Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the eight of hearts.
Story: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Comments: A few years ago I tried to read a book by this author (I forget which one), and could make neither head nor tail of it. I gave up after trying the first ten pages three times. I’m just not into science fiction. So this short story would never have made its way onto my to-read list except that I decided to accept all ten stories in Flavourwire’s “10 Wonderful Short Stories to Read For Free Online” without exception. Undoubtedly if I had permitted myself to jettison any of the stories, this would have been the first one to go. And with wonderful irony, it comes out as the first card dealt to me!
And what do you know? This is not science fiction, this is philosophy. This is a laying-out of some of the fundamental questions about life, and about good and evil, that can be posed. Can we justify the inhumane treatment of one person in order to guarantee the happiness of the majority? Can there be a truly good world without malice and evil? Does walking away from an unjust system actually lead to anything positive? And a host of variations on these themes.
This story is one I will muse on again and again, I believe. And ultimately there will be no “right” answers.
I’m glad I read it – though it does not make me want to try any longer work of Le Guin for the moment!