The Left Hand of Darkness review À 9

review The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness review À 9 ↠ 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 choose and change their gender His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization But to do so he must bridge the gulL 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 e. “If civilization has an opposite it is war”In the nascent days of summer I read a book that I can’t stop thinking about and can’t stop recommending I’m stirring from my Goodreads silence to tell you about this book Left Hand of Darkness by the late Ursula K Le Guin Written in 1969 and the winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards this book is just as relevant and important today as it was when it first hit the shelves Left Hand of Darkness is a gorgeous sci fi novel of political intrigue heroism and humanity that works like an anthropological study complete with folktales and history as Le Guin creates a uniue society enabling her to take a probing look at gender roles religion and bureaucracy and their configurations in oppression and nationalism Left Hand of Darkness is a philosophical and anthropological treat in which Le Guin deftly creates social political and religious layers to examine a fascinating new world on the brink of war Set in a distant future Left Hand of Darkness is another tale in Le Guin’s universe of the Ekumen an 83 planet union with slight governing laws designed to increase communication and philosophy sharing throughout the universe in which Genly Ai is sent alone “ One alien is a curiosity two are an invasion” as an envoy to convince the planet Gethen to join the union His arrival alarms the Kardish King who fears acknowledgement of larger universal societies as a threat to his might and power and intrigues the king’s rival nation who consider how Genly can be used as a political pawn Throughout the novel the understanding of a new world is most succinctly conveyed in the growing friendship between Genly and Estraven a man cast out as a traitor The book itself is a collection of Genly's journal while on Gethen along with Gethen tales and history intermixed “ I'll make my report as if I told a story for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination” Genly writes at the start He reminds the reader that this not his story alone “ nor told by me aloneand if at moments the facts seem to alter with an altered voice why then you can choose the fact you like best; yet none of them is false and it is all one story” Le Guin creates not only a fantastic textured reality of civilization but also a uniue lexicon with which to explore her world Ideas such as kemmering and the social currency of shifgrethor vaguely meaning ‘prestige as well as the untranslatability of many of the Gethen terms is one of the novel’s purest joys as it reminds us that language is not only a means to communicate and commune but also a barrier without a one to one ratio that emphasizes the uniueness of cultures These terms point towards a deeper cultural significance that as the observer we can only fumble to understand While never confronted head on as in some of Le Guin’s other novels of Hannish colonization and the Ekumen such as The Word for World is Forest there is a subtle backhand at the ills of colonization and cultural oppression when one tries to conform the Other to meet their own standards or needs Speaking of culture one of Le Guin’s better points is her use of racial diversity in her works Genly Ai is a black man while the Gethenians are described as appearing m

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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 choose and change their gender His goa. I've become rather bitter with sci fi over the years as it used to be my favorite genre But you can only read so many space operas and pretentious near futures before it gets to you a littleAnd then you decide to give an author a go because of some weird research string you were on and it rekindles your love of why you started reading it in the first place LeGuin approaches sci fi as it should be; a thought experiment Instead of spending pages upon pages describing the minutiae of every aspect of the future she integrates snippets of mythology politics and does it in a way that you don't feel is droning on There are parts that aren't very action oriented at all and yet they don't drag I have no idea how she does it and am now rather enad with this authorAs for the book itself it approaches than the simple issue of gender; it's almost zen like with an exploration of a duality in a whole And the main character was the type a cranky sap like me could really relate to Best book I've read in a long while

Ursula K. Le Guin ã 9 summary

The Left Hand of DarknessNcountersEmbracing 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. The Challenge of SexSex is awkward no matter how you look at it arguably yet another design flaw in our species Solo sex is likely to be unsatisfying Straight sex is fraught with gendered miscommunication Gay sex presents serious reproductive issues Transgender sex is well complicated And all those don't even consider the morass of multiple simultaneous partners But Ursula lale Guin introduces a whole new level of awkwardness in her ambisexual humanoid aliens who shift gender monthly in response to their partners’ pheromones No one knows if they’re hitting on getting hit on until the touching startsThere are clear advantages of ambisexuality Sexual euality is a matter of course Since voluntary participation is necessary rape is impossible Everyone experiences the respective burdens of testosterone as well as child bearing Sexual jealousy and violence is eliminated And the Incel movement has no reason to exist Ambisexuality also probably reduces the propensity to war and the gender induced machismo of two sex societiesOn the other hand there are a few problems Gendered pronouns are out; but so is the neuter; the ambisexual are persons after all Family relationships are rather complex one’s father may be one’s sister’s mother for example not even Yiddish has words for this sort of relation Maternal and paternal genealogical lines can become indistinguishably mixed leading to some rather interesting inheritance issues Playing Mum off against Dad is unlikely to prove a winning childhood strategyGenerally ambisexual individuals are about as ethically psychologically and politically diverse as binaries even if a bit emotionally intelligent on the whole This seems to lead to less overt coercion but covert intrigue They tend to plot rather than hit each other And while machismo is absent a certain sort of complex politesse is essential for smooth social functioning Subtlety for its own sake is de rigeur and tends to slow down discussion and decision to a crawl In her Introduction lale Guin provides an interesting explanation about the contents of this story “Fiction writers” she says “at least in their braver moments do desire the truth to know it speak it serve it But they go about it in a peculiar and devious way which consists in inventing persons places and events which never did and never will exist or occur and telling about these fictions in detail and at length and with a great deal of emotion and then when they are done writing down this pack of lies they say There That's the truth”The truth lale Guin is referring to appears to be that while sex is an irresistible force that profoundly influences the institutional structure of a society it is not the determining factor of individual personality purpose or neuroses Society adapts to the reality of its members or should When it doesn’t by designating difference as perversion for example it fails in its function of creating peaceful flourishing within itself and between it and other societies Blessed are the peace makers after all especially the literate ones