Ursula K Le Guin, sci-fi and fantasy author, dies at 88

Ursula K. Le Guin whose science fiction and fantasy novels and stories helped elevate the genre has died at her Portland home. She was 88

Ursula K. Le Guin, Fantasy and Science-Fiction Pioneer, Dead at 88

LeGuin, the best-selling author of beloved science fiction and fantasy novels like The Left Hand Of Darkness and the Earthsea series, has died at her home in Portland, Oregon.

In 1969, Le Guin published The Left Hand of Darkness, which was about a planet where people aren't assigned a gender but rather adopt one for brief periods of reproduction.

Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages and one of her most popular books, "The Left Hand of Darkness", has been in print from nearly 50 years.

Le Guin was a staunch champion of the intellectual strength of science fiction and fantasy at a time when they were often relegated without a thought to the realm of the unserious "genre ghetto". "For a woman, any literary award, honors, notice of any sort has been an uphill climb", she told the LA Review of Books a year ago.

She had also written books on poetry and writing that are still unpublished, Downs-Le Guin said.

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"Her words are always with us".

"I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died", he wrote. Indeed, she completed a triple crown of the genres' biggest prizes, earning the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards several times over.

Ursula le Guin: "If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there's no way you can act morally or responsibly".

The Earthsea books have sold in the millions in 16 languages.

She is survived by her husband, son, two daughters, two brothers, and four grandchildren, according to the New York Times.

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In 2014, Le Guin was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the National Book Foundation.

No matter the form or the subject, Le Guin's prolific output displayed a consistently high level of quality and gracefulness. The novel focuses on themes about the way sex and gender play roles in culture and society, and is noted as one of the first examples of feminist science fiction literature.

In return, Le Guin has named authors including J.R.R. Tolkein, Leo Tolstoy, the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf as her own inspiration. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. We who followed her as both readers and writers are the lucky ones. Her works aren't just influential: They loom like monuments over the horizon of our shared imagination.

Michael Berry writes the science fiction and fantasy column for The San Francisco Chronicle.

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