As a person who learned a little Taoism growing up, I find the book a stunningly authentic and spot-on Taoist-themed story told in the sci-fi format. This story about a passive, ordinary, unheroic, most unlikely hero who is able to dream up reality and an aggressive, progress-minded, megalomanical psychologist who creates disasters for the world by trying to manipulate and control the former's dreams, is more poignant and relevant now than ever. Many accomplishments make this book an exceptional work, including the well-rounded and complex characters, the emotionally rich story, the fluid style, the clever premise. The most astounding success, however, is her precise understanding of the Taoist philosphy and then infusing it in a profoundly human story. After all, Taoism is an observation of the human condition. I have never seen it better illustrated in another story. Le Guin refrained from making the antagoist into a typical bad guy, a mad scientist out to destroy the world. His blindness to his own evil echos Graham Greene's "The Quiet American." The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The novel criticizes not science, but the arrogance of the Western culture, as the hand that leads the world to hell. It must be read as a fable, a reflection of what is really going on in the world, now, every day.