For Le Guin, writing science fiction or fantasy is an intuitive, self-exploratory act, an inner-space voyage in which she unearths dreams and archetypes that connect her with the outer world. In these conversational, feisty essays, an energizing mind trip for SF fans, she dissects her own fiction, discusses technique and explores the potential of SF and fantasy, which she considers different branches of the same form of writing. Most SF has been regressive and unimaginative, she argues, by portraying authoritarian dystopias instead of democratic socialist societies. She also berates the genre for its marginalization of women, both as fictional characters and as writers. This is essentially a reissue of a 1979 compilation that went out of print in 1982. (June)
Originally published in 1979 ( LJ 5/1/79), revised in 1989 for British publication, and finally republished here in the revised edition, this work by one of fantasy and sf's greats is a welcome treat for anyone who loves words and stories. Le Guin ( Searoad: The Chronicles of Klatsand , HarperCollins, 1991) is as expert in creating mellifluous and enchanting essays as she is in creating the luscious and complex worlds of her fiction. Stylistically, she manages a balance between quasi-academic seriousness and conversational humor (a balance that original editor Susan Wood does not attain in her introductions). Despite being three to 13 years out of date, depending on the extent of revision, her comments on the state of the genre, the process of writing, and the influence of gender on literature are as fresh as ever. The book is dated only in its ratio of female to male writers of fantasy and sf, which is now closer than it was when Le Guin first wrote. Highly recommended for all literature and women's studies collections.-- Keith R.A. DeCan dido, ``Library Journal''