Tag Archives: writers

amongothers

Quick Hit: Women Win Nebulas!

It is so splendid when excellent people are recognized for their excellence! It’s delightful that Octavia Butler won a posthumous Solstice Award and that Connie Willis was given the Damon Knight Grand Master Award. And! I am personally over the moon that Jo Walton’s Among Others won the 2011 Nebula.

I loved this book so very much and if I haven’t already forced it into your hands, you are to imagine me doing it now: this is a geek feminist coming-of-age novel, and it is full of wonders.

Wednesday Geek Woman: Ursula K. Le Guin

Wednesday Geek Woman submissions are currently open.

A version of this post appeared a few weeks ago at Hoyden About Town.

A little capsule summary for people who haven’t read her work: Ursula K. Le Guin is a novelist, poet and essayist. She is best known for science fiction and fantasy, particularly the six Earthsea books (five novels and a collection of stories) set in an archepeligo world with advanced magic and pre-industrial tech; and various books set in her Hainish universe, which is a future series in which Earth, among other planets among relatively nearby stars, turn out to have all have hominid species on them, established some millions of years ago by a still existing ancestral species the Hainish, in a series of biological/sociological experiments. This has allowed her to write, for example, The Left Hand of Darkness, Winter’s King and Coming of Age in Karhide, set in a world of primates with a sort of oestrous cycle in which their bodies can become either male or female, and who have otherwise no gender or sexuality; and The Matter of Seggri, about a world on which there are about sixteen women born for every man, and men are kept apart with their role in society being purely exhibition of strength, sex, and providing sperm.

Le Guin is something of a goto name for someone who wants to make sure their list of Great Science Fiction includes something, anything, by a woman: she’s white, she has by now become a big name and is award-winning and Taken Seriously (see Guest Post by Alisa Krasnostein: The Invisibility of Women in Science Fiction at Hoyden). I… do think she’s worth reading anyway! But don’t stop there, I doubt she’d want you to.

I’ve enjoyed Le Guin’s writing for years, but here is her crowning Hoyden moment for me, in a 2001 interview by Nick Gevers, a science fiction editor and critic:

[Gevers asks] Who, for you, are the finest SF authors now writing — both your fellow feminist writers and more generally?

[Le Guin answers] First I am to list fellow feminists and then… non-fellow anti-feminists? Come on, Nick, let’s get out of the pigeonholes. If feminism is the idea that differences between the genders, beyond the strictly physiological, are an interesting subject of study, but have not been determined, and so are not a sound basis for society to use in prescribing or proscribing any proclivity or activity — which is what I think it is — then I probably don’t read any non-feminist SF writers, these days. Do you?

Here’s a few selected pieces of Le Guin’s writing:

Le Guin has a fairly large website with links to most of her recent online writing.

If I had to recommend a single piece of writing of hers, I would say that its the short story The Day Before the Revolution (probably easiest to find in the collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters), which probably benefits a lot if you read The Dispossessed for context first (The Dispossessed is a fine novel, so not just for context). The Day Before the Revolution was published when Le Guin was 45 years old. She wasn’t old at the time, and I am not old yet, but it is the closest I come to understanding how it might be.

Wikipedia: Ursula K. Le Guin

Isn’t that “Le WIN”?

Happy Birthday Ursula K. Le Guin!

Today in Le Guin’s honor, people are blogging birthday wishes to her and discussing her work.

Glitter Words

Here’s a starting point for today’s wishes and thoughts for her:

* Happy Birthday from Feminist SF: The Blog
* Happy Birthday from Aqueduct Press!
* Happy Birthday from Finding Dulcinea
* Happy Birthday from the SFWA
* Interview with Guernica magazine (not a birthday tribute, but good)

From the interview with Guernica, on writing as a woman and on feminism:

There wasn’t any aha! moment about feminism for me. I just kept reading stuff and thinking. My mind works slowly and obscurely, and I mostly find out what I’m doing by looking at what I’m doing or have done. Mostly I don’t even do that. But when what I do isn’t getting done very well, when it seems to be stuck or going wrong, that induces me to look at it. ‘What am I doing? Why isn’t it behaving?’ This happened in the middle of The Eye of the Heron, when Lev insisted on getting himself killed in the middle of the story, leaving my book without a hero, and me wondering what the hell? It took a good deal of backing up and pondering over what I had written to realize that Luz had been the hero all along, that Luz was the one who would lead her people into the wilderness. I can identify that as the moment when I consciously shifted from a male protagonist to a female protagonist, when the male was marginalized and the woman became the center.


Photo: Geeks at WisCon beaming with happiness after singing a song to Ursula in her honor.
"we sang our song to ursula!!!"

Please add more links and birthday wishes in comments!

Alongside the great storytelling and stimulating ideas in her fiction, the breadth and depth of the body of her work is inspiring. Her creative work spans many years and many literary forms. She’s a translator, a teacher, a scholar and intellectual, respected all over the world.

Books by Ursula K. Le Guin

What is your favorite of her books?

What has Le Guin’s work meant to you over the course of your life?

Was she, or was her work, a touchstone for you as a geek feminist?