Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Timing

Ursula K. Le Guin is no stranger to banned book lists. "Lathe of Heaven" has hit the banned book lists over the years. Read up on the "Lathe of Heaven" at Wikipedia. Le Guin, one of science fiction's greatest writers, has received many honors for her many novels, including six Nebula and five Hugo Awards, the National Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Newbery, the Pilgrim, the Tiptree, and citations by the American Library Association.

She has explored themes which may incite a negative reaction to her books. They include Taoist, anarchist, feminist, psychological and sociological themes. As with many Science Fiction writers, her political message is not always welcome. Science Fiction is often about the near future and how the events of the present will impact it negatively. It is a warning for those of us who live at present to guard that which we hold dear -- and often that includes free speech. According to a Buffalo News article by Sally Fiedler, the release of her new novel "Voices," is timed to coincide with ALA's Banned Book Week - Sept. 23 to 30.

The main characters in "Voices" help save a people from losing the stories and poems that make up their cultural heritage when priests order all books to be destroyed. The enemies are supersitious fanatics who believe in demons which can be called up through the written word. They fear knowledge and truth. They focus their attention on Oracle House in which the last undestroyed books are hidden. They believe it to be full of demons. Like the Book People in Fahrenheit 451 who memorize books in order to keep them, the lore of a people is left in the keeping of a few people -- one of them being a poet who, in a sense, brings the words to life as he recites the words of the ancient texts for the people on the street. In bringing the words alive, he brings life and hope to the people.

Read the review by and consider reading this book in celebration of Banned Books Week.

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