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The Lathe of Heaven: 12/09/22
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (1971) is a near future (or now distant past) speculative fiction primarily about climate change and environmental destruction but it's also a horror novella. It's set in Portland in, waves hands, approximately 2002 but with the ever adjusting timeline, actual timing can be up for debate.
I mention the date it takes place because that was the first time I read the book. It's also the year that the second film version was released. We had cable back then and a station, I don't remember which one, broadcast both the 1980 version and the 2002 version. I watched both and read the book to make sense of what I had seen. So here I am twenty years later, rereading the book, realizing how much I missed the first time around.
George Orr is forced into counseling when he's caught borrowing another's pharma card to get extra recreational drugs. In therapy he admits that his dreams change things in the real world. Dr. Haber waltzes into this with bravado and convinces Orr to let him hypnotize him.
Here is the first instance where the reader needs to pay attention. Le Guin spends most of this short novel on descriptions. On the city, the interiors, what people look like. Pay attention! It's in these descriptions that Orr's power is revealed.
Of course Dr. Haber catches on to the changes. Of course he uses his power over Orr to his own advantage. In the process the world changes, some for the best, some for the worst, and some for the completely weird.
I plan to do a third, more in depth reading, probably logging my progress on Tumblr. This book is one of those gems of on the Road Narrative Spectrum.
The relationship between George Orr and Dr. Haber is one of scarecrow and minotaur (99), with each taking turns as the protector and monster. Their destination is uhoria (CC) from the changes in the time line to the numerous discussions on how things got to where there are "now" (with now being a peskier than usual variable). Their route, though, is the maze (CC) as many of the changes are dangerous, resulting in billions of deaths. Summarized, The Lathe of Heaven is about the back and forth between a scarecrow and minotaur as they travel to uhoria via an especially dangerous and unpredictable maze.