At least it was a really good novel. It just doesn't fit very well with the themes that we've been addressing in class, and I don't think that I'll be able to work it into a feasible final project. *sighs*
Maybe I'll have more luck with Specimen Days
. (Yeah right, whom I joking?)Le Guin, Ursula K. The Lathe of Heaven. New York: EOS, 2000. (First Printing: 1971)Summary
: George Orr is a decidedly torpid, Zen-like man whose dreams just happen to alter reality. Caught using someone else's drugs in order to stave off his "effective" dreams, he is sent into therapy, where Dr. Haber learns to induce and control those effective dreams through hypnosis and his experimental machine. What ensues is a series of "improvements" to the world, with stranger and stranger events occurring. In the end, Orr has been induced to take away his own ability, and Haber tries it himself, causing multiple continuities to overlap chaotically. Still, all in all, life isn't too bad for Orr after that. Comments
: For those of you who don't know, a lathe is a kind of tool that spins really fast on a horizontal, stationary axis, which you use to shape things, usually wood or metal, by touching the lathe to the material. I think it's safe to assume that Le Guin intended Orr to be "The Lathe of Heaven," as only he has the balance needed to shape new continuities effectively. There's so much fascinating stuff going on in this novel; the way one problem leads to another, the way the elimination of race creates a propensity toward "genetic purity," the way all three of the major characters are in some way or another liminal. Heather is multiracial, Haber is bisexual, and Orr, well, he's at first comes across as effeminate and is eventually revealed to be smack dab in-between everything measure of personality and psyche. The setting, which is 1998, includes a world wracked by overpopulation, global warming, and war. It is quite believable, even though 1998 is no longer the future but the past, and we all know that the world is somewhat better off than Le Guin imagined. I think I laughed aloud when Orr realized that his dream had made all humanity gray, and I especially loved the alien race, their turtle-like appearance, their wisdom, and their disconnectedness from humanity--literal in that they are confined to methane-filled suits and metaphorical in that you get the sense that they can see all of these continuities from above.Notes
: trade paperback, 8th printing; new trade paperback version availableRating
- The textbook example of the solid, thought-provoking read. Bound to have something for everyone.