Today is a sad day for the field of fantasy - legendary author Ursula K. Le Guin has passed away at age 88.
Le Guin has a staggering bibliography, with novels, novellas, short stories...you name it, in various areas of fiction. However, I think it safe to say that she is best known for her Earthsea books.
In publication order (novels and short stories), they are:
~ The Word of Unbinding (1964)
~ The Rule of Names (1964)
~ A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
~ The Tombs of Atuan (1971)
~ The Farthest Shore (1972)
~ Tehanu (1990)
~ The Other Wind (2001)
~ Tales From Earthsea (2003 for the collected edition under that title) - It contains the novella "The Finder," and the short stories "The Bones of the Earth," "Darkrose and Diamond," "On the High Marsh," and "Dragonfly." Concluding with with an account of Earthsea's history, people, languages, literature, and magic.
~ The Daughter of Odren (2014)
It was initially a trilogy, then a quartet...and it kept going from there. As you saw from the publication dates, this year marks the first book's 50th anniversary. I must confess I have not read the books - yet. There's no better time for me, now that it's celebrating it's 50th anniversary, and to honor the author.
So I will read all Earthsea material by the end of 2018.
Tolkien has greatly inspired her. However, not in the usual sense (Shannara, The Wheel of Time, etc...) more so in that Tolkien opened the doors to her to what can be done in fantasy. The world isn't the typical fantasy setting. She doesn't adhere to the usual fantasy tropes. Indeed, her Earth material is vastly different from usual fantasy, or what one would think of.
I look forward to reading Earthsea. It was something I had been hoping to do in 2018, due to the fact that the first novel turns 50th this year. Le Guin's passing, however, cements my plans.
Here is the blurb for the first novel:
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.