Ursula K. Le Guin Short Stories

Ursula K. Le Guin Short Stories
Ursula K. Le Guin Short Stories

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American writer known for speculative fiction, particularly the novels The Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness. She also wrote many short stories, some of which are popular selections for anthologies. Some of her recurring themes include identity, societal structure, communication, alienation and ethics. Here are some Ursula K. Le Guin short stories to consider. I hope you find something new here.

Ursula K. Le Guin Short Stories

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

Bells announce the Festival of Summer in Omelas. There are processions, music and dancing. The citizens of Omelas are happy, but the narrator is vague as to what exactly they have which makes them so. However, the people’s happiness depends on one thing, of which all the citizens are aware.

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” can be read in the preview of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story(52% in)

“The Rule of Names”

Mr. Underhill is the resident wizard of Sattins Island. He’s a small fat man of fifty who lives outside the village under a hill. He’s not viewed as very competent, but he’s all the village has. He’s in the village to buy some food. He passes the teacher, Palani, who’s outside instructing her class. The lesson is the Rule of Names, which Mr. Underhill knows well.

This story can be read in the preview of Wings of Fire. (12% in)

“Nine Lives”

Martin and Pugh are on the planet Libra, staffing an outpost that looks for mining deposits. It’s only been the two of them for six months, so they’re looking forward to some new company. A craft lands and ten clones emerge—five men and five women, engineers in Planetary Exploitation. They have great team chemistry and thrive in each other’s company.

Some of this novelette can be read in the preview of the anthology Clones(24% into preview)

“She Unnames Them”

Someone has been persuading all the animals to give up their names. Most accept it without much resistance. A few objections and misunderstandings are soon cleared up. The absence of names makes them feel closer. (Summary & Analysis)

Read “She Unnames Them”

“The Wife’s Story”

A wife tells the story of her husband. He was a good husband and father, a hard worker, well liked and respected. Something happened that she can’t believe. She saw it happen with her own eyes and still can’t believe it. Everyone says it was because of the moon and the blood. (Summary)

Read “The Wife’s Story”

“Horse Camp”

Norah and Ev are waiting for a bus with Norah’s older sister, Sal. They are going to Horse Camp, and talk about the cabins, the counsellors, and the head handler, Meredy. (Summary)

“Schrödinger’s Cat”

The narrator lives in a confusing world where things are very literal. He or she (?) also feels an unfocused sense of grief. The narrator is interrupted by the cat, who knows it’s time to be fed. The arrival of the mailman opens the possibility of an experiment.

I’ll keep adding Ursula K. Le Guin short stories as I read more.