Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favorite writers, and an accomplished master of the written word, has passed away. She was 88 years old, and died at home.
She wrote an untold number of published stories in her lifetime, continuing to work, I believe, until her death. In 2002 she was given the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award.
I never met her, but like millions of other people, I felt a special connection to Le Guin’s work. On some occasions I’ve likened her in a light-hearted fashion to a kung-fu master; somebody who could stagger you with a single, perfect, finger-poke strike. Her prose is, I believe, as powerful and effective as any other writer’s. She was not just a Grand Master of science-fiction and fantasy, she was a literary icon, period.
I’ve read a lot of her work, my favorite of which were A Wizard of Earthsea, its sequel The Tombs of Atuan, and her iconic science-fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She was undoubtedly one of the main inspirations for my Mystic novels.
Last night, the same evening she reportedly passed away, and completely unaware of this situation, I found a short story of hers I’d never read and enjoyed it immensely. It was “The Word of Unbinding”, one of her first tales, published in 1964, set in the world of Earthsea. It contained everything I’d come t
o love about her work: poetic prose, haunting atmosphere, insightful thinking, and a great story.
I wish her family and loved ones peace, and I tearfully join the millions of people who enjoyed her work and her wit.
Rest in peace, dear writer.