Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin was one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th century. Of her books, the most frequently recommended on Five Books are A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness.
Below, all the times Ursula Le Guin’s books have been recommended on Five Books.
Books by Ursula Le Guin
“Le Guin has a remarkable ability to describe the world as their viewpoint character sees it, in a way that reveals both the world and the character. What does the character notice, comment on, and think about, and what does the character fail to notice, comment on, or think about?” Read more...
Science Fiction and Philosophy
Eric Schwitzgebel, Philosopher
“So this is part of Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, which is a shared world more than a series, and this novella can completely stand alone. It follows a human logging company on a small planet that’s covered in ocean and a few islands covered in forest. They’ve cut down all the trees on Earth, so they are excited to come and grab at these resources and send them home to make a lot of money. The conflict is that there are people living on the planet already in the forests. The logging companies immediately start exploiting them for labor and various other abuses. These very peaceful people who have lived sustainably with their forests, one of them snaps and decides to fight back and eventually, there’s a violent overthrow of the logging company and they get shoved back off the planet. It’s not really a happy ending because as the native people discuss amongst themselves at the end, now they’ve accepted violence into their society, which they haven’t before. So again, this is a mirror. It’s a look at how colonizers and especially resource companies—like mining and logging companies—abuse both the land and the people living on the land, and shows us how harmful that attitude could be in space.” Read more...
The Best Sci Fi Books on Space Settlement
Erika Nesvold, Physicist
“I think one of the great things about that series is that she didn’t erase anything she’d done before, but she kept rethinking and complicating the relationships.” Read more...
The best books on Fantasy’s Many Uses
Brian Attebery, Literary Scholar
The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction--winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Interviews where books by Ursula Le Guin were recommended
The Best Ursula Le Guin Books, recommended by Sherryl Vint
Ursula Le Guin’s most groundbreaking books are considered landmark texts in speculative fiction, exploring themes of colonisation, gender, nationalism and environmentalism through allegorical means. Here, the science fiction scholar Sherryl Vint selects five of the best books by Ursula Le Guin and examines her legacy as one of the great American writers.
The Best Sci Fi Books for Beginners, recommended by Nicholas Whyte
Interested in science fiction, but not sure where to begin? Sceptical of spaceships, but never really given them a chance? We asked Nicholas Whyte, administrator of the World Science Fiction Society’s renowned annual Hugo Awards, to recommend five of the best sci fi books that should appeal to readers new to the genre
Science Fiction Classics, recommended by Adam Roberts
The best sci-fi explores humanity’s anxieties and concerns and is in some sense about the future. But it doesn’t try to predict what’s to come. The literature professor and sci-fi writer recommends five classics of the genre.
The best books on Alternative Futures, recommended by Catherine Mayer
Catherine Mayer—author, journalist and president of the Women’s Equality Party—talks to Five Books about her optimism for a more equal future for society by way of her favourite science fiction visionaries and their work.
The best books on Fantasy’s Many Uses, recommended by Brian Attebery
Visionary storytelling, or fantasy, is part of our cultural DNA. Far from being simply fantastical or facile, we can use the fantasy realm as a testing ground for important ideas, argues Brian Attebery, a leading scholar of the genre. He talks us through five key works that demonstrate fantasy’s many uses, from 1922 through 2010.
Cressida Cowell on Magical Stories for Kids
From wizards to alchemy and fairies to folklore, Cressida Cowell reveals the magical stories that were most important to her as a child (and which she now delights in sharing with her own children), and her own inspirations for writing about magic and magical worlds today.
The best books on Fantasy, recommended by Lev Grossman
We’re living through a golden age for fantasy fiction, says the author of The Magicians. Here, he tells us what makes for a good fantasy novel, and who’s staking out the future not just of fantasy but of fiction as a whole.
The Best Sci Fi Books on Space Settlement, recommended by Erika Nesvold
We look to the stars and imagine a new home for humanity, an escape from the troubles that plague us here on Earth, but as astrophysicist Erika Nesvold points out, many of our problems will join us on our voyage. Here, she selects five science fiction books that illuminate the challenges and possible conflicts we’ll face if we head for this new frontier.
The best books on Uncivilisation, recommended by Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of the Dark Mountain project, urges the need for uncivilisation: the process of getting beyond our human assumptions, such as the myth of unfailing linear progress. It is about looking at humanity in the wider context of the whole planet, and the imminent ecological crisis.
Science Fiction and Philosophy, recommended by Eric Schwitzgebel
Serious philosophy need not take the form of a journal article or monograph, argues the philosopher and U.C. Riverside professor Eric Schwitzgebel, as he selects five science fiction books that succeed both as novels and provocative thought experiments that push us to consider deep philosophical questions from every angle.