Saturday, January 3, 2009

Potlatch 18: The Books of Honor, Part I

Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin and Growing up Weightless by John M. Ford are the books of honor at this year's Potlatch, the non-profit literary convention, for readers and writers of speculative fiction, Feb. 27-March 1, in Silicon Valley.

To get ready, here's a little nitty-gritty on Always Coming Home and links to some discussion. Some 17 novels into her career, — after the Earthsea trilogy, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), The Lathe of Heaven (1971), and The Dispossessed (1974) — Northwest writer Le Guin wrote Always Coming Home (1985). Le Guin's most recent novel is Lavina (2008).

Always Coming Home, a creative anthropology, chronicles the culture of the Kesh people drawing from elements of Native American cultures (for details be sure to see Liz Henry's post, Thoughts on Always Coming Home, on Feminist SF: The Blog!, which sparked some great discussion). A recording of Kesh poetry and music accompanied some editions (really curious to hear this-—have you?). The novel was shortlisted for a National Book Award.

For more Always Coming Home prep, check out Paradoxa No. 21: Ursula K. Le Guin, the latest issue of the journal of scholarly articles on genre literature published on Vashon Island. Richard D. Erlich discusses the book in his essay, "Always Coming Home: Ethnography, unBible and Utopian Satire" and online in the Science Fiction Research Association Digital Book: Coyote's Song: The Teaching Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Next up, a bit on Growing Up Weightless. Please point the way if you already have good intel.

1 comment:

Richard said...

REFERENCE: Rich Erlich's writing on Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home, a novel featured at Potlach 18.

At my request, Ms. Dana Leonard of Miami University (Oxford, OH) prepared a small number of book-formatted copies for library deposit of Coyote's Song: The Teaching Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin, an online publication of the Science Fiction Research Association (

I have Adobe .pdf versions I will send upon request as an e-mail attachment. Just ask; they're free via e-mail at