Invention

Atrium, British Museum, 2014

I’ll take my own turn at expressing appreciation for Ursula K LeGuin’s books simply by quoting a few passages. Her intelligence and craft are clear, but what astounds me now as I race through her books (again) is her prescience.

To think that realistic fiction is by definition superior to imaginative fiction is to think imitation is superior to invention.

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination

Only one thing in the world can resist an evil-hearted man. And that is another man. In our shame is our glory. Only our spirit, which is capable of evil, is capable of overcoming it.

Ged to Arren, in The Farthest Shore (1973)

On the fruitless comparison of rates of technological innovation across cultures: “Compare the torrent and the glacier. Both get where they are going.” (The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969)

And finally, also from The Left Hand of Darkness, where LeGuin’s hero, Genli Ai, writes that patriotism doesn’t draw on love of country or even love of home, but rather on fear of the “other”:

If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things, you have either one, or the other. Not both. It seemed to me as I listened to Tibe’s dull fierce speeches that what he sought to do by fear and by persuasion was to force his people to change a choice they had made before their history began, the choice between those opposites.

About Lizzie Ross

in no particular order: author, teacher, cyclist, world traveler, single parent. oh, and i read. a lot.
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