The Usrula K. Le Guin Reread for Tor.com
The Le Guin Reread is a series of biweekly posts covering each of Le Guins major works. It is written by Sean Guynes, READ / REBEL organizer, and can be found here. The Le Guin Reread is offered as a remembrance of Le Guin's transformative writing, exciting worlds, and stories that changed countless lives. The Reread isn't a memorial, for though Le Guin may be dead, Guynes has no interest in raising a mausoleum and singing praises, neglecting or cutting short any hint of criticism. No, Le Guin lives with us through her fiction—it is powerful, imperfect, necessary. If we want it, her words can be a mirror for us, a blueprint, a warning, a comfort, a biting urge to write, make, or do something more.
Ursula K. Le Guin
The blurb publishers use: "Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. She was the bestselling author of the Earthsea books and the Hainish books, including The Left Hand of Darkness, which was awarded both the Nebula and the Hugo Awards. With the awarding of the 1975 Hugo and Nebula Awards to The Dispossessed, she became the first author to win both awards twice for novels. She passed away in 2018."
But a lot more can be said. She was radically political, challenged the status quo of science fiction and fantasy, and was a well-known anarchist, advocate of communitarian organizing, a Taoist, feminist, and all around incredible human, in addition to being a magnificently gifted writer. She used her fiction, poetry, translations, and essays to show us how to remake the world.
Le Guin represents the very essence of what READ / REBEL is about. The list of books covered in the reread is provided on this list, in the order of reading (semi-chronological), to acknowledge and encourage those following the Reread or discovering Le Guin to the first time to buy here. A few books are missing, namely those from the 1990s and early 2000s that are difficult to find "new," as well as several essay collections. These can be found elsewhere.
In one of her final speeches, at the National Book Awards, Le Guin asked us to stick it to Amazon. That's what Bookshop.org and READ / REBEL are all about. Le Guin knew well — and we agree — that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, only slightly less unethical consumption. That's what we're trying to encourage.