by Ursula Le Guin
Publisher: PM Press
With an epic author like Le Guin, I couldn’t help but go straight to her interview with Bisson. It’s solid. The more interviews I read from Bisson in the Outspoken Author series, the more I want to read. Tangent: I hope he and PM Press put an anthology together, and that they include this interview with Le Guin. Back to her book: the interview is funny yet sparing (wittily terse?) with her prose. It is deft, skilful, and has plenty of impact.
I can’t say I care for her poetry here. I know plenty of folks who respect and admire her work; it doesn’t work for me. Frankly, though, I came to this volume for her non-fiction essays and the interview. Having said that, the title story, The Wild Girls, is powerful, engaging, disturbing, and a strong thought piece. I definitely enjoyed it, but it left me feeling uncomfortable: the mark of a solidly written piece.
[I must confess: reviewing Le Guin at this point in her career feels pretty absurd given her record, her writing chops, and my absence of any critical status or record.]
“The Conversation of the Modest” was a powerful, articulate, and sassy read. I felt encouraged and more normal after reading it. A powerful sip of sanity in a world that feels as if we’re drowning in assholism, exceptionalism, and me-firsters. We’re not. There is hope.
In “Staying Awake While We Read,” Le Guin fends off the imbeciles and non-literates that seek to declare the death of books. Thank you for this!
I’m not sure what Science Fiction is going to do when we lose Le Guin and her literary warrior kin who seek to defend literature, science fiction, and sanity. May she live another 20 years!