Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven is a science fiction novel written by the Grandmaster of Science Fiction, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin. George Orr’s dreams come true, literally. He has the power to change the world in one night. The question is whether he actually should.

George is anxiously trying to stay awake throughout this novella. For when he dreams about an alien invasion, aliens will be (and they are) flying down to earth when he wakes up. His psychiatrist exploits his gift, not always with evil intentions, but everything goes horribly wrong – dreams can never be truly controlled.

I haven’t read much sci-fi (yet), but when someone told me about the plot of this novella I had to read it. This is really a great story about love and human responsibility, questioning what we actually can and should do as humans. Should you change the world for the ‘better’ if you can? As George says:

“To be God you have to know what you’re doing. And to do any good at all, just believing you’re right and your motives are good isn’t enough.”

I loved that this book reverses the typical hero story. The man with the powers to change the world, doesn’t actually want to do save the planet. The man who doesn’t have the powers, but is actively trying to change reality (he’s trying to improve the world by removing for example poverty, war and racism) is the bad guy here.

I will reread this novella again soon. I have the feeling there is much more in there that I’ve yet to discover.

Sleep tight

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2 Replies to “Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven”

  1. I read this a couple of years ago. It’s the first Ursula K LeGuin book I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. Similar things struck me about the story as you reflect on in your review, but the most striking thing for me was Ms LeGuin’s prescience about war in Afghanistan. I love when science fiction writers are clever like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is actually the only book by LeGuin I’ve read so far! I thought she was really clever too and will definitely read her other works. Let me know if you’ve any recommendations 🙂

      Like

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