In Memoriam: Ursula Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018)

We are saddened by the passing of SFWA Grandmaster Ursula K. Le Guin. Works such as The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, “The Word for World is Forest,” and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” permanently changed the SF landscape. Her ineffaceable Earthsea series did the same for fantasy.

We were fortunate at Asimov’s to have the opportunity to showcase eight of her short works. The first was a light-hearted very short story about a group of climbers on “The Ascent of the North Face” (July 1983). The next was “Forgiveness Day” (November 1994)—her Asimov’s Readers’ Award-, Locus Award-, and Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning novella about a young diplomat making her way in a repressed and dangerous society. We published three of her stories in 1995. Her April novella, “A Man of the People,” lost our Readers’ Award Poll to her July novella, “A Woman’s Liberation.” Both tales were Hugo-Award finalists, and a few years later she graciously gave Connie Willis and me permission to use the latter as the title story of our feminist anthology. Her beautiful novelette, “Ether OR,” appeared in November, and went on to be a World Fantasy Award finalist. The story was reprinted in our 30th Anniversary Anthology. Ursula’s August 1996 novella, “Mountain Ways,” won the Locus Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award. In February 2000, we published her scathing short story, “The Royals of Hegn.” Her final Asimov’s tale, a heartbreaking novelette about “The Wild Girls” appeared in March 2002. Alas, this powerful tale of abduction and sexual exploitation is as relevant today as it was sixteen years ago. The story won the Locus and our own Readers’ Award Poll.

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