Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Ursula K Le Guin


In The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, visionary author Ursula K. Le Guin tells the story of human origin by redefining technology as a cultural carrier bag rather than a weapon of domination. Hacking the linear, progressive mode of the Techno-Heroic, the Carrier Bag Theory of human evolution proposes: “before the tool that forces energy outward, we made the tool that brings energy home.” Prior to the preeminence of sticks, swords and the Hero’s killing tools, our ancestors’ greatest invention was the container: the basket of wild oats, the medicine bundle, the net made of your own hair, the home, the shrine, the place that contains whatever is sacred. The recipient, the holder, the story. The bag of stars.

This influential essay opens a portal to terra ignota, where the possibilities of human experience and knowledge can be discovered anew. With an introduction by Donna Haraway; images by Lee Bul.

Paperback, 48pp
Ignota Books, 2019 (1986)
ISBN 9781999675998