If you call Ursula K. Le Guin a science fiction writer, she may tell you what she told interviewer John Wray:
“Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.”
When putting together Unlocking the Air, a collection of 18 of her short stories, Ms. Le Guin found that she’d covered – by her own description – uncompromising realism, mythological fantasy, surrealism. And 15 other genres.
She’s also written poetry, children’s books, literary criticism. Plus lyrics to a cassette tape of folk songs that accompanied her book, Always Coming Home. (A book she billed as ‘California Fiction.’)
Words, for Ms. Le Guin, are how she finds her way to truth and to freedom.
And she’s been finding her way for 80 years now. Many of which were spent in a house with red Bukhara rugs inside and a wraparound porch outside. The house is in Portland, Oregon. She shares it with her husband, Charles, who likes to do jigsaw puzzles, and her cat, Pard, who likes to sit on jigsaw puzzles.
Often, critics or publishers throw Ms. Le Guin into a science fiction box. And just as often, she climbs right out of that box, thank you very much. And keeps on writing in all directions.
Which is where truth and freedom are found. Outside any one box or pigeonhole a person could be shoved into.
So, Ms. Le Guin doesn’t live in boxes or pigeonholes. She lives in Portland with her husband and her cat. And her tentacles all over.