Zadie Smith is writing a science fiction novel inspired by Le Guin

Illustration for article titled Zadie Smith is writing a science fiction novel inspired by Le Guin

This might be the best news in months. Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and NW, says she's writing a science fiction novel. She even describes it as a "romp." And she cites Ursula K. Le Guin as one of the book's major influences.


Talking to the London Evening Standard, Smith says she's been reading a lot of Le Guin, and she's writing her first ever science fiction book. She adds:

It’s a concept novel. It’s the only novel I’ve ever written that has a plot, which is thrilling. I don’t know if I can do it. Those books are incredibly hard to write.

Also, Smith has some words of wisdom for those writers who think of themselves as a "brand" and only try to write the same sort of book over and over again:

Unless you consider yourself some sort of human brand, which I don’t, you have to deal with the fact that different people are going to like different aspects of your work. It’s not consistent. I am not consistent. But I feel OK with that. When I was young I felt I had to please everybody all the time, which is impossible as a writer. You shouldn’t even attempt it.

[Evening Standard]



No doubt we'll get into all these literary-author-playing-in-our-playground and she's-using-tropes-that-were-invented-fifty-years-ago-and-acting-like-they're-new arguments that we usually do. Which is fine. Some of those arguments lead to interesting conclusions. I just hope she understand that about two hundred novels every year are inspired by reading Ursula Le Guin in some way or another.

Still: cautiously optimistic.