Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
©1969 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2016 Recorded Books
So, this is one of those sci-fi books everyone should read. It's the second I've read in the Hainish Cycle but they aren't really a series just seemingly,ever so loosely, very loosely connected, at least for the two I've read so far. But they are both fantastic reads (the other I have read is The Dispossessed which is equally good but totally different.
The Left Hand of Darkness is a story of first contact, not in the traditional science fiction "first aliens to show up on earth" sort of way, but with the first humans making contact with another very distance planet and its peoples sort of way.
The planet alone is so different from what we are used to and the people are so very different in the way they think and live (not really different much physically or in the sorts of jobs they do and what not).
While reading this book, you'll be thinking on deep questions, some of which might be very timely these days, including,
- What is gender?
- What is patriotism?
- What is cold?
- What is monarchy?
The subject of refugees comes up a few times and it made me think even more about the current refugee situation we have here on earth. The subject of patriotism is mentioned several times and requires the reader to reflect on what this really is and how it shapes us.
This book was published before my fifth birthday and I am now over fifty, yet the themes feel like they fit right into many of society's current conundrums. Of course, some themes are clearly universal.
Have I mentioned that it is beautifully written? I actually listened to this as an audiobook from Audible and the narrator, George Guildall, is excellent.
If you have any interest at all in the human condition, in the interaction between people, and in deeper intertwined themes of diplomacy, refugees, patriotism, and brotherhood, then you should read this book. If you are breathing, then you should read this book or listen to the audiobook.
I'm at the point where I can't get enough of Ursula Le Guin. I love science fiction, but grow tired of the militaristic stories that are so common. I'm still looking but I have a hard time finding an author that captures the human experience like she does, and many of the interactions could be people living on earth from different cultures. The setting of an alien going to make contact with a new world is important, but only adds to the universality of the story. Le Guin also explores gender and sexuality unlike anyone. I can just feel my mind expanding through her work. Unfortunately I have mostly only read her audio books, but my goal in this life is to read every work she has written. For now I will just relisten to the books I've read more than 10 years ago.
This book addresses the yin and yang of patriotism vs globalism, male vs female, communism vs monarchy, light vs dark, trust vs distrust, love vs hate and many more dichotomies. Ursula Le Guin creates a distant world of androgynous people living in a frozen world. The tale unfolds through the growth of the relationship between two alien people who learn to love and trust each other in dire circumstances. Rich and engaging, this story that I've read and reread many times, is my favorite story of all time.
"awful audio performance"
A good story ruined by an awful audio performance. The reader has a very odd, heavy voice which saturates all 's' and 'r' sounds, making it very difficult to understand what he's saying. I gave up in frustration.
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