The Left Hand of DarknessBook - 2000
Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction--winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants' gender is fluid. 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 strange, intriguing culture 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.
From Library Staff
This exploration of life on a cold but earth-like planet is revolutionary for its take on gender and androgyny.
BostonPL_JordanD Oct 14, 2017
Book discussion date: January 23, 2018. Sci-Fi. While a lone emissary to Winter tries to facilitate the planet's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization, he gets to know the locals who can choose - and change - their gender.
BostonPL_JordanD Aug 23, 2016
Androgynous gender. Sci-fi.
BostonPL_JordanD Aug 01, 2017
Intersex/Androgynous. Genly Ai is a lone emissary to the planet Winter, permanently in an ice age climate. His goal is to facilitate the planet's inclusion in an intergalactic civilization. However, he is not prepared to meet the planet's inhabitants who are androgynous most of the year, except ... Read More »
BostonPL_JordanD Jan 23, 2018
This book always gets me in the end. I’m not sure what to say about it. Most of this, until about the second half, is not something I would normally read. Yet, I’ve enjoyed it twice now.
Le Guin calls the Genethians androgynous, though I think I see them more as intersex, and somewhat similar... Read More »
From the critics
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It is a terrible thing, this kindess that human beings do not lose. Terrible, because when we are finally naked in the dark and cold, it is all we have. We who are so rich, so full of strength, we end up with that small change. We have nothing else to give.
A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound hurt.
How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That's a good thing, but one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession... Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.
I was alone, with a stranger, inside the walls of a dark palace, in a strange snow-changed city, in the heart of the Ice Age of an alien world.
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This book is speculative fiction, in a sort of sci-fi, outer space setting. What if there were a world where gender didn't exist because sex was not a personal quality...?: just an occasional relationship that two persons found themselves in. This is the world visited by human Genly Ai, a person from the pan-human society, who must determine if these humanoids are ready to be allied with other humans. Does it make a difference that that they don't understand binary humans? After 50 years, this is still one of my all-time favorite books. Yes, Ursula's writing sometimes demands that you pay attention and reflect on how small details make differences matter. Please do NOT start with David Mitchell's introduction; just jump into the adventure story. Read it and give thanks for the Author's breaking the barriers of the time.
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