The Lathe of Heaven

{4.5/5} “He’s not a mad scientist, George thought dully, he’s a pretty sane one, or he was. It’s the chance of power that my dreams give him that twists him around. He keeps acting a part, and this gives him such an awfully big part to play. So that now he’s even using his science as a means, not an end…. But his ends are good, aren’t they? He wants to improve life for humanity. Is that wrong?”

George’s dreams can alter reality — and he’s the only one who remembers how things used to be before the change. But he doesn’t want to alter reality, and he’s been taking drugs to try to prevent himself from having dreams. When he starts seeing a psychiatrist, William, he has some hope that he’ll be able to help him. William gets George to sleep while he’s in his office — and gives him hypnotic suggestions regarding what to dream about. Is William using George’s dreams to alter reality for his own ends?

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin was published in 1971.

I’ve been aware of this book for some time but just hadn’t gotten around to it. There are two filmed versions but I haven’t sought them out because I knew I wanted to read the book.

George, through his dreams, starts off making small changes to reality but then eventually makes changes that affect the whole world. And then the aliens show up.

It’s a great book — very philosophical, as the world goes through several versions. What would the best situation for humanity to be in, and should we use any means necessary to get us there?

Here’s one more quotation from the book: “Of course, Haber thought, a man who saw a miracle would reject his eyes’ witness, if those with him saw nothing.”

I’ve read a fair number of Le Guin’s books. She’s a master at science fiction novels (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Telling),¬†fantasy novels (A Wizard of Earthsea and its sequels), and short stories (The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, The Birthday of the World).

This entry was posted on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 8:56 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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