Cover of: The Left Hand of Darkness | Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness

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Published by Ace Trade in New York, USA .
Written in English

About the Book

Comment by Kim Stanley Robinson, on The Guardian's website:
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin (1969)

One of my favorite novels is The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin. For more than 40 years I've been recommending this book to people who want to try science fiction for the first time, and it still serves very well for that. One of the things I like about it is how clearly it demonstrates that science fiction can have not only the usual virtues and pleasures of the novel, but also the startling and transformative power of the thought experiment.

In this case, the thought experiment is quickly revealed: "The king was pregnant," the book tells us early on, and after that we learn more and more about this planet named Winter, stuck in an ice age, where the humans are most of the time neither male nor female, but with the potential to become either. The man from Earth investigating this situation has a lot to learn, and so do we; and we learn it in the course of a thrilling adventure story, including a great "crossing of the ice". Le Guin's language is clear and clean, and has within it both the anthropological mindset of her father Alfred Kroeber, and the poetry of stories as magical things that her mother Theodora Kroeber found in native American tales. This worldly wisdom applied to the romance of other planets, and to human nature at its deepest, is Le Guin's particular gift to us, and something science fiction will always be proud of. Try it and see – you will never think about people in quite the same way again.

First Sentence

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi
1. A Parade in Erhenrang 1
2. The Place Inside the Blizzard 21
3. The Mad King 27
4. The Nineteenth Day 43
5. The Domestication of Hunch 47
6. One Way into Orgorein 71
7. The Question of Sex 89
8. Another Way into Orgoreyn 97
9. Estraven the Traitor 123
10. Conversations in Mishnory 129
11. Soliloquies in Mishnory 147
12. On Time and Darkness 161
13. Down on the Farm 165
14. The Escape 185
15. To the Ice 201
16. Between Drumner and Dremegole 221
17. An Orgota Creation Myth 237
18. On the Ice 241
19. Homecoming 263
20. A Fool's Errand 285
The Gethenian Calendar and Clock 301

Edition Notes

Copyright Date

The Physical Object

xvi, 304 p.
Number of pages
21.1 x 13.4 x 2.0 centimeters
280 grams

ID Numbers

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October 8, 2010 Edited by Brant Gibbard Place of publication, table of contents, pagination, dimensions, weight
August 6, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
April 24, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Fixed duplicate goodreads IDs.
April 16, 2010 Edited by bgimpertBot Added goodreads ID.
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from record.