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The Lathe of Heaven | [Ursula K. Le Guin]

The Lathe of Heaven

George Orr's dreams do change the world. He is the only one who knows it...he and the power-mad psychiatrist who is forcing George to dream a new reality - a better reality that is free from war, disease, overpopulation, and all human misery. But for every man-made dream of utopia, there is a terrifying, unforeseeable consequence...
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Publisher's Summary

George Orr's dreams do change the world. He is the only one who knows it...he and the power-mad psychiatrist who is forcing George to dream a new reality - a better reality that is free from war, disease, overpopulation, and all human misery. But for every man-made dream of utopia, there is a terrifying, unforeseeable consequence; so George must dream and dream again, forever seeking a perfect future - until the very essence of cosmic reality begins to disintegrate. The Lathe of Heaven is perhaps the finest, most eerily provocative novel from an author who is world renowned for the dramatic force of her fiction.

©1971 by Ursula K. Leguin.; (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, 1972

"What Science Fiction is supposed to do." (Newsweek)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (307 )
5 star
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4.3 (105 )
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3.9 (98 )
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Performance
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  •  
    cathy palmdale, CA, United States 12-12-10
    cathy palmdale, CA, United States 12-12-10 Member Since 2005

    Middle School teacher with a 100 miles round-trip daily commute; which I could never maintain all these long years without audible books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Classic in Every Way"

    If you like appocaliptic stories that are ironic, make-ya-think science fiction, then this is for you. Only it's not really that hard to comprehend; like it might've been perhaps in less capable hands than that of Le Guin. I'd like to send a heartfelt thanks to Ms. Le Guin for penning Lathe of Heaven and I'm sorry I'm late to discovery of such of fab tale. I shall be re-reading it soon for sheer enjoyment and maybe even edification,hahah. Oh did I mention exquistite gender-bending bits thrown in like chips in a chocolate cookie?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Oslo, Norway 09-10-10
    Mark Oslo, Norway 09-10-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of her best!"

    Here Le Guin plays with wild fantasy and manages to comment on society, people, psychology, relations, power etc. etc. And all in a relatively light humorous tone. It is also very well read! My wife, who normally does not like to much fantasy, also loved this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 01-12-05
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 01-12-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Dark, but thought provoking"

    Typical of LeGuin, this is a pretty dark view, but the unlying philosophy is thought provoking and worth your time. The narrator's flat intonation style, which might have been meant to enhance the darkness or gloom of the story, really put me off and made the reading feel monotonous at times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma Prahran, Australia 07-14-13
    Emma Prahran, Australia 07-14-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    20
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    Story
    "Beautiful Story"
    What did you love best about The Lathe of Heaven?

    Story telling at it's very best.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book gave me warm fuzzies that I most definitely did not expect. Absolutely beautiful in parts.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader's voice was a little wooden at times, but I don't think it detracted from the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Emporia, KS, United States 06-02-13
    Deborah Emporia, KS, United States 06-02-13 Member Since 2010
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    29
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    "Brilliant story, weak performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Lathe of Heaven to be better than the print version?

    No. i first read this book in the mid-80s and still recall staying up all night because it was too exhilarating to put down. Le Guin is still my all-time fave author, and I still love this book, but this narrator didn't have a feel for the characters or exposition. It's stange because O'Malley is normally much better, as in the Amelia Peabody mysteries.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Too flat on the characters and too rushed in the lovely Daoist imagery of the exposition,


    Any additional comments?

    This gem of a novel fits into a particular moment in scifi--early 70s, Cold War, environmentalism first emerging. It's a parable about western rationality vs. eastern intuition through Daoism. It deserves a better performance. Read the novel yourself, or watch the televisted version from the late 70s or early 80s.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathrin BerlinGermany 03-21-10
    Kathrin BerlinGermany 03-21-10 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    2
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    "Well narrated, unusual science-fiction"

    "The Lathe of Heaven" joins "The Dispossessed" and "The Left Hand of Darkness" as Ursula Le Guins greatest pieces of work, and all three some of the most intriguing novels of the science-fiction genre. The "Lathe of Heaven" is written in a subdued style with well developed characters and an unusual story. The narrator Susan O'Malley was a good choice to convey the characterization and the story's constrained atmosphere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Pawcatuck, CT, USA 07-07-07
    Marcia Pawcatuck, CT, USA 07-07-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pleasant Memories"

    I read this many years ago. It is a good story and it is well worth listening to. Ursula Le Guin's first Sci-fi novels were superior works and they still are.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 01-05-07
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 01-05-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "lathe"

    excellent novel, well written

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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