Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

Science Fiction

The Science Fiction Book club at the Bella Vista, AR library chose The Left Hand of Darkness as our book for March.

The story sparked a lively discussion. Set on the planet Winter, Left Hand of Darkness features humans who have been genetically altered. A small part of that alteration is an increased tolerance to cold. The most important part of that alteration is the removal of two distinct sexes. Most of the time the people of Winter, called Gethenians, are sexless but once a month the go into heat and can become either male or female. The following quote highlights some of the discussion posibilities.

“There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protected/protective. One is respected and judged only as a human being. You cannot cast a Gethenians in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards “him” a corresponding role dependent on you expectations of the interaction between persons of the same or opposite sex. It is an appalling experience for a Terran...”

I highly recommend The Left Hand of Darkness to any book club. The discussion possibilities are multiple and we did not even scratch the surface during our one-hour meeting. After reading the book I can see why it won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best Science Fiction novel of the year.

ACE published The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin in 1969. The current edition ( which is also the 40th anniversity edition) was published by Little Brown Book Group.

I checked The Left Hand of Darkness out from the Rogers Public Library.

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