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The New Wave in American SF (Ursula Le Guin, Samuel Delany, Philip Dick)

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Major works

Science fiction and fantasy novels:Immortality, Inc. (1958); The Status Civilization, also known as Omega (1960); The 10th Victim (1966); Mindswap (1966); Dimension of Miracles (1968); Aliens: Alien Harvest (1995); Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999); Millenial Contest series (with Roger Zelazny):Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (1991); Stephen Dain series; Hob Draconian series.

However, the 1960s actually hailed a new era for science fiction, a decade where the realization of many technological visions brought science fiction some measure of respect, as well as a greater concentration regarding literary "style" (Aldiss). This style was marked by excess of and an exploration of choice, and in 1961 Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land exemplified both. The British invasion of American science fiction shores via New Worlds was not to come until the midpoint of the decade, and new American writers were exploring the literary lands science fiction encompassed. Perhaps the most notable were Samuel Delany and Roger Zelazny, storytellers writing with the underpinnings of myth and semiology in their work.

"The New Wave" was about to break in the science fiction community, but not without some opposition from hard science fiction writers responding to a backlash against scientific optimism. Lester del Rey commented, "The philosophy behind New Wave Writing was a general distrust of both science and mankind. Science and technology were usually treated as evils which could only make conditions worse in the long run. And mankind was essentially contemptible, or at least of no importance. There was an underlying theme of failure throughout. Against the universe, the significance of mankind was no greater than that of bedbugs--if as great".

Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller, book reviewer for Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term, soft science fiction (a back formation that first appeared in the late 1970s) contrasts the "hardness" of the sciences used in the story: the "hard" sciences are quantitative or material-based disciplines (physics, chemistry, astronomy) versus the "soft" social sciences (sociology, anthropology, psychology). In some usages, though, "soft SF" suggests bad or fake science.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born October 21, 1929) is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books and essays, and is best known for her science fiction, fantasy novels and short stories.

First published in the 1960s, she is now regarded as one of the best modern science fiction and fantasy authors, noted for her exemplary style and for her exploration of Taoist, anarchist, feminist, psychological and sociological themes. She has received several Hugo and Nebula awards, and was awarded the Gandalf Grand Master award in 1979 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award in 2003.

Le Guin was born and raised in Berkeley, California, the daughter of the anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and the writer Theodora Kroeber. She became interested in literature when she was very young. At the age of eleven she submitted her first story to the magazine Astounding Science Fiction (it was rejected).

She received her B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from Radcliffe College in 1951, and M.A. from Columbia University in 1952. She later studied in France, where she met her husband, historian Charles Le Guin. They were married in 1953.

Her earliest writings (little was published at the time, but some was published in adapted form much later in Orsinian Tales and Malafrena), were non-fantastic stories of imaginary countries. Searching for a publishable way to express her interests, she returned to her early interest in science fiction and began to be published regularly in the early 1960s. She became famous after the publication of her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Le Guin has lived in Portland, Oregon since 1958. She has three children and four grandchildren.

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