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If there were a canon of classic science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness would be included without debate. Certainly, no science fiction bookshelf may be said to be complete without it. But the real question: is it fun to read? It is science fiction of an earlier time, a time that has not worn particularly well in the genre. The Left Hand of Darkness was a groundbreaking book in 1969, a time when, like the rest of the arts, science fiction was awakening to new dimensions in both society and literature. But the first excursions out of the pulp tradition are sometimes difficult to reread with much enjoyment. Rereading The Left Hand of Darkness, decades after its publication, one feels that those who chose it for the Hugo and Nebula awards were right to do so, for it truly does stand out as one of the great books of that era. It is immensely rich in timeless wisdom and insight.
The Left Hand of Darkness is science fiction for the thinking reader, and should be read attentively in order to properly savor the depth of insight and the subtleties of plot and character. It is one of those pleasures that requires a little investment at the beginning, but pays back tenfold with the joy of raw imagination that resonates through the subsequent 30 years of science fiction storytelling. Not only is the bookshelf incomplete without owning it, so is the reader without having read it. --L. Blunt Jackson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
“A jewel of a story.”—Frank Herbert
“As profuse and original in invention as The Lord of the Rings.”—Michael Moorcock
“An instant classic.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Like all great writers of fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin creates imaginary worlds that restore us, hearts eased, to our own.”—The Boston Globe
“Stellar…A triumphant return to the magic-drenched world of Earthsea…Le Guin is still at the height of her powers, a superb stylist with a knack for creating characters who are both wise and deeply humane. A major event in fantasy literature.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Richly told…Le Guin hasn’t lost her touch. She draws us into the magical land and its inhabitants’ doings immediately.”—Booklist
The Left Hand of Darkness contains my current favourite sentence. It would take me a paragraph to ploddingly write what Ms. Read morePublished 2 months ago by L D. Sword
On the writing style itself: Pretty basic and standard. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to write home about either. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Anastasia
Subtle plotline, great character, wonderful writing. This is the first of Ursula's books I have read and I am certain it will not be the last.Published 24 months ago by Al. Mo.
The protagonist is a human envoy sent to a planet of hermaphrodites to invite them to join galactic civilisation. Read morePublished on April 18 2007 by Greg Slade
I first read this book over 30 years ago, and 2 worn out copies later, have lost count of the number of times I've re-read it. Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by Jax
I had been meaning for some time to read Le Guin, and picked this book as a starter. It did not live up to my expectations.
Let me start with the good. Read more
In her introduction, the author makes some compelling statements about the nature of science fiction as descriptive and not predictive. Read morePublished on May 19 2004 by Nicholas Jong
I was just forced to read this book for a class. It was assigned under the false pretenses that my classmates and I would take away some kind of meaning from it about notions of... Read morePublished on March 11 2004
With a few exceptions, I don't usually enjoy the usual science fiction books. But this one is different. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2004 by N. Berman