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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,938971,303 (3.99)2 / 205
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. 00
    The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant (sturlington)
    sturlington: Alternate realities accessed through dreams.
  4. 23
    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.
  5. 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 (91)  French (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (96)
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What’s it about . . .
George Orr doesn’t want to sleep, because when he does, he dreams. Most of his dreams are meaningless, but occasionally he dreams that something has changed in his life or the world he lives in, and when he awakens, he finds his dream world has become reality. No one around him senses anything different, but he knows people have disappeared and history has changed.

George has been taking drugs in an attempt to suppress his dreams, but eventually he seeks help from a psychiatrist. Soon the doctor begins to realize that George really can change the future with his dreams and attempts to covertly influence him to make changes for the benefit of mankind. But the results are not what he intended.

What did I think . . .
The Lathe of Heaven was first published in 1971 and is set in Oregon in the year 2002. In this future, there is much poverty, racism, overpopulation, and despair. The climate has altered and it rains all the time. LeGuin was remarkably prescient in many of her visions and description of a future earth, including a changing climate.

This is a short novel with only three main characters – George, his girlfriend, and Dr. Haber. Using alternating points of view, the author sends a thought-provoking message about the consequences of playing god. And what can happen when you get what you wish for.

Audio production . . .
This is a newly recorded version of the book and is narrated by George Guidall. As always, Guidall gives a believable performance. We feel Orr’s anxiety as he fears each new dream and the doctor’s arrogant attitude as he attempts to manipulate Orr. Other than the need to pay attention for the changing points of view, this is an easy and enjoyable listen. ( )
  UnderMyAppleTree | May 5, 2017 |
Reading Bernadette Mayer first thing in the morning and Ursula Le Guin last thing at night: kind of perfect. The Lathe of Heaven is a remarkable piece of speculative fiction. Michael Chabon perhaps says it best: "When I read The Lathe of Heaven as young man, my mind was boggled; now when I read it, more than 25 years later, it breaks my heart. Only a great work of literature can bridge--so thrillingly--that impossible span." - Brian ( )
  ShawIslandLibrary | Apr 21, 2017 |
Prefacing with the confession that I don't read much sci-fi, but also don't believe in the dismissal of complete genres because you think you know what they'll be like. I've been familiar with Le Guin's name for such a long time, and almost read [b:A Wizard of Earthsea|13642|A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)|Ursula K. Le Guin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353424536s/13642.jpg|113603] when I was in Grade 8 (which would have been a critical time), but happened to choose another book from the classroom shelf instead (which I remember images from, but never finished). Her recent comments about art vs capitalism in her acceptance speech at the National Book Awards have been on my mind a lot lately, and I thought it was beyond time to read Le Guin.

I only gave this book three stars because I liked it without being passionate about it. Dystopias don't do much for me, and the misguided-saviour figure of Haber is too familiar. It's something we've seen before, and that's obvious even in the protagonist's name, George Orr (the 'well' is silent). That said, this novel was published at the beginning of the 70s, and it almost hurts how her concerns with climate and capitalism are still being discussed in much the same way because we've made so little progress in changing our behaviours. Which is exactly one of the reasons science fiction is written.

Though I wasn't enamoured I'm not done with Le Guin yet. There are so many places where she just gets it, and I've got to sink in a little deeper. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
The solipsistic nightmare of a man desperately trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

A few notes:
* Until the end of the book, George is a draftsman. Someone who acts as an interface between someone's idea and the realisation of the idea.
* With his median psychometric scoring George is the ultimate "Everyman".
* Dreams as reality.
* Absolute power, even if it is for the greater good, corrupts, absolutely.
* There is Nietzschean subtext throughout. Will to power. The destruction of god by Haber trying to become an Übermensch. The void, "The eyes looked straight forward into the dark, into the void, into the unbeing at the centre of William Haber". ( )
  LiveAndrew | Feb 21, 2017 |
After reading and loving another of LeGuin's books ([The Left Hand of Darkness]), I looked forward to this one. I was not disappointed. Sci-Fi - Psychology - Dreams - Dystopia = weird, very weird! I probably should not have chosen this as my bedtime book though... led to some strange dreams on my part.
So, the main character dreams - and those dreams come true changing his dystopian world. Insanity, mind control, aliens, time shifts... ( )
  -Cee- | Jan 30, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Guin, Ursula K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moll, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome 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.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The plot revolves around a character whose dreams alter reality.
Haiku summary
His dreams are made real
for all time, for all places.
Please don't dream of death.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

(see all 6 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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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