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Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (1929–2018) was a major American science fiction and fantasy author. She is best known for her Earthsea novels for young adults and her Hainish Cycle of science fiction novels about various planets with humanoid inhabitants seeded from the same genetic stock but with differing societies (and sometimes evolved or deliberately altered biologies). Her leading characters are often social scientists, particularly anthropologists.

Le Guin is not solely known for treating feminist themes, but some novels in which gender and feminism feature prominently are:

  • Tehanu, the fourth novel of the Earthsea series, unlike the previous three novels, is narrated solely from the point of view of female characters, and explores the life of the poor and uneducated people of Earthsea. Later novels in the series explore why wizarding or high magic is a male domain in the Earthsea society. (See the short story "The Finder" in Tales from Earthsea.)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, set on a world, Winter, in which all the inhabitants are humanoid hermaphrodites, each able to take on either female or male sexual functions and characteristics at the time of estrus. (The short story "Winter's King" in The Wind's Twelve Quarters is also set among this race.)

List of Notable Works

Earthsea series (Fantasy)

  • A Wizard of Earthsea, 1968 [Book 1] (Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner, 1979)
  • The Tombs of Atuan, 1971 [Book 2] (Newberry Honor winner, 1972)
  • The Farthest Shore, 1972 [Book 3] (National Book Award winner, 1972)
  • Tehanu, 1990 [Book 4] (Nebula winner, 1990; Locus Fantasy Award winner, 1991)
  • Tales from Earthsea, 2001 [Short Stories; considered Book 5]
  • The Other Wind, 2001 (World Fantasy Award winner, 2002)

Hainish series (Science Fiction)

  • Rocannon's World, 1966
  • Planet of Exile, 1966
  • City of Illusions, 1967
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969 (winner of Hugo Award, 1970 and Nebula Award, 1969, James Tiptree Jr. Retrospective Award, 1996)
  • The Dispossessed, 1974 (Nebula Award winner, 1974; Hugo Award and Locus Award winner, 1975)
  • The Word for World is Forest, 1976
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness, 1995
  • The Telling, 2000 (Locus SF Award winner, 2001; Endeavour Award winner)

Other Works

  • The Lathe of Heaven, 1971 (Locus SF Award winner, 1973)
  • The Beginning Place, 1989
  • The Eye of Heron, 1983
  • Always Coming Home, 1985
  • Gifts, 2004 [Annals of the Western Shore 1]
  • Voices, 2006 [Annals of the Western Shore 2]
  • Powers, 2007 [Annals of the Western Shore 3] (winner of Nebula Award, 2008)
  • Lavinia, 2008 (Locus Fantasy Award winner, 2008)

Short Stories

  • The Wind's Twelve Quarters, 1975
  • Orsinian Tales, 1976
  • The Compass Rose, 1982 (Locus Award winner, 1984)
  • Buffalo Gals, 1987 (Hugo Award and International Fantasy Award, 1988)
  • The Birthday of the World, 2002
  • Changing Planes, 2003
  • The Wild Girls, 2011

More information

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