The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: An emissary arrives on a planet called Winter, where the people are strangely unisexual. That is, they’re asexual until a certain time of the month, when they turn one gender or the other and, er, go into heat, as it were. This is the story of the emissary, who is a human man, as he attempts to convince the people of Winter to join the federation of human worlds. Winter, as its name suggests, is in the middle of a vast ice age. Like many classic SF tales, this is far more about the concept than the plot, but what a concept! The questions it raises regarding gender identity and its effects on society are legion. I wouldn’t say so much that I enjoyed it, but I did find it very interesting. Had the characters been a touch more compelling, it would have been un-put-downable.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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  1. I really loved The Left Hand of Darkness when I read it several years ago. Most of Le Guin’s stuff is great IMO, a major exception being the fifth book of the Earthsea series (way too much an effort in tidying up loose ends). Which was too bad, because I loved the others and the collection of short stories.

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