Reviews

The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin

cupidcove's review against another edition

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tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

This book was the best of what science fiction can be - elegantly weaving contempory ideas into the framework of a fantastical story. I can't wait to read more Le Guin in the future.

pibbers's review against another edition

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dark reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No

5.0

christiek's review against another edition

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2.0

I can see that this good, but it wasn't for me. It's the kind of sci-fi that had me thinking for years that I don't like sci-fi. While the characters are well developed and the plot is rich, this book is really about the world building. And so much pontificating on the impacts and so much explaining the sci. I did really enjoy all the Portland and all the climate change. How disheartening how much they understood way back in 1971 (45+ years!) about the coming warming and how little we've done since then.

magicraft's review against another edition

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4.0

This story is another solid example of Ursula K. Le Guin’s astute observation of our world in a dystopian future (even putting the SciFi element aside). Written in 1971 the story is about George Orr, the protagonist whose dreams become reality, though he is the only one aware of the history he has changed until he meets Dr. Haber who is assigned to help George overcome his abuse of the drugs he takes to keep himself awake. This is a great example of what can happen when believing in the greater good morphs into something else.

I’m beginning to wonder though, if dystopian fiction has become less of a cautionary tale and more like a roadmap for those looking to control us, whether for personal greed or lust for power.
It’s unnerving to find myself identifying with a story where reality is distorted and known points of reference in history are rewritten with new disasters, making the actual past more like a dream (or nightmare).

As Le Guin writes,“There is a bird in a poem by T.S. Eliot who says that mankind cannot bear very much reality; but the bird is mistaken. A man can endure the entire weight of the universe for eighty years. It is unreality that he cannot bear.”

In our current world reality is questioned through repetitive rhetoric designed to contradict fact. Fiction (and for me science fiction, especially) imagines what our life would look like if or when humanity abandons reason and the truths of our world which have held for generations, to go along with some new reality. In these types of stories things get really bad before they change for the better and sometimes changing for the better doesn’t happen at all.

Le Guin gives us her take on privacy, race, climate change, government control, ethics and overpopulation with her uncanny observations and unique ability make social commentary without being heavy handed.

The concrete aspects of this story are acutely relevant today and I’m sure will be relevant well into the future. This is a quick and straightforward read with great (if scary) brain food.

csquared's review against another edition

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fast-paced

5.0

ayyo_meag's review against another edition

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dark reflective medium-paced

4.5

2shainz's review against another edition

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4.0

Check out my buddy read review here! http://shainareads.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-bookish-chat-review-lathe-of-heaven.html

jennaroutenberg's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious fast-paced

3.0

ebony_lion's review against another edition

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challenging dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

seahorsemojinow's review against another edition

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5.0

This was my first Ursula K. Le Guin book and I loooooooved it!

The read was easy and the descriptions were wonderful. The main character was fun, and the world building was really engaging. I loved the premise of the dreaming power, and I didn't love Haber, but I loved the building of that character.

Not a lot to say except it was really fun and good! I can give cw's if anyone wants it.