Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin, Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands

In her short story collection Ursula Le Guin has a focus on the relationships. Many of the stories explore matriarchal societies. In some, males are primarily "drones" that serve only for the impregnation of dominant females. Love is completely separate from procreation and not really related to gender. It poses interesting questions about male dominance in societies. Is it in part to compensate for the lack of need of males for human reproduction? After all, a society with a 100 to 1 female to male ratio could reproduce just as much as one with a 1 to 1 ratio. How are men valuable?

Other stories explore different groups of people and even different organisms. Would people be able to understand the communications of other animals? In a society where people can read animal communications, wouldn't reading plant communications be like we see animal communications today?

In the intro, the author expresses concern about being pigeonholed in "speculative fiction." She doesn't like the term and doesn't like any of the "genre fiction" labels. However, much of her work does use future societies to explore social constructs. This gives her just enough distance to ask the tough questions about us.

No comments:

Post a Comment