Le Guin’s Subversive Imagination by Michael Chabon
We recently passed what would have been Ursula K. Le Guin’s ninetieth birthday, and we’re approaching the two-year anniversary of her death. I suppose either of those momentous dates might have inspired Michael Chabon to write about Le Guin’s massive influence of him. Whatever the prompt, the essay, published by The Paris Review, is terrific. With a grace and easy insight he brought to his finest novels, Chabon highlights the piercing intellect that made Le Guin special, writing “it was obvious to me, even at nine, that the true name of magic was writing, and that a writer like Ursula K. Le Guin was a mage.”
The Force is With Them by Michael Schulman
This article was published several weeks ago, but my giant stack of New Yorker magazines (they just. keep. coming.) takes some time to get through. At times, Michael Schulman’s piece has a charming stodginess to it, due to the necessity of explaining, say, slash fiction to the uninitiated. Mostly, though, it shrewdly explores the phenomenon of deeply entitled fans, which has been present for ages (he cites Lisztomania and the fervor for new installments of Dickens’s serialized fiction) but has received a turbo boost in the digital age.