Science fiction, fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin dies at 88

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American science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin has died, aged 88, her family has announced.

"Ursula K. Le Guin's work made so much of what I love about science fiction and fantasy possible". Le Guin won just about every major award you can win, and her mix of sorcerers and spaceships, literary fireworks and feminist sensibility influenced generations of writers who followed her. NPR books editor Petra Mayer is here to talk about Le Guin's legacy. She met her future husband, the historian Charles Le Guin, while travelling to France to continue her studies in 1953, and they married later that year. I will let her speak here because she's the writer.

Le Guin didn't always enjoy being called a science fiction writer, and she received acclaim far beyond the genre - she won National Book Awards, published stories in The New Yorker and saw her work collected by the Library of America. When she was 11, she had her first offering rejected by the pioneering science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories. Her main characters often address conflict not with a big sword battle or fight, but with brains. Neil Gaiman, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen King and a growing number more have provided tributes to the late writer.

She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1951, and earned a master's degree in romance literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance from Columbia University in 1952.

Le Guin said she never heard anyone over 70 utter the phrase, "You're only as young as you think you are". Before submitting it to her editor, I ran it by her.

In 1993, Le Guin spoke to Eleanor Wachtel for an episode of Writers & Company. Novelist Madeline Ashby recounts meeting Le Guin at a lecture, mentioning to Le Guin that she was writing her thesis on her, and Le Guin insisting Ashby send it to her.

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She gained fame in 1969 with "The Left Hand of Darkness", which involves a radical investigation of gender roles.

In the book, she posed questions on sexual identity and questions what social rules, culture and inner life such a world could exude.

Le Guin was born Ursula Kroeber on 21 October 1929 in Berkeley, California. "Still honoured I got to do this", alongside a video of him presenting her with a lifetime achievement award at the 2014 National Book awards.

Her son confirmed her death to the New York Times.

For most readers, their introduction to Le Guin is her 1968 YA fantasy novel A Wizard of Earthsea and its sequels. "Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art - the art of words". Her vast output encompasses novels, essays, poems, short stories, podcasts, translations and children's books.

"The whole idea of questioning the construction of gender, and the fact that people can be intergender, that was not being discussed [in the 60s]", Le Guin said.

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