The Lathe Of Heaven

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Paperback, 2001

Status

Available

Call number

LE

Collection

Call number

LE

Publication

(S.F. Masterworks) Gollancz (2001), 192 pages

Description

"In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes."--Publisher description.

User reviews

LibraryThing member gbill
What you would do if you had access to unlimited power? Would you wield it to try to solve problems like overpopulation, warfare, and pollution, or would you be wary of it, knowing the dangers of ‘playing god’ may include all sorts of unintended consequences? This is the subtext to this story of a man who finds that he changes reality through some of his dreams, and turning to a psychiatrist to help him, finds himself being exploited.

Le Guin is an excellent writer, and keeps the story clean, not bringing in all sorts of additional characters or subplots, but at the same time, making us think about the human condition. There are elements of environmentalism, eastern philosophy, and man’s nature on display here. I love how we feel the angst of the world when the book was written, the fear of overpopulation, pollution, and clear references to the immorality of the Vietnam war (“He had grown up in a country run by politicians who sent the pilots to man the bombers to kill the babies to make the world safe for children to grow up in”) - yet at the same time, the book is ahead of its time, and timeless. As a lot of the best science fiction authors are, Le Guin is remarkably prescient about the future; to be warning of global warming because of greenhouse gasses in 1971 was impressive to me. She also envisages battery powered cars (‘batcars’), the inevitable uprising to end apartheid in South Africa, and a multitude of nations all armed with nuclear weapons.

Le Guin also occasionally injects little one-liner barbs into her prose, almost as if in her stream of consciousness, and they’re wonderful (“Look out for this woman. She is dangerous.” then later “…and so now she’d have heartburn. On top of pique, umbrage, and ennui. Oh, the French diseases of the soul.”). When the doctor is frowning and standing over his patient she injects “Your God is a jealous God”, which delivers on many levels, including a criticism of the doctor and a religion.

I loved how the book was set in Portland, and had a strong African-American woman character in the lawyer he enlists to help him. Most of all, I loved the blend of reality with dreams, self with universe, and the virtues of action vs. letting things be. Oh, and the turtle aliens too.

Quotes:
On dreams vs. reality, reminding me of Chuang-Tzu’s butterfly dream:
“George Orr, pale in the flickering fluorescent glare of the train car in the infrafluvial dark, swayed as he stood holding a swaying steel handle on a strap among a thousand other souls. He felt the heaviness upon him, the weight bearing down endlessly. He thought, I am living in a nightmare, from which from time to time I wake in sleep.”

On the meaning of life:
“Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.”

On nature:
“She went to the door and stood half inside, half outside for a while, listening to the creek shouting and hollering eternal praise! eternal praise! It was incredible that it had kept up that tremendous noise for hundreds of years before she was even born, and would go on doing it until the mountains moved. And the strangest thing about it, now very late at night in the absolute silence of the woods, was a distant note in it, far away upstream it seemed, like the voices of children singing – very sweet, very strange.”

On oneness, it reminded me a lot of Alan Watts’ writings on Buddhism:
“…I’m a part of it. Not separate from it. I walk on the ground and the ground’s walked on by me, I breathe the air and change it, I am entirely interconnected with the world.”

On sex, interesting comment during the ‘sexual revolution’:
“The insistent permissiveness of the late twentieth century had produced fully as much sex-guilt and sex-fear in its heirs as had the insistent repressiveness of the late nineteenth century.”

And this one, on attraction:
“An irrelevant and poignant sensation of pleasure rose in him, like a tree that grew up and flowered all in one moment with its roots in his loins and its flowers in his mind.”

On the Taoist principle of wu wei, and the uncarved block.
“The infinite possibility, the unlimited and unqualified wholeness of being of the uncommitted, the nonacting, the uncarved: the being who, being nothing but himself, is everything.”

I loved this one too:
“Are there really people without resentment, without hate? she wondered. People who never go cross-grained to the universe? Who recognize evil, and resist evil, and yet are utterly unaffected by it?”
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LibraryThing member sweird
LeGuin's use of language is exquisite. It pours over my senses like warm honey, and I wonder if it's possible to develop synaesthesia in response to such vivid work. It's absorbing, enchanting, bringing you that much closer to her character in both empathy and understanding.

In The Lathe of Heaven I find myself agreeing with, and empathizing with, both Orr and Haber. As a scientist, Haber's desire to make the world a better place is more than understandable to me - it is my life's purpose. His reasoning is mostly sound, though a bit soulless, and I can see where critique of the character arises.

Thus our sympathies naturally turn to Orr and his philosophies. I must admit that it is difficult for me to attain empathy with such a passive personality. Orr is strong, as Le Guin remarks, but he is very passive, content to flow along in life, no matter how horrible, until there is no life left. He is afraid of change. In contrast, Heather serves as the healthy balance of action and thought, straddling the divide created by Orr and Haber. In fact, the climax of the book rests not only on Orr's shoulders, but Heather's aid in his endeavor.
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LibraryThing member eleanor_eader
Thought-provoking sci-fi, written with a clever turn of phrase and use of imagery… the diffident protagonist, George Orr, is having dreams that shape reality, an anomaly nicely at odds with his personality, since he is so passive that his waking life has little impact on anybody. Dr Huber (whose name is impishly close to hubris) has his own agenda for Orr’s dreams, directing and shaping the world through use of his specially developed device, the ‘Augmenter’. I was particularly impressed by the changing realities, especially the last one, and delighted with the aliens that Orr brings into being; and with the uncertainty of whether or not the aliens - indeed, any of the events surrounding Orr – ever existed before he ‘dreamed’ them up.

I found the exposition slightly overwritten in this short novel, which otherwise had some fantastic dreamy prose, but the story within is fascinating, as is the relationship and differences between Huber and Orr.
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LibraryThing member LisCarey
George Orr is a mild, unassuming man, a good draftsman, a man who has recently developed a mild drug abuse problem. This is discovered in part due to the pharmacy card that every citizen is issued. He's been making unauthorized use of other people's cards. It's not a very serious offense, at least at his level of abuse. Because he admits it, and another person admits to being one of his sources, he's only sent for Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment.

By chance, the psychiatrist he's assigned to is Dr. Haber.

This isn't the beginning of George's nightmare. George was using the drugs to suppress his dreams, and this is vital because some small percentage of George's dreams are what he calls "effective dreams." They change the world, and not just for him. He's the only one who even remembers that the world was ever different.

He tells Dr. Haber the truth, and manages to convince him. Haber promises to help, but instead begins manipulating George's dreams, in pursuit of his own ideas of a "better" world.

What follows is a strange, often dark, and fascinating adventure through alternating timelines, none of which work out exactly the way Haber intended. Haber grows increasingly frustrated; George grows increasingly alarmed--even as, along the way some positive and encouraging changes do happen. Yet even the good changes are often the result of horrific events that killed millions, and George feels responsible for those deaths.

He needs friends, help, a way out of the trap.

George is a very good man, with seemingly great power, who wants to do as little damage as possible. Haber is not really a bad man, and he is genuinely trying to make things better--but he does have a large ego and great personal ambition, too.

They and the whole world are on a roller coaster ride through an unpredictably changing world.

It's a fantastic, wonderful story. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.
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LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
As you dream, so shall it be! And Le Guin's fine book, demonstrates why that isn't as wonderful a wish as one might think! They made a TV movie out of it, but I don't think it made a fine transition to the small screen. To quote a better piece of filmed escapism,"With great power comes great responsibility!"
I've read this book twice, and as with most of this author's books, it bore up very well to that test.… (more)
LibraryThing member DylanWolters
A really great, introspective journey. The world within the book changes left and right as George continues to dream beyond his control. A fabulous look into learning to adapt and to accept. Man is not mean to be god, and that is for the better. Well worth the rather short read by anyone looking for a captivating journey full of intriguing plot shifts.… (more)
LibraryThing member Tatiana_G
Would you like to play God?

Would you like to shape the world to your liking? Maybe to rid it of war, overpopulation, hunger, racial prejudice, decease? To make it into your own idea of Heaven?

Well, the two main characters of The Lathe of Heaven have different opinions on this subject. George Orr, who possesses a unique ability to change the world by dreaming about, seemingly, the most mundane things, wants this power to be gone, he is sure the events should take their natural course, no matter how dire the consequences are to the humanity. His doctor, William Haber, thinks it is his responsibility to make this world a better place. He is adamant he will achieve his goal of a perfect society! And he will use Orr's ability as a means to his megalomaniac ends. Does it matter that people in his utopia are all of a battleship gray color? That sick people are euthanized? Not to Haber, as long as it is for the common good.

The Lathe of Heaven was the first Le Guin's book that tickled my visualization "powers," which are very modest, to put it lightly. My imagination went in overdrive picturing our planet changing - billions of people disappearing, landscapes transforming, climate adjusting - all retroactive results of Orr's unconscious dreaming. This story would make a visually stunning movie a la Inception, only a million times better, because Le Guin explores much cooler ideas of fatalism, equanimity, and God complex.

4 stars because it took so long to come up with the idea how to fix Orr's dream problem. I had the solution the moment I knew what his complaint was and I don't understand why Orr himself never thought of it. A bit of a weak plotting there.

Besides this minor issue, the novel is just immensely exciting and imaginative.
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LibraryThing member AHS-Wolfy
George Orr has a problem with his dreams. When he has what he terms an 'effective dream' it changes reality to match. What a cool ability to possess you might think? George's problem is that he has no control over what he dreams so he has tried all sorts of things to stop them from occurring. His current method is drugs but he's having to borrow other people's Pharmacy Card's so they're not all allocated to him and this leads to discovery and referral to a therapist as part of the Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment. Dr. William Haber, the psychiatrist Orr gets assigned to, soon realises that he can make use of this talent and improve the lot of mankind as well as helping himself along in the process. Unfortunately for Haber and the rest of the world, Orr doesn't always dream what Haber actually suggests and perceived results could have unforeseen consequences. Will the doctor find a way to get better results or perhaps even give his patient what he wants: to be cured of effective dreaming once and for all.

Touching on many of the big questions such as the nature of humanity and with social and political themes abounding even touching on environmental concerns and over-population which, for 1971 when this work was first published, is quite something. The story never meanders though and stays fixed within its main tenets which means it's a fairly quick read weighing in at under 200 pages. In lesser hands this story could get terribly confusing but I'm glad to say that wasn't the case here. It's a really enjoyable read and I'll certainly be looking for more of her work having only read some of the Earthsea stories previously.
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LibraryThing member williecostello
The Lathe of Heaven was the first Le Guin novel I ever read, and in many ways it is the speculative fiction novel I had always been waiting for. That's because it is just so marvelously written, in addition to being wildly imaginative and deeply engaging. Le Guin, I discovered, is the sort of writer that could write anything and I'd gladly read it, and this became clear within the first two pages of the book.

Le Guin's greatest achievement in The Lathe of Heaven, however, is that it all just feels so real (and this in a book with continuum-shifting dreaming and an invasion of extraterrestial turtles). The characters, and the protagonist George Orr in particular, are believably portrayed and psychologically complex. The characters' actions and the turns of the plot follow naturally though not entirely predictably upon one another. And the world itself is immersive and detailed, in spite of its frequent oneiric rearrangings.

It is this visceral reality of Le Guin's impossible fiction that gives The Lathe of Heaven its this-worldly literary impact. The near-novella hits on countless issues in its less-than-two-hundred pages (everything from geo- and global politics to Taoist spirituality), but more than anything else it is an exploration of moral responsibility. Through its imaginative set-up, Le Guin creates a mutually opposed protagonist-and-antagonist pair, neither of which is straightforwardly blameworthy for his actions, or straightforwardly innocent, either. In this moral morass Le Guin asks us to contemplate what a concerned agent can and should do.

It is a powerful and thought-provoking question, and The Lathe of Heaven poses it in a powerful and thought-provoking way which is also eminently readable and thoroughly enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member LaPhenix
Leagues away from what I typically pick up, I can’t pretend to grasp all the ideas broached in this dystopian novel. Though the writing style I’ve come to associate with dystopias is unvarying, the beautiful imagery, often lucidly symbolic, make this book more accessible. Written 40 years ago, the themes and setting don’t feel dated, and indeed the ideas addressed are ones society still weighs today. Le Guin’s choice to set the novel in a real location makes the city’s state in the different continua seem more realistic and plausible. Le Guin’s novel is a stirring and engaging read.… (more)
LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
A re-read, of course.
It's been quite a few years since I revisited this one. I have to admit, it's not my favorite book by LeGuin - so I nearly gave it 4 stars just because I do think most of her work is better. However, in the grand scheme of all-the-books-out-there, and considering its place in the history of science fiction - it really does deserve 5.

It's very much an 'idea' book.
The premise: George Orr, an unexceptional man in other ways, has come to believe that his dreams come true. This isn't as good as it sounds: it's not like he has control over what he dreams. And not all dreams are pleasant... or moral.
In search of a cure, he goes to a psychologist. As one might expect, the sleep specialist is skeptical at first - but soon becomes a believer. Rather than attempting to cure Orr, he seeks to use Orr's ability to both aggrandize himself and improve the world.
Disturbed that his therapist is using him as a tool against his will, Orr next seeks out a lawyer. She's not sure if there's anything she can do to help - but she's willing to try. Orr gradually develops a relationship with her, through a shifting series of realities...

The characters of Orr, Dr. Haber, and the lawyer Heather LeLache are complex and believable, even though they are somewhat representative of 'types.' The dystopic visions of possible futures, somewhat eerily, barely feel dated at all. Our concerns haven't changed much (or rather, LeGuin was quite prescient about what our real problems would be.)

The main theme of the book is the ethics of the use of power. It discusses and shows various arguments and aspects of the topic, without giving any quick and easy answers. Thought-provoking and worthwhile.

Diversion Books has just released this book in e-book format for the first time; and NetGalley provided me with a copy. Time to update from that old paperback!
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LibraryThing member Gwendydd
Robert Orr has what he calls "effective" dreams - they affect the world around him. He will have a dream, and when he wakes, reality has adjusted to match his dream. Only he is aware that anything has changed - he can remember life both with and without the dream's changes. He is sent to a psychiatrist, who specializes in dreams and has equipment that allows him a degree of control over the dreams. The psychiatrist starts manipulating Orr's dreams to his own ends, and Orr must figure out how to make it stop.

The book takes place in a climate-change affected world, where overpopulation has led to a scarcity of resources. At least, until Orr dreams up a new reality...

The story raises questions about "the greater good" and whether the ends justify the means, and what sacrifices humans are willing to make for safety and security.

It's a very compelling read - I couldn't put it down. In the end, Le Guin doesn't really say anything new about the question of whether the ends justify the means, but it was still an interesting thought experiment.
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LibraryThing member comixminx
Great, absorbing book with a central hook concept that I liked a lot. Very odd though how it really reminded me of Philip K Dick, which is not something I would ever have expected UKlG to do: uncertain world, ever changing due to a mental ability? check. drugs? check. manipulation by hearty person who is sure of themselves? yup. Hmm, odd.… (more)
LibraryThing member auntmarge64
In Portland, OR, in the near-future (our near past - this was written in 1971), George Orr discovers his dreams are changing reality and turns to drugs to quell them. He is sent to a psychiatrist, whose response is to start experimenting with George's dreams to design his own utopian world. With reality changing every day, but his memories encompassing all the realities simultaneously, George desperately searches for some way to stop the doctor, to whom the authorities continue to send him. LeGuin makes George's experience quite vivid for the reader, who soon finds herself unable to put the book down until George either succeeds or fades into madness, and the world into chaos.… (more)
LibraryThing member shawjonathan
My copy of this was a long way from new when I bought it in Hiroshima: it had done time in the Roswell Public Library, New Mexico, and a bookshop in Missouri. Published in 1971 and set in the late 1990s, it makes much of the Greenhouse Effect, quotably if not always in line with currently favoured scenarios:

"'It's raining already.' In fact it was, the endless warm drizzle of spring -- the ice of Antarctica, falling softly on the heads of the children of those responsible for melting it."

The book, contrary to my expectations of Le Guin, is pretty much hard science fiction, the science at its centre being oneirology, the study of dreaming. But it's also got plenty of environmentalism, multiple realities and, in the end, aliens worthy of Doctor Who. Excellent, intelligent SF without pretensions, which makes me keen to read more of St Ursula.
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LibraryThing member kaelirenee
A coworker recommended I read some of Le Guin's work, and with how many books I recommend, I feel generally compelled to read recommendations.

This novel started out following my normal fiction interests-dystopias. It seemed like this was going to be a good psychiatrist dystopia, which was great because aside from 12 Monkeys, I don't think I've ever seen or read a psychiatric dystopia. Haber was an interesting character, a typical researcher who convinces himself that what he's doing is fo the good of all. And the entire book, I was wondering along-is this bad to happen-aside from the self-serving things Herber did...is it really that bad? And it was a very good internal conflict. I was glad Orr was never completely certain about it either.
The plot was good enough for me to ignore the awful grammar (she dangles quite a few participles in her novels, which is kind of distracting after a day of proofreading papers). Then came the aliens. Aliens, really? But I paused, reminded myself that one of my favorite books (Ender's Game), also has aliens and it was a great book despite them (in case you hadn't noticed-I don't like aliens in books-I think they are a lazy plot device either used to indicate xenophobia or to ameliorate guilt of slaughtering a bunch of them). This was also a good book despite the aliens-though not great. It is an interesting concept and an interesting book, though it's best NOT to read it with the intention of reading a couple of chapters each night before bed. I had to read the whole thing in one night, hoping that my dreams would be a little more normal than Orr's.
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LibraryThing member brakketh
Quite enjoyed reading this piece, Le Guin has some very interesting ideas and is always a pleasure to read.
LibraryThing member crazybatcow
This is a re-read of a book I read many years ago. I remember thinking over the past decade or so that this book had always been one of my favorites.

I won't say that I was disappointed by my re-reading, because really, I wasn't. But the writing is much drier and much more "distant" than I remember it being. I didn't care about the characters at all, and I couldn't figure out why Orr wouldn't just dream his own dreams - of course, now I know it's because of the time when this novel was written - when individuals believed the medical profession/government/powers-that-be were "right", regardless.

Anyway, I still LOVE the concept behind the book (wouldn't that be so cool?), but the writing of it, or the standards of the era within which it was written... not so much.

Originally I gave this 5 stars. Now, as an adult, I'd give it 3.5
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LibraryThing member jbushnell
Eerie SF novel about a world whose continuity is repeatedly revised by a man's dreaming mind, an ability which, predictably, begins to be exploited the very second another person gains a sense of it. Fascinating premise, but the book's real strength is in the way it locates the emotional heart of the story, becoming (at its best) a moving meditation on memory and loss, on power and the renunciation of power. Recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member JimmyChanga
A good fast read. I liked the premise and the beginning/middle but then the ending it gets a little too confusing for my taste. I liked some of the philosophy behind it, though the book is driven more by characters and action (as it should).
LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
George Orr's dreams change reality. He is sent to a psychologist with a specialization in sleep and dream disorders and for the first time in his life, he has hope that he'll be able to stop his "effective dreaming", which is a responsibility he does not want. Instead, the doctor starts using his dreams to change the world. But dreams aren't as easy to control as the doctor would like to believe...

I was expecting another book as dense and difficult as The Left Hand of Darkness, but Lathe of Heaven was both shorter and much easier to read. That doesn't mean it was less powerful or fascinating, however.
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LibraryThing member MaowangVater
George Orr is having disturbing dreams. He’s so afraid that he’s trying not to sleep. He borrows his friends’ Pharm cards to keep himself drugged up enough to stay awake. It doesn’t work, and after the inevitable crash, he’s sent to Dr. Haber for Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment. It’s either that or he goes to jail. Dr. Haber is a dream specialist and he has a wonderful new machine, the Augmentor that he wants to try on his new patient. Combined with hypnosis he sure he can cure George of the idea that George’s night fantasies can somehow change reality. His first hypnotic suggestion to George is to dream of a horse. When George wakes up the picture of Mt. Hood in Dr. Haber’s office has changed to a picture of a horse. George is not at all surprised that this has happened. Dr. Haber won’t say anything. After a few sessions Dr. Haber suggests that it would be good for George to dream of a bigger office for the doctor, one with a real view of Mt. Hood. It’s a small thing, but what happens when Dr. Haber suggests that George dream of a world without the problem of overpopulation is not.… (more)
LibraryThing member santhony
Despite reading well over a thousand books over the years, many of them science fiction, I somehow neglected Ursula LeGuin. I attribute this to being an early Lord of the Rings fan and viewing her Wizard of Earthsea series as a cheap imitation. As a result, I pigeonholed her as a second rate fantasy author and failed to discover her numerous, outstanding science fiction works.

After reading her Left Hand of Darkness and Worlds of Exile and Illusion, both of which I enjoyed very much, I began to actively seek out her work, hence my exposure to this very short novel (actually more of a novella). Those seeking hard science fiction may be disappointed, as her focus is more sociological and anthropological than with technology, space or time travel.

This short work, set in a depressing dystopian American near future, features George Orr, a dreamer, but not your average, run of the mill dreamer. George’s dreams have the ability to change reality. When George thinks he is insane and struggles to avoid sleep, he is directed to Dr. William Haber, a specialist in dreams and sleep disorders who soon discovers a way to profit from George’s abilities, by directing his dreams. But dreams are tricky and Dr. Haber’s suggestions and direction do not always lead where he thinks. For example, a suggestion to dream of world peace results in intergalactic war.

I’ve seen reviews which attribute political and abstract interpretations to this work, and such may have been the author’s intent. For me, however, the short work was a highly entertaining and thoughtful essay which highlights the futility and hidden dangers inherent in trying to exert control over matters incapable of being controlled.
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LibraryThing member lilywren
The Lathe of Heaven tells the story of a mild mannered chap, George Orr, who possesses the ‘gift’ of being able to change reality through his dreams. He calls these ‘effective dreams’. He can go to bed one night and wake up in the morning only to find his job has changed, the landscape has altered, politics across the world and even the appearance of people. However, people around him do not notice anything different. To them things are as they have always been. Only George is aware of the impact that his dreams have on reality.

The book sounded just up my street. I love dream analysis, altered reality systems and dystopic tales and so a book which incorporates all these sounded perfect. In addition to this, there have been a number of times where I have wished that I could wake up and be instantly transformed into some 8.5 stone fitness guru with a body to rival any athlete (preferably that of a female tennis player). I would also have an abundance of wealth and happiness, popularity unbounded and there would be world peace…

Ah, if only it was so easy!

As is the case with characters who have such amazing ‘gifts’ in any book or film, we find out that such abilities can often become a curse. We meet George at a time in his life where his ability to dream ‘effectively’ has become too much to bear. George needs drugs to manage his sleep and dreams. He tries to stay awake. It’s not like he can just go to sleep and have a dream that he is wealthy and popular and wake up the next day and, hey presto, there it is. As is often the case with dreams, George doesn’t have such conscious control and, as we know, dreams can become nightmares. How often have you gone to bed and wanted to dream about a particular thing but found that something else had happened? Can you imagine waking each day/week into a dramatically changed social, political and/or environmental landscape? One that came straight from your subconscious? What if you had a nightmare which became your reality? It would certainly put that dream where I gave birth to a chicken into perspective….

Right from the start of the book we become only too aware of his problem as he is found in a collapsed state outside his apartment. He explains to the elevator guard who found him that:

“Couldn’t find the fit” he said, meaning that he had been trying to lock the door through which the dreams came, but none of the keys fit the lock” (p.2).

The ‘fit’ for George has meant taking copious amounts of prescribed drugs for which he has to use ‘Pharm Cards’ from other people. This is a crime for which George has to attend the ‘Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment’ programme which will seek to help him with his perceived substance abuse. During this programme George is introduced to his psychotherapist, Dr Haber, who seeks to help him overcome his ‘fear’ of sleeping and dreaming. However, Haber becomes aware of George’s ability and finds ways in which to use this for his own ends. Haber starts to plant suggestions into George’s mind during his dream stage of sleep which leads to the development of interesting ‘realities’.

I enjoyed reading The Lathe of Heaven and Le Guin’s writing flows beautifully off the page. I got through the book quicker than I have got through any book in a long time. I started reading the book before 2014 thinking by the time 2014 arrived and the challenge had begun I would be just about finishing it. I underestimated myself and the book.

The story raises issues around power, powerlessness, control and fear. There is an overwhelming sense of loss which runs throughout. Le Guin portrays the changes George has to go through as a consequences of his ‘effective’ dreams in a rather poetic way. All facets of life are transient, forever moving on and changing at an incredible pace. This can only lead to a sense of loss for love and life as it is, was or may never be. Le Guin manages to capture this perfectly as she portrays the grief George feels as his dreams continue to alter his reality and that of the world. Be careful what you dream….. they may come true.
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LibraryThing member theboylatham
Seven out of ten.
One man dreams - except everything he dreams seems to come true. This gives him the power to change the world if the dreams can be controlled but for each problem he tries to solve by his dreams there are unaccounted for side-effects. The idea is excellent and sums up a lot of the things people do which has unforeseen consequences - do the ends justify the means?… (more)

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1971-10 (book)
1971 (serialized in Amazing sf, Mar, May)

Physical description

192 p.; 7.8 inches

ISBN

1857989511 / 9781857989519
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