The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

This book seriously freaked me out. It is a reminder, as only a science fiction novel can be, of what a tenuous thing subjective reality is. I have never done acid, but based on the testimony of others I would say that this book resembles an acid trip in that it is both mind-altering and perhaps even permanently life-altering. It is also a reminder of what Einstein said, that science without religion is lame. Aside from that, it strikes me that most science fiction writers in the 1970’s had very dystopian visions of the future; the problems that were coming into public consciousness in those days…pollution, overpopulation, resource depletion, social disintegration…now seem slightly overblown, but they clearly weighed heavily on the minds of most thoughtful people. Yet the theme of this novel seems to be that such massive problems are not necessarily amenable to rational solution, and that trying to reorder the world on a grand scale proves disastrous. A real mind-bender.

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