The Left Hand of DarknessBook - 2000
From Library Staff
A human ambassador is sent to an alien planet in an attempt to include the planet in a growing intergalactic civilization. When he finds all the inhabitants are gender fluid, he has to reconcile their culture with his own views of society.
Mindbending, intertwining narrative set in a total surveillance near-future. Gnomon is a long read that is worth the endurance it demands. -- Bryce
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
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.
SummaryAdd a Summary
The current plot summary is wrong.
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.
AgeAdd Age Suitability
There are no ages for this title yet.