Tomas Vik

Book cover

Ursula K. Le Guin - The Lathe of Heaven

This novel is about dreams and reality. Usually, these are clearly separated but not in Portland, Oregon, not for George Orr, not in 1971.

The whole story happens in a dystopian “future” where humanity suffers from overpopulation and climate change. Ursula projected the worries of the sixties into this book well: overpopulation, declining environment and the cold war.

Overall, the book was OK but not great. I can’t but help to compare with Recursion - many details in the novel seemed not thought-through.

Details I struggled with (spoilers)
  • Orr was portrayed as incredibly stable, thoughtful and down-to-earth, yet he let Dr. Harber take the world to the brink of destruction because he didn’t want to go to prison.
  • The way how other people (Harber, Heather) remembered different realities was inconsistent. There was no logic to it.
  • The final scene when everything started falling apart in Harber’s dream didn’t make any sense.

Logic has to be the struggle for every time travelling/reality changing story. The fact that the novel is old is likely to be responsible for my lack of enthusiasm. I might have read improved versions of the same type of story. Now I can’t appreciate the first but imperfect book.