Is there a science fiction author more akin to literature than Ursula K. Le Guin? I can’t think of any. There are others that may rise to her level. Octavia E. Butler, certainly. One day, I think N.K. Jemisin will have that luster. I struggle to think of a male writer with the same claim to science fiction as art.
There are many, many science fiction writers content to write pulpy adventures that pass the time. I hope my work even rises to that metric. Not literature, not by half, but fun dime-store romps that might stick with you for a minute.
No, Ursula was swinging for the rafters. She was crafting art, and thank god. Even for those of us aiming for the ground rule double, we need to see those grand slams. We need someone raising our eyes beyond the dirt in front of our feet and toward the far horizons.
Here she is, reminding us that we’re not, as science fiction writers, aiming to make a product that an agent or publisher can sell, we’re practicing an art— sometimes despite ourselves.
Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.
Ursula K. Le Guin 11/19/2014