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Ursula Le Guin
Credit: Dan Tuffs/Getty Images

Over the course of her career, Ursula K. Le Guin has written everything from fantasy to realistic fiction, while also keeping up a pretty consistent blog. Her next book, No Time to Spare, will be a collection of recent essays. It comes with an introduction from Karen Joy Fowler, who, like Le Guin, knows a thing or two about writing across genres.

As Fowler notes in her introduction to the collection, Le Guin is currently enjoying a moment of mainstream cultural appreciation: Filmmaker Arwen Curry recently raised funds on Kickstarter for a documentary on the author, The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, and back in October, The New Yorker ran a profile on Le Guin and her enduring influence.

No Time to Spare is due out Dec. 5. Below, check out an exclusive first look at the cover, along with an excerpt from Fowler's introduction.


"For all the decades of her career, Le Guin has been defending the imagination and all the stories that rise from it. I myself have been finding my way up the mountain my entire adult life, to get her answers to questions I didn't even know I was asking. Since I am now headed toward seventy, this is a long time. I count among the world's great gifts to me the fact that I know her personally, that I've spent many hours in her company. But if I only (only! Ha!) had the books, the gift would still be such a great one.

I think that she's currently having a moment, a moment of recognition and appreciation. This particular moment (she's had others) is partly about her deep, foundational impact on a generation of writers like me. At the beginning of this collection, she speaks of discovering Jose Saramago's blog and thinking, oh, I see! Can I do it, too? Which is precisely how her own work has functioned for so many of us – as an example, a freeing from convention and expectation, an invitation into a larger world than the one we see.

But to my mind, all of Le Guin's moments, all the recognition and admiration, fall short of her actual accomplishments. I can think of no other writer in the entirety of history who has created the number of worlds that she has, never mind their complexity and intricacy. Where other writers secure their legacy with a single book, she's written a dozen worthy of that. And her very last novel, Lavinia, is surely among her great works. She has been both prolific and potent. She has been both playful and powerful. She has, in her life and her work, always been a force for good, an acute social critic, necessary more now than ever as we watch the evil turn the world is taking. We who followed her both as readers and writers are the lucky ones. We not only love her; we need her."

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