Ursula K Le Guin, the bestselling author who blazed a trail for women in fantasy and science fiction, has died aged 88. A new book, "Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing" from Tin House Books, is set to be released on July 17. She met and married her husband, Charles Le Guin, while on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1953.
Her range included not just science fiction and fantasy novels but poetry collections, essay collections, children's books and over 100 short stories.
In her speech she also spoke out about the need for science fiction and fantasy. Everything she did was art.
Authors including Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and Iain Banks have credited her as an inspiration, and many authors and fans have shared their sorrow on social media.
The writer was born Ursula Kroeber in Berkeley, California, on October 21, 1929, to a psychologist mother and an anthropologist father.
Le Guin once said that at vulnerable moments, the thought of dying intruded along with the question "who is going to keep me alive?"
Her best-known works, the Earthsea books, have sold in the millions worldwide.
"I eliminated gender to find out what was left", she told The Guardian.
Ms. Le Guin had a form of feminism that she preferred to describe as humanism.
Despite her large catalog, very few of Le Guin's works have been turned into films or TV series.
One line from The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), "It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end", is often attributed to Ernest Hemmingway.
Her other great cycle was the series of Hainish books (beginning with Rocannon's World and spanning ten titles until 2002's anthology The Birthday of the World and Other Stories), which was not a series at all; rather, it was a group of books loosely interconnected by the idea that humans had been left to evolve in a different way on different planets across the galaxy. She objected to the word.
To Le Guin, old age doesn't belong to the strong, to the bold or to the bullies. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience and writers threatened by corporate fatwah. She considered writing essays hard, seldom-rewarding work - much like blog posts.
As new generations of writers emerged, who were influenced by her work, Le Guin's influence could be found everywhere, from George R.R. Martin's efforts at deconstructing fantasy in his A Song of Ice and Fire booksto the immersive and thoughtful science fiction novels of David Mitchell and Liu Cixin. Her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, said she was likely to have suffered a heart attack.
Le Guin continued writing well after she told her family she did not think she had the stamina to write even blog entries, her son said.
In 2014, LeGuin was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. But I, too, believe in using the term sparingly and carefully, and the criteria she gave me for its use, in my opinion, fit her completely.