Ursula Le Guin
- Author: Ursula Le Guin
- Title: Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
- Published: 1971
- Genre: novella
- #DealMeIn2017 Challenge
What is my first impression?
- That reading anything by Ursula Le Guin will challenge you.
- You have to read between the lines and
- unveil the conflicts that the text carefully covers up.
- Ursula Le Guin writes about speculative fiction…what if.
- Her books focus on psychological states and perceptions.
- Le Guin writes more about the inner space.
- PS: I enjoy 1 short story by Le Guin
- ….more than a entire novels by other writers!
Title: Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
- The title of the story is taken from a poem by Andrew Marvell:
- titled “To His Coy Mistress“
- The line from which the title is derived reads:
- “Our vegetable love should grow/Vaster than empires, and more slow.”
- Group of surveyors are on a exploratory mission to World 4470,
- Could they establish a new colony in this alien world?
- Something big had tried to attack Porlark, a crew member, in the forest.
- Osden is the group’s Sensor.
- He must attempt to detect any presence of intelligent life.
- Could Osden confirm that there is a sentient-life form in the forest?
- Days later in the forest Osden failed to call in to the mother ship as agreed.
- The explorers find him badly beaten…but still alive.
- What happened?
- All his life he feels himself an outsider….an alien.
- He yearns to be whole.
- “To have roots and no enemies. To be entire. Do you see?
- No invasion. No others…to be whole.”
- Osden has changed under the influence of the vegetative intelligence.
- Despite his singular power of empathy… he says in the beginning:
- “Can’t you understand that I don’t give a damn about all of you?“
- On the last page….as Osden choses to disappear into the forest he says:
- “Listen, I will you well” before leaving his colleagues
- Osden fell and lay sunk in the roots of the forest.
- “I felt the fear and it kept growing.
- As if they’d finally known I was there…
- lying on them, under them, among them…
- ..the thing they feared.”
Epiphany moment: the forest mind evokes rejection
- “It’s message is rejection.
- But rejection is my salvation.
- It’s not intelligent. But I am”
- Osden explains that he picks up more than the fear…
- …before the ‘forest-mind’ panicked…there was serenity.
- Osden says as he jumps out the door…” I am coming.”
- He had taken the fear into himself
- ….accepting, had transcended it.
- He had given up his self to the alien,
- …and unreserved surrender.
- Osden’s disillusionment turned into
- ….a good thing, the wise thing.
- He learned to accept the fear….it opened doors and
- dissolved what was not longer useful.
- What one fears is alien….
- Go with it. Look boldly at all beliefs, not cynically.
- Look fairly.
- Do not be too quick to find answers set in stone.
- Stay open, flexible.