Friday, December 12, 2014

Beginning ~ at the window

The Altered I: Ursula K. Le Guin's Science Fiction Writing Workshop ~ edited by Lee Harding, 1976, 1978
Miriam stood at the big window of the infirmary ward and looked out at the view and thought, For twenty-five years I have been standing at this window and looking out at this view.  And never once have I seen what I wanted to see.  Nor will I ever see it.  Never again.  O Jerusalem, if I forget thee!
This is the first paragraph of Le Guin's short story "The Eye Altering" (pages 17-28 of this book) that she wrote in the spring of 1975.  She calls it a "first typed draft."  Here's the blurb from the back of my paperback copy of the book:
The Dandenong Experiment.  The astounding science fiction in this book is the result of an even more astounding — and unsettling — experiment.  In 1975 twenty SF writers isolated themselves in the remote Dandenong Range of Australia and began, under the leadership of Ursula K. Le Guin, a bizarre series of exercises designed to deliberately alter their human and literary perceptions, with the intention of exploring, and if possible expanding, the outer limits of science fiction... The experiment was judged a success.  That success is now in your hands:  a unique work of the imagination that has opened unforeseen new horizons!
I've read this book three times already: in 1978, in 1981, and in 1990. It's been 24 years since the last time, and I've forgotten all the details. I'm ready to read it again.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.