Ursula Le Guin – ‘A Born Writer’

 

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Ursula Le Guin was born on the 21st of October 1929. She is an American author who writes in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Ursula is most famous for her ‘Tales from Earthsea’ fantasy series. There are six books in this series and they have sold millions of copies throughout America and England. These books have also been translated into sixteen different languages. Many fans of Hayao Miyazaki (maker of anime feature films) will recognise the title ‘Tales from Earthsea’ from the 2006 movie.

Ursula was interested in reading and writing at a very young age. At age 9 she had written her first fantasy story and at age 11 she had a science fiction story published in a magazine called Astounding Science Fiction. Ursula is the daughter of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. Her father’s career in anthropology influenced some of her science fiction stories, some of which included highly detailed descriptions of alien societies.

Here are some interesting facts about Ursula Le Guin:

Ursula met her husband while travelling to France, his name was Charles Le Guin. Charles was a historian.

‘Tales from Earthsea’ was written for children, but because of her attention to detail and great writing skills it appealed to a larger adult audience.

Ursula grew up with three older brothers, in an intellectually stimulating environment created by their parents. All of them were encouraged to read from a young age.

From 1951 – 1961 Ursula wrote five novels which were all rejected by publishers because they were deemed too inaccessible.

In the 1960’s Ursula’s work seemed to pick up and she was becoming more successful. It was also during this period that she experienced bouts of depression. She has described this as “dark passages that I had to work through.” In one of her novels from ‘Tales of the Earthsea’ she has used a quote from Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ – “Depression as a journey through the silent land of the dead.

One of the places that Ursula likes to go is to the high desert of eastern Oregon with her husband Charles. She enjoys the awareness that the desert gives her of distance, emptiness, and geological time.

Ursula’s major influences are – J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip K. Dick, Leo Tolstoy, The Bronte sisters and Virginia Woolf.

Ursula is known as a writer who has broken down the walls of genre and has taught many other writers to step out of their ‘genre comfort zones.’

Please have a look at some of Ursula Le Guin’s writing:

Earthsea Series:

–          A Wizard of Earthsea

–          The Tombs of Atuan

–          The Farthest Shore

–          Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

–          Tales from Earthsea

–          The Other Wind

Other Novels:

–          Lavinia

–          The Lathe of Heaven

–          The Eye of the Heron

–          Always Coming Home

–          Annals of the Western Shore

–          The Compass Rose

–          Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand

–          The Wind’s Twelve Quarters

–          The Beginning place

–          Orsinian Tales

Hainish Science Fiction (Hainish Cycle is a number of science fiction novels an alternate history/future)

–          Rocannon’s World

–          Planet of Exile

–          City of Illusions

–          The Left Hand of Darkness

–          This Dispossessed

–          The Word for World is Forest

–          Four Ways to Forgiveness

–          The Telling

 

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Richard Matheson – We Will Remember You!

 

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Richard Burton Matheson passed away June 23 this year (2013) at the age of 87. It is always sad to hear when a great author dies. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing much about Richard Matheson here is an article dedicated to him:

Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, USA on February 20th 1926. He was a writer best known in the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. His most well-known novels also turned into films would be I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone, The Shrinking Man and Hell House.

Richard was the third child of Norwegian immigrants of Bertolf Matheson and Fanny Matheson. Richard published his first short story in The Brooklyn Eagle when he was 8 years old. After graduating high school in 1943, Richard went on to join the military. He served as an infantry soldier during World War II. Then he studied a Bachelor of Journalism at Missouri University. The first story he made money from was Born of Man and Woman. This was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Richard then went on in the years after to write many popular novels and screenplays.

“He is one of the most important writers of the 20th Century” – Ray Bradbury

Here are some facts that you may not have known about Richard Matheson:

His novel The Beardless Warriors described some of his experiences from war.

Something that Richard said in an interview about George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: “… I watched it one night on television and thought to myself, gee, that’s awfully close to I am Legend. He I guess prefers to believe that it’s just derivation, but it seems pretty close to me.”

He married his wife Ruth Ann Woodson in 1952

The story Duel was inspired from an incident in 1963 after Richard was tailgated by a truck. It started when he was playing a game of golf and heard the news of President J.F.Kennedy being assassinated. He stopped playing his game and began to return home. On his journey home a truck tailgated him for a long period of time. Duel was then later adapted for a television-movie by Spielberg. This was the beginning of Spielberg’s career.

He nearly wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Richard didn’t agree with Hitchcock about the actual birds. Richard believed that the audience shouldn’t see the birds very often. Where as Hitchcock wanted them seen a lot.

Richard came up with the idea for I Am Legend when he was 16 after seeing Dracula. He didn’t write the book until 1952.

Something that Richard said about screen-writing once: “One of my pet peeves is the fact that when people win awards – Academy Awards, notably – if it’s based on a novel, they never mention it. It’s as if the novel never existed. The screenwriter acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. Sometimes even the director acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. It’s an ego problem, of course, but it’s tremendously unfair as well.

Richard had four children and three of them have become writers.

Richard Matheson has left a great mark on the world. He will always be remembered.

Some of Richard Matheson’s writing that you should check out:

Novels

I Am Legend                               A Stir of Echoes                     Someone is Bleeding                    Fury on Sunday             7 Steps to Midnight

The Shrinking Man              Hell House                    Hunger and Thirst                              The Gunfight                   What Dreams May Come

The Beardless Warriors               Earthbound                Woman                Shadow on the Sun              Passion Play            Camp Pleasant     

Other Kingdoms                 Generations               Hunted Past Reason               Now You See It…          Abu and the 7 Marvels         

Come Fygures Come Shadowes

 

Short Stories

Born of Man and Woman                   The Test                   Blood Son                 Miss Stardust               Interest                  The Thing      

The Last Day              Deadline                Slaughter House              Wet Straw                Death Ship               The Edge            A Drink of Water

One for the Books            Pattern for Survival               The Holiday Man               The Doll                Getting Together         Shoo Fly

 

Films

Tales of Terror                 The Box               Real Steel               The Devil Rides Out            The Incredible Shrinking Man             House of Usher

The Young Warriors           Master of the World                 The Raven                   The Last Man on Earth               The Pit and the Pendulum

De Sade              Loose Cannons                 Fanatic            The Legend of Hell House             What Dreams May Come          Burn Witch Burn

The Comedy of Terrors       

 

Bell Night

 

Legendary Headstone Reads: Author of Fahrenheit 451

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Ray Douglas Bradbury was born August 22nd 1920 and died June 5th 2012. He was 91 years old. Ray Bradbury is best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451 but also as one of the best short story writers. Although a lot of people believed Bradbury to be mainly a science fiction writer, he was more into the fantasy genre.

Something that he frequently stated was “I’m not a science fiction writer…I’ve written only one book of science fiction. All the others are fantasy. Fantasies are things that can’t happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen.”

Ray Bradbury was one of the authors that pushed fantasy into a more prominent position in literature to what it is today.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not have know about Ray Bradbury:

He never drove a car or cared to get his license, even though he lived in L.A.

He wrote the book From the Dust Returned over 55 years. This book was compiled of many short stories about a family of ghosts and monsters called the Elliots. Very similar to the Addams family. This book began in 1945 and was finally printed in 2001.

Bradbury wasn’t a fan of modern day technology. “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”That’s right, he was even against e-books. He said that “They smell like burned fuel.” He also told Yahoo to go to hell when they tried to put one of his books on the Internet.

Ray Bradbury never went to college or had any other formal education other than high school. His philosophy was just to write lots and lots every day.

Ray Bradbury was against politics and believed the less government the better.

Ray Bradbury was a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe.

The headstone of Ray Bradbury reads: Author of Fahreheit 451. This was something that he requested.

If you are an aspiring writer, I suggest you pick up a short story or novel by Ray Bradbury and have a read.

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