Gina Sirois's Reviews > The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Dec 12, 2011

liked it
Recommended to Gina by: people who like sci-fi
Recommended for: people who like sci-fi
Read from December 03 to 12, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I read this on airplanes, to and from Maui. In between halves of Lathe, I read half a cheesy romance novel.

*spoiler alert*

I liked the book, but it didn't absorb me. It's hard when the main character is continuously described as passive and weak, and seems so. Heather saw admirable qualities in him, but I was put off that long after he knew that Haber was remaking the world in big ways with his dreams, he just continued going. There was no gun to his head; the worst that could happen was some jail time for refusing VTT. Sure, he'd dream effectively in jail, but not every day, and not such big changes. Then in the end you expect some Luke Skywalker moment where he finally "mans up" and destroys the Augmenter, but when he gets the opportunity to do so with virtually no consequences, he can't muster the motivation? Hmm.

The writing is good, and I like the description plenty. I enjoyed the philosophical arguments a lot, even if they just mirrored the old genie in a bottle/3 wishes problem.

I think this book could have been longer, exploring each of the characters a little more, and I wish George underwent *some* transformation - aside from just feeling more at-ease with his existence because of the alien aid.
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message 1: by Williwaw (last edited Dec 15, 2011 08:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Williwaw I need to read this one! Philip K. Dick says it's one of the best sf novels ever. I think I have a copy somewhere in my vast library -- just give me half an hour and I can probably find it!

Dick also says that Fredric Brown's short story, "The Waveries," is one of the best sf stories ever.

I read "The Waveries" last night. It turned out that I had the original issue of Astounding where it appeared (Jan. 1945 -- cool cover of a space cowboy, arms upraised, holster on his hip, descending feet- first through black space toward Earth).

Brown's story is quite interesting. It's about aliens that take the form of radio waves and jam all radio communications on Earth. Eventually, all electrically powered equipment is compromised because the aliens are feeding on the currents. So the world has to be retro-fitted to steam. (Finally, a great premise upon which to build a steampunk world!!!!) And the interesting thing is that the retrofitting returns humans to a more idyllic existence, where social ties are reinforced and people take the time to play live music and interact with each other in various meaningful ways.

But the best story ever? Hmmmmm . . . I have to admit that it was late and I was fighting sleep to get through it. Perhaps I missed something. Maybe I'll re-read it.

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