Happy birthday, Ursula K. Leguin
Today is Ursula K. Le Guin's 80th birthday. The multiple-award-winning writer is best known for "The Wizard of Earthsea" and is thought of for her science fiction, although she has crossed many boundaries.
Earlier this year, she talked to Scott Timberg for the L.A. Times about writing and its possibilities:
"I agree with Tolstoy that the best way to tell a story is invisibly. But I also hear what I write, and I think if you can't read it out loud, there's something wrong with it.
"[2008's 'Lavinia'] isn't like anything else I've done. But the dignified style is the way I used to write, in the first Earthsea books. Some of the cadences are storytelling rather than story writing.
"I'm following Tolkien's prescription for fantasy creation. You are making a world out of words, and the only thing that's going to hold it together is its inner consistency.
"Writing science fiction and fantasy allow you to back off a little bit, to try to find the problems that always come back, that we never solve. Like gender relations, war -- once there's more than 50 of us living in one place we seem to have war.
"How do we and why do we enslave one another? Slavery is maybe another way of saying class. And of course race, which is involved in the others. I'm just circling around these subjects, which have become somewhat clearer to me as I've gotten older, as being the big problems."
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Ursula K. Le Guin in 2008. Credit: Benjamin Reed