Quick nerd admission. I collect stamps — a habit I picked up from my uncle, who bought me a gorgeous German-made Israeli album when I was 16. I’ve sort of slacked off during the last decade, but every once and a while I’ve thought, why not dump the Norwegian, Chinese and Greek collections (Hell, why not, truly. When am I going to find a better time to stick my nose back into an album) and curate an SF thematic collection? The idea recurred today when I became aware that the much belittled United States Postage Service, for which we hope better things, will be issuing a forever stamp later in the year featuring Ursula K. LeGuin against the backdrop of sexual hermaphrodite Genli Ai escaping a Gethenian prison camp in The Left Hand of Darkness (1969).
Other notable works include her Earthsea series (1968-), poetry and stories inspired by her father’s work as a cultural anthropologist in the Pacific Northwest, and literary criticism. LeGuin, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 88, and who was recently the subject of a crowdfunded 2019 PBS documentary, Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin, was perhaps best known for her novel The Dispossessed (1974). Her 1971 novel The Lathe of Heaven was adapted for film twice. The stamp is the 33rd in the USPS’s Literary Arts series (which has included F. Scott Fitzgerald (1996), Mark Twain (2011), and Walt Whitman (2019), and one of several SF/F-related stamps, including a Star Wars stamp in 2014 and one celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek in 2016. The postal service had planned to release a series of five stamps honoring American SF writers in 2013, but backtracked.