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The Lathe of Heaven Kindle Edition
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In a near-future world beset by war, climate change, and overpopulation, Portland resident George Orr discovers that his dreams have the power to alter reality. Upon waking, the world he knew has become a strange, barely recognizable place, where only George has a clear memory of how it was before. Seeking escape from these “effective dreams,” George eventually turns to behavioral psychologist Dr. William Haber for a cure. But Haber has other ideas in mind.
Seeing the profound power of George’s dreams, Haber believes it must be harnessed for the greater good—no matter the cost. Soon, George is a pawn in Haber’s dangerous game, where the fate of humanity grows more imperiled with every waking hour.
As relevant today as it was when it won the Locus Award in 1971, The Lathe of Heaven is a true classic, at once eerie and prescient, entertaining and intelligent. In short, it does “what science fiction is supposed to do" (Newsweek).
"When I read The Lathe of Heaven as a young man, my mind was boggled; now when I read it…it breaks my heart. Only a great work of literature can bridge - so thrillingly - that impossible span."—Michael Chabon
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin (19292018) was an American author of novels, childrens books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry, literary criticism, and essays. She was widely recognized as one of the greatest science fiction writers in the history of the genre. She won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards on several occasions, as well as the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and many other honors and prizes. In 2014, she was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
"A rare and powerful synthesis of poetry and science, reason and emotion." -- The New York Times
"Gracefully developed...extremely inventive.... What science fiction is supposed to do." -- Newsweek
"Profound. Beautifully wrought...[Le Guin's] perceptions of such matters as geopolitics, race, socialized medicine, and the patient-shrink relationship are razor sharp and more than a little cutting." -- National Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B087X6Z1GS
- Publisher : Diversion Books (April 20, 2014)
- Publication date : April 20, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 1065 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 194 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,394 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on December 8, 2020
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And, man, am I glad I checked it out. Often viewed as Le Guin's tribute to the works of Philip K. Dick, The Lathe of Heaven undeniably feels a lot like a Dick novel, with a surreal hook used to explore philosophical questions about reality and who we really are. But as you'd expect from Le Guin, there's no shortage of more social questions raised here, from the nature of peace to the dangers of global warming, all done within a great narrative that twists and turns underneath you.
The hook is simple enough: there's a man named George Orr (yes, the half allusion is probably intentional) who is scared to dream, because his dreams become real. But what makes this hard to prove is that his dreams don't just create reality; they rewrite it, making whatever he dreams not only true, but making it always have been true, so that no one remembers the change but him. That's true until George goes to court-mandated therapy, where his therapist seems to be aware of the change - and his ability to possibly control George's ability.
Like she did in The Dispossessed, Le Guin explores any number of ideas about utopias, the role of the individual in society, the question of the greater good, and her concerns about utilitarianism. At what point should the individual give way for society? Where is the cutoff between acceptable sacrifice for the greater good and too much? And what is the responsibility of one person to give it all for the world? But whereas The Dispossessed engaged with these ideas in the forms of detailed discussions, The Lathe of Heaven lets them remain more subtextual, unfolding as a battle of wills between George, his therapist, and a lawyer George brings in to help him. More than that, The Lathe of Heaven unfolds as a bizarre thriller of sorts, with reality constantly bending and shifting underneath us, and Le Guin able to explore the ramifications of so many changes, and what it would take to fix some of the problems in our world.
It all adds up to a great book, one that I really enjoyed. And if it's a bit derivative of PKD, well, that's okay, because Le Guin makes it her own, following the political and social ramifications of her conceit, not just the philosophical ones. It's a book I really enjoyed and absolutely couldn't put down, and has me eager to dive into more of an author I don't feel like I ever properly appreciated in her lifetime.
Orr gets assigned to voluntary therapy with a psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders. Orr tells Dr. William Haber about his unique condition, but, once the doctor recognizes Orr is telling the truth, Haber draws the opposite conclusion from Orr. Haber thinks that Orr should be using his “power” to make the world a better place, rather than being scared of it and trying to avoid it. Haber presents the classic example of good intentions gone awry. While the doctor does use the hypnotically-induced sessions to improve his own career situation, the worst outcomes result from the doctor’s attempts to help Orr (without Orr’s approval or prior knowledge) to improve the world. The law of unintended consequences is ever-present, and the dreams guided by Haber often result in “out of the frying pan and into the fire” situations.
This is an interesting premise in a highly readable book. The contrast between Orr and Haber reflects a broader societal tension between those who think they can engineer a utopian future and those who think that one’s attempts will always blow up in ways that one can’t anticipate. It should be noted that the title comes from “The Book of Chuang Tzu” and the virtue of “wu-wei” or “actionless action” in contrast to the corresponding vice of trying to manhandle the world into a desired state is central to the story.
I enjoyed this book. It’s a short novel with a clear theme that is thought-provoking. I’d recommend the book for fiction readers, and highly recommend it for readers of sci-fi and speculative fiction.
That is my total summation of what this book meant, and I'm telling you: the very delicate and deep ethos and meaning of this book does not (well, did not, for me) translate out of its time.
I remember this period of time, and the deep new concerns we had back then for themes elliptically dealt with in this book. You either got it the meaning of it all, or you were part of the establishment, which the young people were trying to not duplicate.
We were trying to save ourselves, save the planet, save the world.
And the "dark forces" (mostly greed, but whatever else goes with that -- lust for power, for sure) were at work, as they always have been.
So this work is delicate. She was an amazing author taking on very deep and important topics. I just could not get into it.
When I was 14, I would have been transfixed by every page.
I see this a lot, actually ---- books that were so very cutting edge and truly important in their time, and now, they just don't translate. It's not that the problems and themes aren't still needing solutions -- it's that we, as humans, have changed, and our language and manner perspective have changed.
I can't explain it any better, I regret.
Anyway, I hope you like it. I did not.
Top reviews from other countries
However it is not time travel that is the mechanism here but designer dreams, and the dream mechanism isn’t just used as a cop out one for one replacement for time travel. The dynamics are different and engaging, and the actual motivation of, and the impact of events on, the main characters is intriguing.
Even more intriguing are the aliens that pop up. Would those aliens even be in existence if it wasn’t for the dreams? Do they have the same dream powers as they seem to hint at? If so do they refrain from using them or have they used them?