Ursula_Le_Guin_Harlan_EllisonUrsula Le Guin is still going strong at 85 years.  She writes science fiction and science fantasy (novels, short stories), poetry, children’s books.She was first published in the ’60s.  In a 2014 article in the Smithsonian, she said, ” … the task of science fiction is not to predict the future. Rather, it contemplates possible futures. Writers may find the future appealing precisely because it can’t be known, a black box where … anything at all can be said to happen without fear of contradiction from a native. The future is a safe, sterile laboratory for trying out ideas in, a means of thinking about reality, a method.”

I enjoyed this video. (Thanks to Michael Dickel.) Le Guin is classy, feisty and sure but not strident as she criticizes the publishing industry and champions writers “who know the difference between a market commodity and a work of art.”

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.

We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries — the realists of a larger reality.”

The transcription of this speech is HERE.

photo credit as above


  1. That one line about knowing the difference between a market commodity and a work of art is something I have been struggling with so much, I’m struggling with right now. I want to write not market. I’m on my way for some alone time. My oneself tells me to get the work out there while the other tells me to work on a new book of poetry, one with fresh poems. This kind of helps me know where to spend my time. Maybe many of us will have to be like Van Gogh, never knowing if we have really succeeded. Thanks for sharing this, Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

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