Ursula Le Guin Archive
Certain writers—often those writers who are said to “transcend their genre”—combine action-filled plots with complex character development. How do they stop the action in, say, a zombie apocalypse, so that the characters can become intimate and so the reader can grow to care about their inner lives?
Classics such as George Orwell’s 1984 with its now-ubiquitous “Big Brother,” Ray Bradbury’s censorship critique Fahrenheit 451, and Margaret Atwood’s terrifyingly gender-regressive Handmaid’s Tale depict societies strangled by the evil clutches of the government and the populace’s inability to identify and challenge their own manipulation.
On the morning of May 18, 1980, nine years after The Lathe of Heaven first appeared, Mt. St. Helens erupts just seventy miles north of Portland, sending a roiling shaft of smoke nine miles into the atmosphere.
One of my truly terrible habits is a reflexive desire to pour salt on a wound. Tell me your troubles, and I’m likely to say, “Oh, this is so much worse than you think.” For example, many editors and agents have said to me over the years, “I loved