Two posts today!

But this one is only a link. Here is a interview with Mrs. Ursula K. LeGuin, an authoress who work and whose wisdom I respect and praise almost as much as I disrepect and dispraise her politics and folly. Here allow me only to mention her wisdom.,6000,1144428,00.html

Q: I’ve always appreciated the deeper dimension of the Earthsea trilogy, particularly the contemplation of the nature of life and death. Ged’s message to Cob in The Farthest Shore on life after dying: “Here is nothing, dust and shadows. There, he is the earth and sunlight, the leaves of trees, the eagle’s flight. He is alive. And all who ever died, live…” That has stayed with me, was a great comfort to me when my Dad died.

UKL: Thank you for telling me that. Soon after A Wizard of Earthsea came out in England it received a review in a science-fiction periodical which took the book to task for being “consolatory” and “reassuring”. Well, fair enough, I thought, if the consolation is false, if the reassurance is unwarranted; but are consolation and reassurance inherently false, unwarranted – foolish, soft, silly, childish – sentimental? Are we writers only to threaten, terrify, and depress our readers with our ruthless honesty: have we not as good a right to offer them whatever comfort we’ve come by honestly?

I wrote the reviewer and told him what I thought, and that I thought I had Tolkien to back me up. He wrote back nicely enough saying that of course he hadn’t been thinking of the book as being written for children. Apparently it is permissible to reassure or console children, but not adults.

Such an attitude seems to me to be based on a strange notion that the Common Reader is so happy, so foolishly confident, so stupidly trustful, that the Common Writer’s whole duty is to convince him that life is hard and full of grief and that there is no consolation. Most adults I know already know that life is hard and full of grief; and they look for both confirmation of this knowledge, and consolation for it, in art.

I love this comment. It is as solid as a seasonedoak staff, something with a good heft in the hand, and you can lean on. This comment I also liked, it shows a sharp wit:

Q: Perhaps you feel a bit out of step with your contemporaries?

UKL: Why should a woman of 74 want to be “in step with” anybody? Am I in an army, or something?

Brava, ma’am! I doff my hat to you for that answer.

The comments in the interview I regard as folly I leave as an exercise for the reader to discover. (HINT! On the Hainish-colonized Ekumen planet O, bisexual wonderland without war, do they “control their population growth” by means of a “one child” policy? By aborticide? By contraception? Does the census bureau of ever-so-peaceful planet O have the authority to remove children from families that are too fertile? Why in the world would someone whose heart was not consumed with darkest evil want to control how often his neighbor’s wife gives birth? Is my wife a crown broodcow, that the officers of the King should have a say in when she calves? What was that?! You say the world is suffering overpopulation? Tell that to the Russians, Spanish and French and Japanese.)