23 January, 2018

light is the left hand of darkness

There will be big news coming soon, but Ursula K. Le Guin just died and I am sad.

The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, two of my...favorites? I don't think that's the right word. Two very important books for me. I didn't come to Le Guin through Earthsea; I came by accident, browsing shelves as an adolescent, and The Left Hand of Darkness sounded cool. (It was cool. It was hard. It made me think about things I hadn't before.) I don't think I understood it entirely--I mean, I was like 12--but it lingered. When I reread it, and found The Dispossessed on the library shelf beside it, and read it, I began to understand why Le Guin's name kept popping up with all the other famous SFF authors.

I was at an SFRA conference in Las Vegas in 2005 and Le Guin was a guest. I had to date published one short story. I was working on a novel, and feeling entirely inadequate to the task. I didn't actually meet her, although it was a tiny conference and I totally could have walked up and done so. I didn't even bring my books. I mean...it seemed disrespectful, somehow, to attend a conference on SFF scholarship and research and then fangirl. But I remember she told us the rejection letter story about Left Hand of Darkness  and I remember thinking, "but that's why it was awesome!" and also, "okay, if that book can be rejected, oh god."

I don't really remember Earthsea. I need to remedy that.