Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.
Renowned science fiction author Ursula LeGuin has passed away after a long and creative life. I initially encountered her stories via the Swedish translations of the Earthsea books four decades ago. The brilliance of her tales made me read and reread them in English as an adult. There I encountered ideas that touched my heart and that have stayed with me ever since. Three passages have been particularly influential:
1. Arha’s inner liberation from her foul chthonic masters at the end of The Tombs of Atuan;
2. Sparrowhawk’s profound reflection on life, mortality and the ocean’s ever-moving waves in The Farthest Shore;
3. The people that decide that they must walk away from Omelas lest they lose their humanity. There I go, too.
I met Ursula LeGuin once around 1990, when she visited her Swedish publisher. I got an invitation for a small fan-gathering, where she patiently answered questions about her stories and explained many how’s and why’s. A pleasant event whose memory I still cherish.