The Associated Press announced that Ursula K. Le Guin is receiving an honorary National Book Award!

The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced Tuesday that Le Guin was receiving the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Previous winners include Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer and Elmore Leonard. Le Guin, 84, is known for such novels as The Left Hand of Darkness and The Farthest Shore, which in 1973 won the National Book Award for young people’s literature.

Neil Gaiman, who has long cited Le Guin as among his favorite writers, will present her with the medal at a ceremony being held in New York on November 19th.

See also: The National Book Foundation announcement.

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of science fiction’s greats: her stories Left Hand of Darkness, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Dispossessed rank among the genre’s best works, and she moves easily between science fiction and fantasy, writing things that science fiction authors had barely touched before she came onto the scene. To say she was influential is to undersell one’s words.

I have to say, of all of Le Guin’s works that I’ve read, the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most was A Wizard of Earthsea, which I read years ago. Of all the fantasy novels I’ve picked up, it’s probably one of the ones that’s stuck with me the most.

Go read The Left and Right Hands of Ursula K. Le Guin over on Kirkus Reviews.


Small Beer Press has sent along the table of contents for Ursula K. Le Guin’s upcoming multi-volume collection Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Here’s the description:

Ursula K. Le Guin’s stories have shaped the way many readers see the world. By giving voice to the voiceless, hope to the outsider, and speaking truth to power—all the time maintaining her independence and sense of humor—she has proven herself one of our greatest writers. This two-volume selection of Le Guin’s stories — as selected by the author — omits stories directly connected to novels. The first volume, Where on Earth, focuses on Le Guin’s interests in realism and magic realism and includes stories from The Compass Rose, Orsinian Tales, The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, Buffalo Gals, Searoad, and Unlocking the Air. The companion volume Outer Space Inner Lands includes Le Guin’s best known nonrealistic stories. Both volumes include new introductions by the author.

And here’s the table of contents for both volumes…
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Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic Earthsea cycle is being reprinted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Simon & Schuster:

  1. A Wizard of Earthsea
  2. The Tombs of Atuan
  3. The Farthest Shore
  4. Tehanu
  5. Tales from Earthsea
  6. The Other Wind

Here’s a brand new video of Ms. Le Guin talking about the series…
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Edward Einhorn and Untitled Theater Company #61 are bringing Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic (and awesome) science fiction novel The Lathe of Heaven to the stage next month. The plan is to use multiple methods of storytelling, including video and operatic songs. To enhance this experience, they are seeking funding via Kickstarter.

The production has been authorized by Ms. Le Guin’s herself, and the Kickstarter page offers a recent interview with her.

Here’s some more information, plus the video.
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Back in the day, reading speculative fiction was something young people did outside of school. Today it’s much more common to find speculative fiction books in their book bags. [grumble, grumble...these kids don't know how good they have it...grumble, grumble] While it may be some of the same standard speculative fiction books that are assigned, there are always a great list of alternative science fiction titles that should be assigned to students.

We received an email from one student, Ryan Bonick, who is supposed to read 2 short stories for a paper he is writing. His assigned author is Ursula K. Le Guin and has a simple question that I am passing along to our readers for their opinions:

Q: What are Ursula K. Le Guin’s best short stories?

Leave a comment after the beep….

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REVIEW SUMMARY: A thought-provoking classic.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: George Orr, a man who can alter reality with his dreams, is manipulated by Dr. Haber, a dream specialist.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Awesome premise; excellent characterizations; great writing.
CONS: None, really, though I was frustrated that this Omnipotent Reader couldn’t figure out a way for George to solve his problems.
BOTTOM LINE: An excellent, thought-provoking classic.

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