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Lathe of Heaven (Sf Masterworks 44) by…

Lathe of Heaven (Sf Masterworks 44) (original 1971; edition 2001)

by Ursula K Le Guin

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3,247621,707 (3.98)2 / 144
Title:Lathe of Heaven (Sf Masterworks 44)
Authors:Ursula K Le Guin
Info:Millennium Paperbacks (2001), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, science fiction, dystopia

Work details

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (1971)

  1. 20
    The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Science fiction about the technological control of sleeping dreams. They're just dreams, right? What could go wrong?
  2. 20
    Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem (ahstrick)
  3. 13
    Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Both books carry a philosophical weight to their world-saving. A similar atmosphere to their protagonists, worlds, and occupancy of a more soul-searching lot in the science fiction spectrum make them nicely complementary to each other.
  4. 03
    The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (The_Kat_Cache)
    The_Kat_Cache: The Lathe of Heaven is chock-full of Taoist principles. This book elaborates on the philosophy in an easily accessible manner.

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English (59)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
The Lathe of Heaven was the first Le Guin novel I ever read, and in many ways it is the speculative fiction novel I had always been waiting for. That's because it is just so marvelously written, in addition to being wildly imaginative and deeply engaging. Le Guin, I discovered, is the sort of writer that could write anything and I'd gladly read it, and this became clear within the first two pages of the book.

Le Guin's greatest achievement in The Lathe of Heaven, however, is that it all just feels so real (and this in a book with continuum-shifting dreaming and an invasion of extraterrestial turtles). The characters, and the protagonist George Orr in particular, are believably portrayed and psychologically complex. The characters' actions and the turns of the plot follow naturally though not entirely predictably upon one another. And the world itself is immersive and detailed, in spite of its frequent oneiric rearrangings.

It is this visceral reality of Le Guin's impossible fiction that gives The Lathe of Heaven its this-worldly literary impact. The near-novella hits on countless issues in its less-than-two-hundred pages (everything from geo- and global politics to Taoist spirituality), but more than anything else it is an exploration of moral responsibility. Through its imaginative set-up, Le Guin creates a mutually opposed protagonist-and-antagonist pair, neither of which is straightforwardly blameworthy for his actions, or straightforwardly innocent, either. In this moral morass Le Guin asks us to contemplate what a concerned agent can and should do.

It is a powerful and thought-provoking question, and The Lathe of Heaven poses it in a powerful and thought-provoking way which is also eminently readable and thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
1 vote williecostello | Mar 11, 2014 |
This is one of the best science fiction books I've ever encountered, and just about the only INTELLIGENT science fiction i have ever seen adapted to television or movie forms.

A masterwork of ontological possibilities. . . ( )
  mattakunobaka | Feb 5, 2014 |
This novel does not fit neatly into any given category. It has elements of philosophy, fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, and more. A bare bones description doesn't really convey the sense of what's going on, or how the reader is drawn along despite themselves. It's a wonderful book, that can be read and interpreted in many different ways. Which has been shown by two movies, both good, and yet very different, adapted from the novel. ( )
  BruceCoulson | Jan 29, 2014 |
It's been many years since I read this book. I bought it *after* first seeing the film on PBS. I see that I can buy the DVD, used, for the "bargain" price of $60 or better, and there's a new one for nearly $300. I think I'll pass.

The book's concept seems old hat, by now, but at the time, it was incredible. Le Guin knows how to tell stories. I know that she's known for other things, but for me, this is it. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Jan 10, 2014 |
Nicely done- LoH teeters on the edge of overcleverness, banality, melodrama, silly mysticism and somehow Le Guin manages to pull it back at the very last second every time. Her prose is functional and pleasant, despite the horrific first paragraph; the literary references - starting with the main character's name - are relevant and fun in a train-spotting kind of way. And intellectually it's reasonably satisfying, a dystopian nightmare that is somehow not anti-utopian.
( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sappinen, Jorma-VeikkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Confucius and you are both dreams, and I who say you are dreams am in a dream myself. This is a paradox. Tomorrow a wise man may explain it; that tomorrow will not be for ten thousand generations. -- Chuang Tse: II
First words
Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss.
'Hello,' he said again.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
The plot revolves around a character whose dreams alter reality.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060512741, Paperback)

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of science fiction's greatest writers. She is also an acclaimed author of powerful and perceptive nonfiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. She has received many honors, including six Nebula and five Hugo Awards, the National Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Newbery, the Pilgrim, the Tiptree, and citations by the American Library Association. She has written over a dozen highly regarded novels and story collections. Her SF masterworks are The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), The Dispossessed (1974), and The Lathe of Heaven (1971).

George Orr has dreams that come true--dreams that change reality. He dreams that the aunt who is sexually harassing him is killed in a car crash, and wakes to find that she died in a wreck six weeks ago, in another part of the country. But a far darker dream drives George into the care of a psychotherapist--a dream researcher who doesn't share George's ambivalence about altering reality.

The Lathe of Heaven is set in the sort of worlds that one would associate with Philip K. Dick, but Ms. Le Guin's treatment of the material, her plot and characterization and concerns, are more akin to the humanistic, ethically engaged, psychologically nuanced fiction of Theodore Sturgeon. The Lathe of Heaven is an insightful and chilling examination of total power, of war and injustice and other age-old problems, of changing the world, of playing God. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes."--Publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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