Trending: Ex-Microsoft engineer convicted of 18 felonies after stealing $10M in digital currency
Ursula K. Le Guin
Award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018. (Copyright © by Marian Wood Kolisch / via

Science fiction and fantasy writers around the Pacific Northwest and around the world are paying tribute to award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin, who died peacefully at the age of 88 on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore.

“She left an extraordinary legacy as an artist and as an advocate of peace and critical thinking and fairness, and she was a great mother and wife as well,” The Associated Press quoted her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, as saying. He told The New York Times that her mother had been in poor health for several months.

Le Guin was best-known for her exploration of feminist themes in books such as “The Left Hand of Darkness,” a 1969 novel set on a planet whose inhabitants have no fixed sex. Her magic-infused Earthsea series of novels made as much of an impact in their day as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

The best-known screen adaptation of her work is arguably “The Lathe of Heaven,” a tale of reality-altering dreams that was set in Portland, made into a movie in 1980, and remade for television in 2002.

Le Guin won all the major honors of the science-fiction field — including Hugos, Nebulas and Locus awards. But she bristled a bit at being pigeonholed. “I know that I am always called ‘the sci-fi writer.’ Everybody wants to stick me into that one box, while i really live in several boxes,” she said in a widely quoted 2000 interview.

Her 1983 speech to graduates at Mills College, titled “A Left-Handed Commencement Address,” is considered a classic.

“Why should a free woman with a college education either fight Macho Man or serve him? Why should she live her life on his terms? … I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated,” she said.

Le Guin was born in Berkeley, Calif., and married Charles Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953. They settled in Portland in 1958 and raised three children there.

Pacific Northwest writers and institutions figured prominently in the outpouring of condolences on social media. Here’s a sampling:

From Seattle’s Clarion West writers workshop:

From Brenda Cooper, science fiction writer and chief information officer for the city of Kirkland, Wash.:

From Cat Rambo, Seattle writer and president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:

From Nisi Shawl, Seattle-based science fiction and fantasy author:

From Kris Rusch, Oregon-based novelist and former editor of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction:

Other reactions came from farther afield:

Subscribe to GeekWire's Space & Science weekly newsletter


Job Listings on GeekWork

Executive AssistantRad Power Bikes
Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.