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Encyclopedia > The Lathe of Heaven
Title The Lathe of Heaven

Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Ursula K. Le Guin
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science Fiction
Publisher Charles Scribner's Sons
Released 1971
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 184 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-684-12529-3

The Lathe of Heaven is a 1971 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. The plot revolves around a character whose dreams alter reality. It has been adapted into two television films. The novel was nominated for a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, and won the Locus Poll Award for best novel in 1972. It first appeared serialized in the magazine Amazing Stories. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Ursula Kroeber Le Guin [] (born October 21, 1929) is an American author. ... In political geography and international politics a country is a geographical entity, a territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Charles Scribners Sons is a publisher that was founded in 1846 at the Brick Church Chapel on New Yorks Park Row. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The barcode of an ISBN . ... See also: 1970 in literature, other events of 1971, 1972 in literature, list of years in literature. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Ursula Kroeber Le Guin [] (born October 21, 1929) is an American author. ... A television movie (also TV movie, TV-movie, made-for-TV movie, etc. ... The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb Kosiba. ... The Nebula is an award given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the two previous years (see rolling eligibility below). ... Locus Magazine is subtitled The Magazine Of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Field. It reports on the science fiction writing industry, including comprehensive listings of new books published in the field. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Amazing Stories magazine, sometimes retitled Amazing Science Fiction, began in April 1926, becoming the first science fiction magazine and one of the pioneers of science fiction in the United States. ...

Contents

Plot summary

The novel is set in Portland, Oregon. The "real world" had been destroyed in a nuclear war and George Orr has dreamed it back into existence as he lay dying in the ruins. This places him in the first of many realities we encounter in the book, where he is a draftsman and has long been abusing sleep deprivation drugs to prevent himself from dreaming. Nickname: Location in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon Coordinates: Country United States State Oregon County Multnomah County Incorporated February 8, 1851 Government  - Mayor Tom Potter Area  - City  145. ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... Technical drawing, also known as drafting or draughting, is the practise of creating accurate representations of objects for technical, architecture and engineering drawings. ... Sleep deprivation is a general lack of the necessary amount of sleep. ...


It is set approximately 30 years in the future (2002), relative to when the book was first published, and overpopulation, famine, malnutrition, global warming, urban blight, and massive wars in the Middle East are a commonplace. Orr is forced to undergo "voluntary" psychiatric care for his drug abuse, under threat of being placed in an asylum. Map of countries by population density (See List of countries by population density. ... A famine is a social and economic crisis that is commonly accompanied by widespread malnutrition, starvation, epidemic and increased mortality. ... Percentage of population affected by malnutrition by country, according to United Nations statistics. ... Global mean surface temperatures 1850 to 2006 Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earths atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and the projected... Symptoms of urban blight: graffiti-covered abandoned and deteriorating buildings and garbage-strewn vacant lots. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... A psychiatric hospital (also called, at various places and times, mental hospital or mental ward), is a hospital specialising in the treatment of persons with mental illness. ...


He begins attending therapy sessions with an ambitious psychiatrist and sleep researcher named William Haber, who discovers Orr's power to dream "effectively" and seeks to use it to change the world. His experiments with a biofeedback/EEG machine nicknamed the Augmentor enhance Orr's abilities and produce a series of increasingly intolerable alternate worlds, based on an assortment of utopian (and dystopian) premises familiar from other science fiction works: Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental and emotional disorders (see mental illness). ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Left panel (The Earthly Paradise, Garden of Eden), from Hieronymus Boschs The Garden of Earthly Delights. ... A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia[1], kakotopia or anti-utopia) is a fictional society that is the antithesis of utopia. ...

  • When Haber directs George to dream a world without racism, the skin of everyone on the planet becomes a uniform light gray.
  • An attempt to solve the problem of overpopulation proves disastrous when George dreams a devastating plague which wipes out 75% of humanity.
  • George attempts to dream into existence "peace on Earth" - resulting in an alien invasion of the Moon which unites all the nations of Earth against the threat.

Each effective dream gives Haber more wealth and status, until late in the book where he is effectively ruler of the world. Orr's economic status also improves, but he is unhappy with Haber's meddling and just wants to let things be. He becomes increasingly frightened by Haber's lust for power and delusions of Godhood. He seeks out a lawyer to represent him against Haber, and while he falls in love with her and even marries her in one reality, this effort is unsuccessful in getting him out of therapy. Because racism carries connotations of race-based bigotry, prejudice, violence, oppression, stereotyping or discrimination, the term has varying and often hotly contested definitions. ... Map of countries by population density (See List of countries by population density. ... A pandemic (from Greek παν pan all + δήμος demos people) is an epidemic (an outbreak of an infectious disease) that spreads across a large region (example a continent), or even worldwide. ...


Eventually, Haber becomes frustrated with Orr's resistance and decides to take on effective dreaming himself. Haber's first effective dream represents a significant break with the realities created by Orr, and threatens to destroy the Earth completely. He is stopped by Orr through pure force of will. Reality is saved, but distorted, and Haber's mind is left broken.


Though technology plays a slight role, the novel is largely concerned with philosophical questions about our desire to control our destiny, with Haber's positivist approach pitted against a Taoist equanimity. The beginnings of the chapters also feature quotes from H.G. Wells, Victor Hugo and Taoist sages. Due to its portrayal of psychologically-derived alternate realities, it has often been described as Le Guin's homage to Philip K. Dick. // Positivism is a philosophy developed by Auguste Comte (widely regarded as the first true sociologist) in the middle of the 19th century that stated that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ... H. G. Wells at the door of his house at Sandgate Herbert George Wells (September 21, 1866 - August 13, 1946) was an English writer best known for his science fiction novels such as The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. ... Victor-Marie Hugo (pronounced in French) (26 February 1802 — 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights campaigner, and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ... Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer, mostly known for his works of science fiction; additional to forty-four books currently in print, Dick wrote several short stories and minor works published in pulp magazines. ...


The book is very critical of psychiatry. Orr, a deceptively mild yet very strong and honest man, is labeled sick because he is immensely frightened by his ability to change reality. He is forced to undergo therapy whether he wants to or not. His efforts to rid himself of Haber are viewed as suspect because he is a psychiatric patient. Haber, meanwhile, is very charming, extroverted, and confident, yet it is he who eventually goes insane and almost destroys reality. He dismisses Orr's qualms about meddling with reality with paternalistic psychobabble, and is more concerned with his machine and Orr's powers than with curing his patient. Psychiatry is a medical specialty dealing with the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of the mind and mental illness. ... The terms Introvert and Extrovert (originally spelled Extravert by Carl Jung, who invented the terms) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. ... Paternalism refers to a policy that prevents others from doing harm to themselves or a belief in such policies. ... Psychobabble is a customarily pejorative term to denote technical jargon that is used outside of its intended purpose in psychology. ...


Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The 1979 adaptation—generally faithful to the novel—was produced by the public television station WNET, directed by David Loxton and Fred Barzyk. It starred Bruce Davison, Kevin Conway, and Margaret Avery. Due to rights issues surrounding the use of a clip from The Beatles tune "With a Little Help from My Friends" (the song is integral to one of the novel's plot points), it was never re-aired after the network's rights to rebroadcast the program expired in 1988. It would be another twelve years before it was released to home video in 2000 (in fact, the home video release is remastered from a tape someone recorded from the original broadcast; PBS, thinking the rights issues would dog the production forever, did not save a copy of the production in their archives). The rights issue was solved by replacing the original Beatles tune with a cover version of the same song. Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... Public broadcasting (also known as public service broadcasting or PSB) is the dominant form of broadcasting around the world, where radio, television, and potentially other electronic media outlets receive funding from the public. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Davison as Senator Robert Kelly in X-Men Bruce Davison (born June 28, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American actor. ... Kevin Conway (born May 29, 1942 in New York City) is an American actor and film director. ... Margaret Avery is a singer and actress. ... The Beatles were an English rock band from Liverpool whose members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. ... With a Little Help from My Friends (originally titled, A Little Help from My Friends) is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on the The Beatles album Sgt. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

2002 version of the film

A second adaptation, retitled Lathe of Heaven, was produced for the A&E network in 2002 and directed by Philip Haas. It starred James Caan, Lukas Haas, and Lisa Bonet. This adaptation discards a significant portion of the plot, some essential characters, and much of the philosophical underpinnings of the book and the original PBS production. Image File history File links source: http://media. ... Image File history File links source: http://media. ... Biography is one of A&Es longest-running and most popular programs. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... James Langston Edmund Caan (born March 26, 1940), commonly known as James Caan, is an American Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated American film, stage and television actor. ... Lukas Haas (born Lucas D. Haas on April 16, 1976) is an American actor. ... Lisa Michelle Bonet (born November 16, 1967), known professionally as Lisa Bonet, is an American actress. ...


Title

The title is taken from the writings of Chuang Tzu—specifically a passage from Book XXIII, paragraph 7, quoted as an epigraph to Chapter 3 of the novel: thumb|Zhuang Zi by Japan Zhuāng Zǐ (pinyin), Chuang Tzu (W-G), or Chuang Tse (Chinese 莊子, literally meaning Master Zhuang) was a famous philosopher in ancient China who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of... In literature, an epigraph is a quotation that is placed at the start of a work or section that expresses in some succinct way an aspect or theme of what is to follow. ...

To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.

Other epigrams from Chuang Tzu appear throughout the novel. The translator is uncredited, and may be Le Guin herself; she has published her own translations of another Taoist writer, Lao Tzu. Not to be confused with Lath, a thin piece of wood. ... Lao Zi (also spelled Laozi, Lao Tzu, or Lao Tse) was a famous Chinese philosopher who is believed to have lived in approximately the 4th century BC, during the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Periods. ...


Translated editions have titled the novel differently. The German title, Die Geißel des Himmels, means literally "the scourge [or whip] of heaven". The French and Swedish titles, L'autre côté du rêve and På andra sidan drömmen, translate as "the other side of the dream".


Trivia

The 2003 film The Butterfly Effect has a somewhat similar premise, in which the lead character discovers that he has the ability to change the present world by entering a trance-like state and focusing on key moments in his past. The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American sci-fi/drama movie starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, and others, distributed by New Line Cinema. ...


Release details

Modern book cover from Harper Academic
Modern book cover from Harper Academic
Serialized
Editions in English
  • 1971, US, Charles Scribner's Sons, ISBN 0-684-12529-3, hardcover
  • 1971, US, Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-43547-0, paperback
  • 1972, UK, Victor Gollancz, ISBN 0-575-01385-0, hardcover
  • 1984, US, Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-01320-7, paperback (reprinted 1989)
  • 1984, UK, Granada Publishing, ISBN 0-586-03841-8, paperback
  • 1997, US, Avon Books, ISBN 0-380-79185-4, trade paperback
  • 2001, US, Millennium Books, ISBN 1-85798-951-1, paperback
Audio recording in English
  • 1999, US, Blackstone Audio Books, ISBN 0-7861-1471-1
Translations
  • 1971, France: L'autre côté du rêve, Marabout; reprinted in 2002 by Le Livre de Poche, ISBN 2-253-07243-5
  • 1979, Sweden: På Andra Sidan Drömmen, Kindbergs Förlag, ISBN 91-85668-01-X
  • 1991, Finland: Taivaan työkalu, Book Studio, ISBN 951-611-408-3
  • 1992, Hungary: Égi eszterga, Móra, ISBN 963-11-6867-0
  • 2006, Germany: Die Geißel des Himmels, Edition Phantasia, ISBN 3-937897-16-X

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x648, 119 KB)source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x648, 119 KB)source: http://www. ... Amazing Stories magazine, sometimes retitled Amazing Science Fiction, began in April 1926, becoming the first science fiction magazine and one of the pioneers of science fiction in the United States. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Lathe of Heaven - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (829 words)
The Lathe of Heaven is a 1971 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin.
The rights issue was solved by replacing the original Beatles tune with a cover version of the same song.
A second adaptation, retitled Lathe of Heaven, was produced for the AandE network in 2002 and directed by Philip Haas.
Study Guide > The Lathe of Heaven (1497 words)
No, the endearing quality of The Lathe of Heaven was in the story, which remained faithful to that of the original novel.
In The Lathe of Heaven, Le Guin has exaggerated the ability of man to reshape his environment, yet the underlying principle still remains the same—we must temper our desire to reshape the world with caution and a full understanding of […] the possible ramifications […].
The Lathe of Heaven debuted some twenty years ago, and remained one of the best-kept secrets in the history of science fiction filmmaking—that is, until recently.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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