MPauline, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by MPauline)
Love Le Guin's idea of humankind, of empathy, intimacy, curiosity - "the other worlds among the stars--the other kinds of men, the other lives."
Katherine Stuart, November 20, 2008 (view all comments by Katherine Stuart)
A beautiful example of the flexibility of Le Guin’s writing with parts of it being official reports, parts of it a record of a people’s myths, and parts excerpts from a person’s diary. She accomplishes the study of gender that Heinlein so clumsily failed at in I Will Fear No Evil. And she does it so well. How does a man live among and relate to a people who have no true gender? Le Guin proceeds to answer this and she also, in a way no one has ever done before, shows me the true bias and danger of using the male pronoun as the gender neutral pronoun – the way Gentry Ai so effectively silences the feminine.
It’s stunning, brutal and bittersweet. A friend of mine says it belongs in the best 50 books ever written in the English language. I’m inclined to agree.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
ACE Charter -
by Frank Herbert,
"A jewel of a story."
"A science fiction masterpiece."
by Boston Globe,
"Like all great writers of fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin creates imaginary worlds that restore us, hearts eased, to our own."
by Michael Moorcock,
"As profuse and original in invention as The Lord of the Rings"
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"An instant classic."
When The Left Hand of Darkness first appeared in 1969, the original jacket copy read, "Once in a long while a whole new world is created for us. Such worlds are Middle Earth, Dune—and such a world is Winter." Twenty-five years and a Hugo and Nebula Award later, these words remain true. In Winter, or Gethen, Ursula K. Le Guin has created a fully realized planet and people. But Gethen society is more than merely a fascinating creation. The concept of a society existing totally without sexual prejudices is even more relevant today than it was in 1969. This special 25th anniversary edition of The Left Hand of Darkness contains not only the complete, unaltered text of the landmark original but also a thought-provoking new afterword and four new appendixes by Ms. Le Guin.
When the human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethen, the planet known as Winter by those outsiders who have experienced its arctic climate, he thinks that his mission will be a standard one of making peace between warring factions. Instead the ambassador finds himself wildly unprepared. For Gethen is inhabited by a society with a rich, ancient culture full of strange beauty and deadly intrigue—a society of people who are both male and female in one, and neither. This lack of fixed gender, and the resulting lack of gender-based discrimination, is the very cornerstone of Gethen life. But Genly is all too human. Unless he can overcome his ingrained prejudices about the significance of "male" and "female," he may destroy both his mission and himself.
Ursula K. Le Guin's award-winning, groundbreaking science fiction classic takes us to the world of Winter, and introduces us to its inhabitants, the Gethenians-whose society is not based on gender roles.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.