Le Guin was the author of The Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness.

The legendary Ursula K. Le Guin, a giant in the field of literary science fiction and fantasy, died on Monday, the New York Times reports. She was 88 years old.

Le Guin is most celebrated for her Earthsea fantasy trilogy and her science fiction masterpiece The Left Hand of Darkness. Earthsea, which kicks off with 1968’s The Wizard of Earthsea, tells the story of a boy wizard and his training decades before Harry Potter, and gradually resolves itself into a Taoist struggle to establish a balance of power. It is philosophical and esoteric, and staunchly opposed to the dualistic morality of J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.

Her 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness, meanwhile, takes place on an alien planet without gender and is anthropological in its interests. “I eliminated gender to find out what was left,” Le Guin later wrote.

Le Guin’s writing is fundamentally moral, which she often said was intrinsic to her genre and its emphasis on the power of magic and imagination. Fantasy, she told the Guardian in 2005, is “about power — just look at Tolkien. It’s a means to examine what it does to the person who has it, and to others.”

And where power can dehumanize, she argued, we need imagination to fix the resulting wound: “If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there’s no way you can act morally or responsibly,” she explained. “Little kids can’t do it; babies are morally monsters — completely greedy. Their imagination has to be trained into foresight and empathy.”

Le Guin was a staunch champion of the intellectual strength of science fiction and fantasy at a time when they were often relegated without a Read More Here