There was no introduction to the original 1969 version of the book, but Ursula Le Guin wrote one for the 1976 edition after reflecting on her work. In her introduction, she defines the nature and purpose of science-fiction writing, and also describes her intent in writing the novel. She insists that science-fiction writing is not "extrapolative," but rather, it is describing an overarching truth that the author reveals in an often complex and ambiguous way. In addition, she generalizes the purpose of novels by saying that good novels are meant to change the reader in an indescribable way after they have completed reading the book. She then progresses to broadly state that the entire fictional genre is a metaphor, but narrows her emphasis by stating that the future especially (in fictional writing) cannot be described in any other way than metaphorical terms.
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