The Lathe of Heaven

Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (1,930 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A classic science fiction novel by one of the greatest writers of the genre, set in a future world where one man's dreams control the fate of humanity.

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes.

The Lathe of Heaven is an eerily prescient novel from award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin that masterfully addresses the dangers of power and humanity's self-destructiveness, questioning the nature of reality itself. It is a classic of the science fiction genre.

©2014 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2016 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Lathe of Heaven

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Le Guin Novel

Like all of Le Guin's works, this is very offbeat. The central character in the novel drove me a bit crazy, but that's intentional. He is presented as a deeply flawed figure who doesn't quite know how to handle the strange gifts he has been given. The ending is, in some ways, unsatisfying, but, again, I think that is intentional.

38 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

I will admit it took me a little while to get into this book. I started listening on a long drive and the narrator has such a beautiful voice and reads so well, I was pretty much lulled to sleep! Please don’t misunderstand, it was not boring! His voice is just so soothing, I’m not sure how else to put that. This book was chosen for a book club, otherwise I am sure I never would’ve read it, futuristic, science fiction type books are not my thing. But after listening to this one, I might have changed my mind. The story was wonderful! Different from anything else I’ve read. I enjoyed everything about it.

36 people found this helpful

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We're in the world, not against it.

“The end justifies the means. But what if there never is an end? All we have is means.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven “Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven." —Chuang Tse: XXIII “We're in the world, not against it. It doesn't work to try to stand outside things and run them, that way. It just doesn't work, it goes against life. There is a way but you have to follow it. The world is, no matter how we think it ought to be. You have to be with it. You have to let it be.” - Ursula K. Le Guin Le Guin seems to have mixed Taoism with PKD and produced a funky SF novella on determinism, dreams, psychology, control, love, wholeness, and power. It wasn't a perfect SF novel. I think the last bit kinda rolled away from her, but like any good PKD or Vonnegut novel, the imperfections of this novel are small enough to let it float and be read far into the future.

8 people found this helpful

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Science Fiction Lovers

If you like Science Fiction, you will love this book. I read it many years ago and enjoyed it all over again via audible. Kind of a star trek Time Space Continuum theme. Delves into different universes, dimensions and time lines. Not a very difficult read, but thought provoking all the same.

33 people found this helpful

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A dark look at alternate timelines

George Orr is a mild, unassuming man, a good draftsman, a man who has recently developed a mild drug abuse problem. This is discovered in part due to the pharmacy card that every citizen is issued. He's been making unauthorized use of other people's cards. It's not a very serious offense, at least at his level of abuse. Because he admits it, and another person admits to being one of his sources, he's only sent for Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment. By chance, the psychiatrist he's assigned to is Dr. Haber. This isn't the beginning of George's nightmare. George was using the drugs to suppress his dreams, and this is vital because some small percentage of George's dreams are what he calls "effective dreams." They change the world, and not just for him. He's the only one who even remembers that the world was ever different. He tells Dr. Haber the truth, and manages to convince him. Haber promises to help, but instead begins manipulating George's dreams, in pursuit of his own ideas of a "better" world. What follows is a strange, often dark, and fascinating adventure through alternating timelines, none of which work out exactly the way Haber intended. Haber grows increasingly frustrated; George grows increasingly alarmed--even as, along the way some positive and encouraging changes do happen. Yet even the good changes are often the result of horrific events that killed millions, and George feels responsible for those deaths. He needs friends, help, a way out of the trap. George is a very good man, with seemingly great power, who wants to do as little damage as possible. Haber is not really a bad man, and he is genuinely trying to make things better--but he does have a large ego and great personal ambition, too. They and the whole world are on a roller coaster ride through an unpredictably changing world. It's a fantastic, wonderful story. Highly recommended. I bought this audiobook.

7 people found this helpful

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10 Stars Across the Board

I wish I could give it ten stars in all categories... Of all her works this is my favorite.

11 people found this helpful

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Dreamy

My favorite book from childhood and quite possibly the best audible book and performance I have listened to yet!

9 people found this helpful

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extraordinarily original and thoughtful

This book is extraordinarily original and thoughtful as a story, as a piece of raw imagery, and as a piece of social philosophy.

14 people found this helpful

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Favorite in awhile

I read/listen to a lot of books. I'm always trying to find new authors that I like. I'm not really a one genre type. This book was my favorite one in a long time . So much so that before even finishing I googled the author and other works of hers.

10 people found this helpful

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Simply fantastic

The best Le Guin work I’ve read yet, and Guidall gives such a great performance on this one. Do not pass this one up.

6 people found this helpful