The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin first appeared in Amazing Stories magazine in 1971. The title of the book, as well as some quotes placed in the beginning of every chapter, are taken from Chuang Tzu works. Others are taken from H. G. Wells, Victor Hugo, and others.
The work is created according to science fiction genre features and touches some important issues of that time. The first and most noticeable is the technical development and nuclear power. The author claims the probable troubles that may appear if power is used incorrectly. Another aspect is eugenics, that is criticized by the author. One can trace also a philosophical aspect in the story: positivist views and Taoist equanimity are concerned in questions of desires and destiny. Behaviorism and utilitarianism are touched and criticized through the system of characters and events as well. Literary critics say that the story is a tribute to Philip K. Dick, whose views influenced U. Le Guin.
The name George Orr may probably be the allusion to George Orwell and his novel “1984” in order to provide some comparison between their fiction worlds. This story won the Locus Award for Best Novel in 1972 and was filmed twice: in 1980 and 2002.