The Diary of the Rose

Ursula K. Le Guin
The Diary of the Rose Cover

The Diary of the Rose


An intense tale of the power of human connection.

A tale of the desolation of utter hopelessness, and of the redemptive possibility of hope.

A reminder that, however much progress we seem to be making towards the ideals of a just society - there are still authoritarian regimes. You don't have to posit a dystopia to discover such a society - just open the newspaper, listen to the radio (e.g.,CBC), watch CNN.

This is one of the few Le Guin stories that features an invention. (On the other hand, I suppose that the ansible - for instantaneous communiction across galactic distances - was another of her inventions, and it is crucial to the plot of many of her novels and stories).

I have read this story aloud to friends as an example of just how incredibly moving science fiction can be. I have never once gotten through it without breaking down.

I don't know why the genre is listed as "Fantasy". It has never once occurred to me that this story is anything other than straight Science Fiction. I would be interested in hearing what, if any, justification there is for considering it fantasy.

My rating system: I begin with one star being equivalent to a rating of "C -". Progressing upwards, I add ½ star for each step, up to the maximum 5 stars, which is equivalent to a rating of "A"+. I reserve ½ star for BOMBS, there being no option of zero or negative stars.