Ursula K. Le Guin


April in Paris

(in ‘The Wind’s Twelve Quarters’)


The first story she got paid for, and (from the nifty personal intro) maybe the thirtieth or fortieth story she’d written. Workable idea with time-travel, which is generally such a mess in so many incarnations. I think short stories are generally a safer place for it: you can just play with it for a single idea without needing to justify too much or try to resolve too many irresolvable dilmemmas – cf. Wyndham’s Consider Her Ways.


Here the link is place and loneliness. It’s very happily ever after, and in a 50s conventional patriarchal romantic sense, but the idea is capably realised. Thank goodness she stuck with it despite rejections to hone her craft, get noticed … and then later produce so many wonderful stories. I admire this persistence and process way more than the vanity publishing I bump into here and there, with people getting books out well before they have paid their dues, and thinking they don’t need pesky editors and constructive feedback. This story is hardly Le Guin at the top of her game, but it shows her on the way there. Rather than people producing something average and then thinking it’s just about hustling for attention.


August 2014