Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin  304 pp.

First published in 1987 and a winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, this novel was way ahead of its time on the subject of gender. Gently Ai is sent to the planet Winter as an ambassador of a "Star Trek Federation of Planets" type intergalactic organization. What he finds is a world where the inhabitants have no gender until the time for mating occurs when they temporarily become either male or female. To the people of Winter, the full time maleness of Ai is a perversion. As on our world, there are regional divisions and hostilities between them. This isn't a book of flashy action, but rather one requiring contemplation of the subject matter. I read this book years ago and decided to reread it after hearing of the death of the author.

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