On Wednesday, the family of Ursula K. Le Guin announced the beloved author had died in her home in Portland, Oregon. What Le Guin leaves behind is obviously a legacy of feminist trailblazing in the genre of science fiction. She was science fiction’s Virginia Woolf and her books contain multitudes.

There are some writers you’ll find yourself quoting for often than others. With these favorites, you’ll build your own sense of confirmation bias into your feelings for that writer and start to see the world through their eyes. With some writers this can be dangerous, but not so with Ursula K. Le Guin. If you quote Le Guin, think like Le Guin or act like Le Guin, the world will be better for it. Which is why her influence will survive past her death. Le Guin was a writer’s writer in a way that feels closer to alchemy than anything else. If you’re a writer of any kind, you probably feel a void right now, even if you’ve never heard of Le Guin. She’s that important.

One could write about her groundbreaking gender-bending sci-fi novel The Left Hand of Darkness for several of Le Guin’s lifetimes and never fully be able to explain the genius. But, beyond her limitless imagination, it’s in her understanding of the life of a writer where she’ll be so well remembered. In her 1988 essay “The Fisherman’s Daughter,” Le Guin comments on the ways in which women writers have helped one another throughout history. “…there is a heroic aspect to the practice of art; it is lonely, risky, merciless work, and every artist needs some kind of moral support or sense of solidarity and validation.”

Le Guin was part of what is conventionally referred to as the “New Wave” of American science fiction writers in the 60s and 70s, writers more concerned with the words they were using, than perhaps the sci-fi ideas themselves. “I don’t think science fiction writers merely play with scientific or other ideas,” Le Guin wrote in the 1973 anthology Those Who Can. “I think if they’re doing their job, they get very involved with [those ideas.] They take them personally, which is precisely what scientists must forbid themselves to do.”

With other writers, Le Guin was exceedingly generous. Speaking to The Paris Review in 2013, she described the camaraderie of the SF writers’ world like this: “One nice thing about science fiction—I think it’s still true, it certainly was when I came into the field—was that we could steal from one another quite freely, not in the plagiarizing sense, but in the ideas and how-to-do-something sense. What I always compare it to is baroque composers, who used to pass their ideas around all the time, even pass tunes around.”

Ursula  K. Le Guin 

Though she never met him in high school, Le Guin did attend the same school at the same time as Philip K. Dick. Later, she would generously praise Dick as “an elusive and incomparable artist…our own homegrown Borges.”

But perhaps it’s Le Guin’s her generosity with herself that writers for centuries to come will find so inspiring. In a stunt of writerly wisdom and pseudo time-travel, Le Guin reprinted one version of an essay she wrote in 1976 — “Is Gender Necessary?” — as “Is Gender Necessary? Redux* in 1987. Alongside the original text, the older Le Guin glides along, gently correcting her younger self through the passage of time.

It’s a beautiful reminder that even works of art are alive, and changing. As Le Guin put it, “It is rather in the feminist mode to let one’s changes of mind, and the processes of change, stand in evidence — and perhaps remind people that minds that don’t change are like clams that don’t open.”


Photos via NYPL

One of the latest challenges to hit Fortnite: Battle Royale requires a steady aim and lightning fast reflexes if you want to succeed at the shooting galleries in this Week 4 challenge, though you’ll have to find them first. Less serious dancing is reserved for a totally different challenge this week.

The Fortnite: Battle Royale Season 6 Hunting Party Challenge continues, and much like Week 3, the focus of the new secret loading screen is Fable, the character that looks like a badass Little Red Riding Hood. We’ve got all the details on how to solve this new loading screen puzzle and the secret this week, but just like in Week 2, there’s a secret banner instead of a battle star.

Gone are the days of “search between” and “treasure maps,” because Fortnite: Battle Royale’s location-based challenges these days involve multiple steps and dancing on top of random landmarks. So where can players dance on top of a Clock Tower, a Pink Tree, and a Porcelain Throne?

Fortnite Season 6, Week 4 kicked off Thursday morning, and with it came the typical seven new challenges. This week, however, they’re all fairly difficult, or otherwise just involve a lot of work. The fifth challenge initially just reads “Dance on top of a Clock Towers,” but it’s essentially one of the multi-stage challenges that we’ve seen before. This time around, however, it’s a bit misleading because it doesn’t actually say “Stage 1” in the title.

With less than two weeks before Halloween, Epic Games is starting to get a little bit more festive with a new Fortnite: Battle Royale Challenge in Week 4. “Ring the doorbell of a house with an opponent inside in different matches” is a very wordy way of telling players to go trick-or-treating.

Rumor has it Nintendo is teaming up with Square Enix to bring another new character to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Leaks have been few and far between (possibly because the Final Fantasy developer is doing its best to keep the secret), but new information may have finally confirmed exactly which new Square Enix character is coming to Smash Bros. Ultimate.