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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 (346 )
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3.9 (133 )
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Performance
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  •  
    cathy 12-12-10
    cathy 12-12-10

    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 Listener Since 2009
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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
  •  
    Kathrin 03-21-10
    Kathrin 03-21-10
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 01-12-05
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 01-12-05 Member Since 2011
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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
  •  
    Andrew 02-12-15
    Andrew 02-12-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent story, fair reading, one giant error."
    What did you love best about The Lathe of Heaven?

    The storyline.


    What does Susan O'Malley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Unfortunately, Ms. O'Malley clearly said, "Haber" instead of "Heather" in the last paragraph of the book (time 14:29, last chapter). As reviewer Kim (10-01-14) stated, this completely changes the interpretation at the end of the book.

    Audible, please fix this!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 12-20-14
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 12-20-14 Member Since 2015

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

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    "Not so much..."

    I think I got this book as a daily deal, and I hope so, because it's not worth much money or a credit. The story is about a man whose dreams come true, and not in the "oh look, a puppy!" kind of a way. Rather, the bizarre thoughts that ramble in his unconsciousness kind of a way. There was a brief moment where I thought the book would be quality, but it passed quickly and in the end, ho hum.

    Note on narration: why do narrators not confirm the pronunciations of locations? In this one, Willamette is mispronounced throughout the book and all I could think of was the refrain “it’s the Wi-LAM-it, damn it.” Get it right, folks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Schuster Highlands Ranch, CO USA 10-23-14
    Jeff Schuster Highlands Ranch, CO USA 10-23-14
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    "Great Potential"

    This main character has the ability to change the world with his dreams. The way the book started off was quite intriguing. However, the progression of the story and the way the book ended was disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim NC 10-01-14
    Kim NC 10-01-14
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    "Read the book"
    Would you listen to The Lathe of Heaven again? Why?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This would make a great film.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator pronounced words incorrectly (like "corotid") and actually said the WRONG name at the end of the book, which made a huge difference in perspective and completely changed my idea of what happened. I had to go to the book to ensure it was an error.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 06-02-13
    Deborah 06-02-13
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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
  •  
    Marcia 07-07-07
    Marcia 07-07-07
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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
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