Ursula K. Le Guin

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Name: Ursula K. Le Guin
Also Known As:
Occupation: writer
Works: Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness
Official Website(s): Web Site: Wikipedia
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages
A playful Venn diagram made by tumblr blogger protectspock. The quotes reference both Le Guin's politics as well as her commentary on slash fandom's classic ship - Spirk or K/S. See the original image here.

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American novelist, primarily in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Much of her adult writing relates to issues of gender and sexuality. Several of her SF stories mention a faster-than-light communications device, the Ansible (an anagram of "lesbian") and this name has become common in other authors' works, most notably in Ender's Game and its sequels by Orson Scott Card. It's also used as the title of the British fanzine Ansible.

As were many science fiction writers of her time, Le Guin was a contributor to zines. One example is The Witch and the Chameleon.

Some Well-Known Works

  • the Earthsea universe, starting with: A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1970), and The Farthest Shore (1972)
  • The Hainish Cycle, a number of Le Guin's sci-fi novels and stories that take place in the same alternate history. The connections within the Cycle are not meant to form a coherent chronology.
  • the novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970
  • The Dispossessed (1974). which won a Nebula Award, Hugo Award; Locus Award. Involves themes of anarchism.
  • "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," a short story and parable.
  • "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" (1994). A short story set in the Hainish universe that originated the sedoretu trope.

The Left Hand of Darkness

from Gayle F's Interphase calendar, "January" features a features a man (male Spock) and a woman. (female Kirk), and its title is "The Left Hand of Darkness"

The Left Hand of Darkness is an early example of feminist science fiction and genderfuck: its Gethenian people are genderless and can become either male or female during mating periods.

Some fans cite this book as a slashy source of inspiration. The first issue of Hanky Panky had a list of recommended reading with queer content, and this one was on it.

The Earthsea Universe

See Earthsea for information on the fandom and examples of fanworks and fan communities.

"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"

"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is a short story by Le Guin. A quote from this short story will sometimes be brought up in discussions regarding media, particularly in regards to themes and endings, perceived as bleak, dark or mean-spirited, particularly in modern media:

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.

One fan's response to this quote is astolat's Transformers Generation One fanfiction, Victory Condition, which explores the themes of this quote in Le Guin's story.[1][2]

Omelas has also inspired plenty of pro-writers to publish response stories or rewrites over the years, including some by fans who also write professionally, like N.K. Jemisin.[3] These stories are often divisive: many, such as Jemisin's piece or the 2024 response story by Isabel J. Kim,[4] receive widespread accolades, but Kurt Schiller wrote a 2022 essay criticizing such stories (including, at length, Jemisin's) that was itself very popular among SFF fans.[5] Schiller wrote:

“Omelas” is a masterpiece, a fable that is all the more gripping for its puzzling lack of moral. But this powerful ambiguity is at the heart of both the story’s staying power and its strange ability to confound both readers and other writers—a pointed refusal to provide an easy answer that makes the story so good, so lasting, and so effective, and yet simultaneously such a broad target for misguided interpretations and bad-faith criticism alike.

"Omelas, Je T'Aime" by Kurt Schiller [5]


Le Guin is well regarded by science fiction fans and media fans after her passing.


  1. ^ astolat, in response to a tumblr ask by oldtestleper. Jan 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Victory Condition, astolat. Jan 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Ones Who Stay and Fight" by N.K. Jemisin. Jan 2020. Lightspeed. (archive link)
  4. ^ "Why Don't We Just Kill the Kid in the Omelas Hole" by Isabel J. Kim. Feb 2024. Clarkesworld. (archive link)
  5. ^ a b "Omelas, Je T'Aime" by Kurt Schiller. Jul 8, 2022. Blood Knife. (archive link)