become extinct along with it" (The name of the world is Forest)
"It wasn't important, after all. He was just a man. A man's fate is unimportant." (Rocannon's World)
"Light is the left hand of darkness, and darkness is the right hand of light; the two are one, life and death, together as lovers."
"Between thought and the spoken word there is a fissure into which intention can penetrate, the symbol can be abstracted and the lie admitted into existence" (The City of Illusions)
"Sometimes there's too much sex in our authors. Is there really that much sex in our lives? We talk more about work, about relationships. Sex writing is not very good. That's when it's not pure pornography. Describing sex, in general, is more boring than baseball.
"Science fiction is no small thing. And it's not just, or especially, the Enterprise or Star Wars or the space troops. It means experimenting with imagination, answering questions that have no answers. It implies very profound things, that every journey is irreversible..."
"The wise man asks not, and the foolish man asks in vain" (Earthsea)
"To light, a candle is to cast a shadow..." (EARTHQUAKE)