BOOK REVIEW | The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

BOOK REVIEW | The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) by Ursula K. Le Guin
Review by Mark David Major

(Book blurb begins) 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 gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing 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. (Book blurb ends)

The phrase that comes to mind about The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) by Ursula K. Le Guin is wonderfully different, especially for a genre like science fiction. Le Guin’s writing style is more akin to the lyrical qualities of Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles with an harder anthropological edge. The story itself is as fascinating as the premise (e.g. a harsh frozen planet where humans lack gender distinctions). Definitely warrants its place on many lists of “must read sci-fi/fantasy books.” Mark’s Grade:

The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Paperback, English, 304 pages
Originally published in 1969 (Ace Books Edition, 1987)
ISBN-10: 0441478123
ISBN-13: 978-0441478125

You can purchase The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin on Amazon here.


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