The uncomfortably gifted George Orr is desperately drugging himself to avoid sleep, because he knows his dreams can change the world. Psychiatrist Dr Haber begins with good intentions of curing Orr, but when he finds he can shape Orr's "effective dreams" and force his own wishes into reality, the lure of power is too much. Though Haber believes he wants only to do good, he's also quick to upgrade himself from obscurity in a windowless office to Director of the prestigious Oregon Oneirological Institute.
During his flawed attempts to create an earthly paradise, we see that each sweeping change makes matters worse. Let's fix over-population: suddenly there's a new past in which humanity was almost destroyed by plague, billions of people are written out of existence, and Haber drinks a toast--"to a better world". Let's fix war: the hapless Orr's dreaming mind can only imagine and create a new threat that unites Earth against outside foes. Let's fix racism: the result is even more painful. As Orr broods:
The end justifies the means. But what if there never is an end? All we have is means.
In this mad round of poisoned wishes, it becomes necessary to stop. But power-crazed Haber refuses to stop....
Beautifully written, jolting in its moral force, The Lathe of Heaven is one of Le Guin's finest SF excursions. --David Langford
I just wanted to add my 5-stars for this interesting and enjoyable book. Odd at times yet totally engrossing, I'm so glad I read it!Published on 9 Jan. 2013 by R. Murphy
Le Guin continues her fascination with the principles of Taoism in this enchanting and entertaining book which can perhaps be summed up as the road to Hell being paved with good... Read morePublished on 29 Nov. 2012 by Pensato
I had forgotten how much fun it is to read a book and come out with wave after wave of analysis until I read the Lathe of Heaven. Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2012 by Miss N. Doshi
This is an absolutely beautiful and moving novel, a genuine literary classic, in which Ursula K LeGuin explores the relationship between personal identity and external structure. Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2011 by David Austin
This story tells of an individual who is able to alter the world through dreaming. The psychological stress involved leads him to try to prevent this by the use of drugs which... Read morePublished on 4 Jan. 2011 by John M
This book really made me think of The Cosmic Puppets (Gollancz S.F.) and Time Out Of Joint (S.F. Masterworks) while reading it and I think comparison is apt. Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2010 by Lark
Another reviewer suggested this one to me from an enthusiastic mention about Le Guin's writing in one of the Vine Fora (thankyou Diziet)
However............... Read more
Not a bad effort from Le Guin but not her best. This won a hugo or a nebula (I forget) which was probably fair for the time of publication. Read morePublished on 22 Dec. 2009 by L. Bentley