Ursula K. LeGuin, 1929-2018.
Her name was Ursula LeGuin, born in Berkeley, California, October 21st, 1929, daughter of a noted anthropologist, Alfred Kroeber. But her name is known by her novels, many in the field of science fiction, which weaved new worlds from the shards of this one. Her books are often thinly veiled commentaries on the evils of imperial war and the fevers of militarism.
Among her works, The Word for World is Forest, the 1969 allegorical work that took on the Vietnam War. Dispossessed, 1971, which imagined an anarchistic global resistance to the depredations of the rich. And there’s another 1971 work, The Lathe of Heaven, excerpt of which reveals its flavor. LeGuin writes: “He had grown up in a country run by politicians, sent the pilots to man the bums to kill the babies to make the world safer for children to grow up then.”
LeGuin’s work didn’t just thrill readers of science fiction. In the rare air of philosophy, her work appeared to probe questions about the deep nature of neoliberal society. In her book, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, LeGuin creates a world where all as well except for in a dark fetid closet where a little child suffers alone. But somehow her very torturous grants societal well-being to the residents of Omelas.
Philosopher Elizabeth Povinelli opens her book Economies of Abandonment with LeGuin’s harrowing vision as the basis of her opening introduction entitled “The Child in the Broom Closet” as an allegory of this modern west and neoliberalism which rests upon the invisible violence of capitalism. Ursula LeGuin won the coveted Hugo award for her science fiction influence.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.