Tuesday, January 23, 2018

R.I.P. Ursula K. Le Guin

Science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin has died at the age of 88.  Her obituary can be found in The New York Times.  I first came across her works many years ago through a paperback copy of A Wizard of Earthsea that I picked up the autumn of my freshman year in college.  I found it in a used bookstore that's no longer there,and voraciously devoured it.  I was back the next week to pick up copies of The Tombs of Atuan and the Farthest Shore.  Those books meant a lot to me, especially the first.  I was away at school and hadn't really found any friends yet, so I found Ged to be immediately relatable.  It was a source of comfort at a lonely time in my life.  I was pleasantly surprised when later she continued the series with Tehanu and then two more volumes after that.  She wrote many other stellar works, such as the Left Hand of Darkness, but the Earthsea cycle will always hold a special place in my heart.
My Signed Bookplates

For many years, she would send signed bookplates to anyone who sent her a self-addresed stamped envelope, and I was fortunate enough to have taken her up on that offer.  But those bookplates have sat in the envelope for years now.  I guess I've been waiting for leather bound editions of her books to come out or something.  Who knows?  What I do know is that as I sit here feeling melancholy on a windy January evening, I remember how her writing made a lonely young man feel better a long time ago, and I think it may be time to re-read A Wizard of Earthsea.
That used copy from long ago

Monday, January 22, 2018

Happy Birthday Robert E. Howard

Today marks the 112th birthday of Robert E. Howard.  Though he saw less than a quarter of those years, his influence on sword and sorcery fiction is undeniable.  So, on this auspicious day, drink to his shade and to the shades of those who followed in his footsteps!