Why had people bothered to build a bridge when there were boats and flyers to ride?

The quote is from Ursula K Le Guin, ” A Man of the People”, the third of four novellas that comprise Four Ways to Forgiveness.

Having sketched this quickly, I now see her iconic bridge is different in scale, described as enormous, reaching far above a landscape of tidal pools inhabited by myriad wading birds, descended originally from those brought from Earth.

It is old, maybe a million years.   So, I guess, it was built across a long-changed landscape, and likely by machines and labour controlled by strident imperialists, alien to the contemporary pueblo-dwellers with production divided by gender, lineage and tradition.

11 responses to “Why had people bothered to build a bridge when there were boats and flyers to ride?

    • She has written so much more. Try the book I mentioned. I saw on the internet she added a fifth novella, which I’ve not read. You’ll see why I recommend it, I think, when you do. She died recently. I have been rereading her canon. More drawings to come, when I get a chance.

      • Also her really old stuff. The Left Hand of Darkness has been interpreted as feminist fiction in its exploration of gender and sex. I reread the forward to the current edition and see she accepted feminist critique at the time that she was not brave enough. But I read it decades after she wrote it and I still think it stands out as a revolutionary book.

  1. What a wonderful idea to sketch these fantastic landscapes. I’ve been reading and re-reading Ursula K. Le Guin lately too. ‘The Dispossessed’ and ‘City of Illusions’ have me reaching for more of her work and the Four Ways to Forgiveness stories are definitely on the list. I look forward to more of your inspired landscapes.

    • Her work is definitely worth reading. The Dispossessed is a great book. I have not read City of Illusions. My first visit to her universe, many years ago, was through Rocannons World, which felt like a twist of a fairy tale. The Left Hand of Darkness offers, one might say, a new perspective on gender.

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