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Ursula K LeGuin - RIP

JohnBobMead

It's an Author issue, just not one of our authors.

I just received word that Ursula K LeGuin died earlier today.

She was one of the earliest authors of SF/F that I came across; the Children's Library of the Salem Public Library had A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, and shortly after I read those The Farthest Shore was published.

While I don't think I ever actually talked with her, I saw her at conferences in the Portland, Oregon area several times over the years, and was always impressed by her.

Wheezer

We are losing all the great ones. :(

helmut_meukel

My book collection contains only seven of her books all from the 60s to mid-70s in german translations:
The Lathe of Heaven
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Word for World is Forest
The Dispossessed
Rocannon's World
Planet of Exile
City of Illusions
(titles sorted by their German publishing date)

HM.

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
Vlad_Inhaler

@helmut_meukel

I tried to read Rocannons Welt (Heyne, DM 3.80) in an early attempt to improve my German. The translator was not in a mood to take prisoners, even now I have to speculate what parts of the German translation actually mean.
Did she write any poor books? I certainly don't remember any and I read virtually all of her works.

JohnBobMead

@Vlad_Inhaler

Did she write any poor books?


Not really.

I haven't read The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, because I wasn't interested in the concepts she was exploring in those novels. I have no question about the quality of those works.

Everything of hers that I have read, was worth reading. And rereading.

That her parents were very well known cultural anthropologists came as no surprise to me when I found that out (a very long time ago); her cultures are meticulously constructed, and the clash between cultures accurately reflects the underlying worldview of those cultures.

Geek of Ages

In her science fiction, the science was often a social science, ive heard it said.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Geek of Ages

In her science fiction, the science was often a social science, ive heard it said.


Yes.

She did not write "Hard SF". Technology was only relevant in regard to how it impacted people's interactions. Thus, she was very careful concerning the technologies within her works; most of her stories with space travel used a star drive that took decades for long voyages, even though very little time passed for those travelling; returning to your home world to find yourself the same age as your adult grandchildren; people thought long and hard prior to setting out to journey to another stellar system.

She focused on cultures, on how people related to each other both within and between cultures. On the impact your actions had on others, and the impact others actions had on you.

Ethics was a very big thing in her works. Striving for the fewest negative results, even if it meant not getting as great a benefit yourself. The danger of unintended consequences.

helmut_meukel

@Vlad_Inhaler

I tried to read Rocannons Welt (Heyne, DM 3.80) in an early attempt to improve my German. The translator was not in a mood to take prisoners, even now I have to speculate what parts of the German translation actually mean.


In her science fiction, the science was often a social science


I was – and still am – a fan of "Hard SF".
Given the dubious quality of the translations together with my preference for "Hard SF" I didn't read any of her other books.
When I stopped buying german translations and purchased british and american editions the prices were exorbitant high in Germany prior to Amazon. So I bought most of the books on vacation tours in GB or Scandinavia. I usually returned home with a dozen or more books from my favorite authors.

HM.

BTW, I look at Amazon about twice a year but hav'n't bought any dead tree edition in the last three years. I now own about 900 ebooks – all in EPUB format – and as long as Amazon insists on selling ebooks for Kindle only I will not buy any from them.

Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

BTW, I look at Amazon about twice a year but hav'n't bought any dead tree edition in the last three years. I now own about 900 ebooks – all in EPUB format – and as long as Amazon insists on selling ebooks for Kindle only I will not buy any from them.

In a pinch, if an author only publishes via Kindle, you could convert it to other formats yourself. Just saying ...

Vlad_Inhaler

@helmut_meukel

Given the dubious quality of the translations together with my preference for "Hard SF" I didn't read any of her other books.

The translation was excellent. It was - as far as I can see - appropriate for an epic from the middle ages. Unfortunately it used terms I have never seen before or since because I don't normally read epics from the middle ages and my German is "modern".

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