aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

The day Ursula LeGuin and I watched a movie together

Today is the birthday of Ursula K. Leguin, one of the greatest science-fiction writers, born in Berkeley, California in 1929. She is the author of many classic science-fiction novels, including A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). Her father was the well-known anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, and she grew up listening to native American legends. She would later say, "My father studied real cultures and I make them up - in a way, it's the same thing." [Full disclosure: In fact, her father is noted for working with Ishi, who was thought to be the last California Yahi Indian. Prior to European contact, the Yani population numbered approximately 3,000. In 1865, Ishi and his family were among 30 survivors of the Three Knolls Massacre. The remaining Yahi went into hiding for the next 40 years. Eventually Ishi's mother and other companions died, and he was discovered by a group of butchers in their corral at Oroville on August 29, 1911.]

Anyway, The Lathe of Heaven is this great book about a guy named George whose dreams come true. He goes to a doctor, seeking help. The doctor believes he can dictate George's dreams and make the world a better place. As you might guess, the outcome is not what he expected. The book is a delight, and when I read it I was even living on Corbett Avenue in Portland - where George lived!

They've made two movies of the book. One was made for TV, and shown in Portland in the early 80s at the Northwest Film Studies Center. I sat in the middle of the theatre to watch it. Only later did I realize that I was sitting next to Ursula Leguin herself. (She lives in Portland, although even people who live near her seldom see her, except for sightings in her garden.) I ended up watching Ursula as much as I did the movie. She seemed to enjoy it. We did not share any popcorm.

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Tags: lathe of heaven, ursula leguin
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