Study Guide

The Lathe of Heaven Chapter 9

By Ursula K. LeGuin

Chapter 9

  • Things aren't going so well for George. It seems like Haber is using his dreams to change the world in even more dramatic ways. Before, the world always had some kind of general continuity; now it seems like that has been lost.
  • Instead of being a draftsman, George has become a bureaucrat. Portland has become the capital of the planet, in some kind of global U.N.-like organization, and Heather Lelache doesn't even exist. That's because everyone is gray now (like, literally gray), and as George so helpfully pointed out earlier, Heather is brown.
  • Meanwhile, guess who runs basically the whole world? Dr. Haber. Sounds like a reality you want to live in, right?
  • Things get even better when we realize that the world has gone back to watching people kill one another by the hundreds as a sport instead of waging war. That's better, we guess?
  • It's time for George's appointment, so he walks to the HURAD Tower, which is bigger than anything in the whole area. It's Dr. Haber's new office, which is basically palatial now.
  • Dr. Haber is such a big shot now that he almost doesn't even seem to be concerned about George. He shares the news that George is perfectly in the middle of every single test that they perform on his brain.
  • Dr. Haber also reveals that he has a new plan for today's appointment. Instead of sleeping, George will be hooked up to the Augmentor while he's awake.
  • Understandably, George is a little concerned.
  • Dr. Haber wants to record George's brainwaves so that he can figure out how they work. But George is anxious. What will Dr. Haber do with that information?
  • The two have a long argument, with both sides trying to argue why they should and shouldn't change the world—but of course Dr. Haber wins.
  • Something weird happens when Dr. Haber uses the Augmentor this time. Instead of having a dream, George visualizes one of the aliens.
  • The magical dream alien tells George to use the phrase er' perrehnne in order to get help with his dreaming.
  • George doesn't have many other options, so why not?
  • The phrase works: George's well-being is restored.
  • George decides that he's not going to let Haber use him anymore. He stands up to him.
  • Dr. Haber says that he's on the verge of a breakthrough, and soon he'll be able to use the Augmentor to make anyone dream effective dreams.
  • The dudes argue again. George says that things just keep getting worse and worse, but Dr. Haber sees it all as an improvement. After all, they did end overpopulation, pollution, racism, and war, right? RIGHT?
  • The chapter ends with a speech by Dr. Haber about becoming godlike. It's creepy. Real creepy.