image: Wikimedia commons (link).
I was saddened to learn today that author Ursula Kroeber Le Guin has crossed.
She was born in 1929 and grew up in Berkeley, California.
One of my professors in graduate school considered her a mentor and friend.
He introduced me to an important teaching from Ursula Le Guin regarding the "thought experiment" of fiction writing (as well as of theoretical physics including quantum physics):
The purpose of a thought-experiment, as the term was used by Schrodinger and other physicists, is not to predict the future -- indeed Schrodinger's most famous thought-experiment shows that the "future," on the quantum level, cannot be predicted -- but to describe reality, the present world.
Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.
From her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness (1987).
I discussed this important quotation in a blog post from 2014, here (one which may be even more appropriate today than when it was written then).
I would recommend taking the time to read the work of Ursula Le Guin in the coming days and months, and to pause from time to time to think of the above quotation, and to contemplate what she might be describing in our present world in her thought experiments about other "imaginary" worlds -- and then to ask what realities her work might be urging us to perceive, realities to which we might have remained asleep or oblivious without the help of her prophetic writing.