Ursula K. Le Guin: Guesswork & Archaeology & Virgil


By Neal Comment

“The fact is, I never have written about the future,” science fiction Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin told a small group of fans from the librarian and media communities at an afternoon tea earlier this week. “Maybe some science fiction is about the future, maybe it’s predictive—but to me, the future in writing a novel is a metaphor. It’s a way of talking about the present.” So, too, she continued, he most recent novel, Lavinia, which gives voice to a character from Virgil’s The Aeneid as a way to talk about the cultural consequences of warfare in the contemporary world.

In addition to paperback copies of Lavinia, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also brought along copies of Powers, a YA novel that had just earned Le Guin her sixth Nebula Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America the week before, winning in the best novel category. (The prize for best YA novel was presented to How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room) by Ysabeau S. Wilce.)