Renowned fantasy and science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin has passed away at the age of 88 at her home in Portland, Oregon. She is best known for her Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness, though she published dozens of literary novel, non-fiction works, short stories, and poetry collections.
While the cause of death is currently unreported, Le Guin’s son Theodore said that the author had been ill for some time. Several sources have confirmed with Le Guin’s agent the author has indeed passed away.
Le Guin was a pioneer, not only as one of the earliest and most prolific female genre novelists, but also in her treatment of class, gender, and human psychology. Her legacy of inspiring writers and readers of all ages and walks of life will continue on. As Hugo winner Mary Robinette Kowal tells NPR:
“She was one of the first really big voices in science fiction and fantasy who was a woman. And I think she did a lot for science fiction and fantasy — not just for women and women’s roles because of her feminism but also legitimizing us as an art form. There are a lot of people who will read an Ursula Le Guin book and go, ‘Well, this isn’t science fiction, it’s literature.‘”
Several authors and colleagues have already taken to Twitter to mourn the loss of this literary icon:
I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul. I miss her as a glorious funny prickly person, & I miss her as the deepest and smartest of the writers, too. Still honoured I got to do this: https://t.co/U4mma5pJMw
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 23, 2018
Usula K. LeGuin, one of the greats, has passed. Not just a science fiction writer; a literary icon. Godspeed into the galaxy.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 23, 2018
And also judges who would not admit anything smacking of "genre." Why Ursula K. LeGuin got so mad. For me, good books are good regardless of "genre," which anyway is a recent terminology. That happened to #Handmaids
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) January 22, 2018
Ursula K Leguin shifted my perspective. Before her, I had not read an adult female sci fi author. Before her, I had not read a non-white lead in a sci fi/fantasy book. She was revolutionary for me and the genre.
— Beth Rebel ✨☠️🚀🐉 (@bethrevis) January 24, 2018
Also with her loss I encourage you to behold this from Ursula LeGuin:
"Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art."https://t.co/A1TmhdYSfT
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) January 23, 2018
Le Guin is survived by her husband Charles and her three children; Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore.