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Language Of The Night by Ursula K. Le Guin

Language Of The Night (original 1979; edition 1982)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

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6601214,562 (4.25)35
Title:Language Of The Night
Authors:Ursula K. Le Guin
Info:Berkley (1982), Edition: No Edition Stated, Paperback, 257 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin (1979)

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    The Jewel-Hinged Jaw by Samuel R. Delany (aulsmith)
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This was another very interesting non-fiction book by Le Guin. If you read much in ANY genre, this book will make you think about genre itself in new ways. If you do academic work with literature, this is definitely even more worth it.

Reread some of this in late 2012. ( )
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Articulate, intelligent and deeply felt essays on the reading and writing of Fantasy and Science Fiction. ( )
  bunwat | Mar 30, 2013 |
The Language of the Night is a collection of essays, speaking notes, critical writings and book introductions written by Ursula K. Le Guin during the 1970s. From her position as a prominent writer—moreover, one of the few women writers in the field at that time—she surveyed the landscape of what came before, where it stood then, where she hoped it would go someday, and why it all mattered. It's a survey over a lot of geography:

· what it is that makes good fantasy and its modern child, science fiction;
· why children "get" it and should have it, and why some adults cannot;
· that fantasy and science fiction ought to accept the same metric as any other creative endeavor: the Best is the standard;
· why Katherine Kurtz and similar authors do not really write fantasy;
· her feminist anger and why, sometimes, it has been useful and, other times, overshadowed;
· on Alice Sheldon and James Tiptree, Jr.;
· why thinking about Carl Jung can bring a whole new perspective on Tolkien;
· …and on; I've touched only the surface.

She is articulate. She is opinionated. She's candid. She's proud though occasionally humble. She's funny. If you have cared about any creation from Lirazel to Nobusuke Tagomi to Samwise Gamgee…not even mentioning anything from Ged to Estraven…I think you'll find something to laugh at, or rail against, or say "Exactly!" about in this collection. ( )
16 vote TadAD | Apr 22, 2011 |
Seminal volume of essays on SF ~ a classic. I had to hunt it down online, tho' - eventually obtained my copy from a bookstore in Las Vegas, & it's a former library book from Utah State Prison YACF Library. It had only been borrowed 4 times ... LeGuin is the doyenne in the field of SF & fantasy - the mythologies of the modern world. Read the review by lilithcat | Aug 20, 2006 ~ she says it all! ( )
  JaneAnneShaw | Nov 24, 2010 |

This book has been strongly recommended to me for years, and I am glad I finally obtained it and read it. It is a collection of Le Guin's writings about sf and fantasy, almost all from 1973 to 1978 (one piece on Philip K. Dick dates from 1967), originally published in 1979 and revised for a 1989 edition. It is all fascinating stuff, with the standout essay being 'From Elfland to Poughkeepsie', which describes the rhetorical style of good (as opposed to bad) fantasy, and also includes the memorable line, 'they are not only crazy but Welsh'.

The other particularly remarkable piece is her 1988 fisking of her own 1976 essay, 'Is Gender Necessary?', where she critiques her earlier defence of The Left Hand of Darkness, admitting that from a feminist perspective the book is not a success, and concluding that 'women were justified in asking more courage of me and a more rigorous thinking-through of implications'. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Jan 29, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wood, SusanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, SusanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One evening when I was about twelve I was looking through the living room bookshelves for something to read, and pulled out a little Modern Library book, in the old limp leather binding; it had a queer title, A Dreamer's Tales.
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A Nebula and Hugo Award-winning writer of science fiction presents a collection of essays that explores the various issues, concepts, challenges, and paradoxes that confront the science fiction writer.
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