The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin

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Ursula Le Guin is a legend in the SciFi world, noted for her fearlessness, progressive themes, deep thinking about utopias, and so on. I haven’t read her YA work, but her SF stuff is terrific. Supplementals about her:

A New Yorker article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/17/the-fantastic-ursula-k-le-guin

A speech she gave recently: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/20/ursula-k-le-guin-national-book-awards-speech .

For the next meeting, let’s read the opening of one of my favorite novels, the Lathe of Heaven, about a man who dreams new realities into being.

Here’s a PDF:

http://classes.dma.ucla.edu/Spring16/25/docs/latheofheaven-fulltext.pdf

Let’s read the first two chapters.

  1. How effectively do the first two chapters set up the world, characters, and main problem of the story?
  2. How does Le Guin establish characters of our protagonist (Orr) and antagonist (Haber)? How does she show Haber’s personality?
  3. How effectively does Le Guin introduce her worldbuilding and science details? Is it necessary to the plot/themes?
  4. If you hadn’t been told this story was ‘Science Fiction’, how would you have categorized it? Does it neatly fall into the genre?
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