The Left Hand of Darkness

(Hainish Cycle)

Paperback, 366 pages

English language

Published Sept. 16, 2010 by Ace Books.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

On the planet Winter, there is no gender. The Gethenians can become male or female during each mating cycle, and this is something that humans find incomprehensible.

The Ekumen of Known Worlds has sent an ethnologist to study the Gethenians on their forbidding, ice-bound world. At first he finds his subjects difficult and off-putting, with their elaborate social systems and alien minds. But in the course of a long journey across the ice, he reaches an understanding with one of the Gethenians — it might even be a kind of love

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Review of 'The Left Hand of Darkness' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I can see why this is a well-regarded book. Its strengths, like many classic science fiction novels, is in the setting, in the way alien ideas are presented in a way that reflects modern life today. This is a story of making an alien culture feel more human than our own. I was left wondering if a society like theirs could somehow improve upon the ills of our own world or if it would only make things worse. While I didn't care much for the slow plot and the cast of characters, I was impressed by the philosophical implications of their society and I'm sure it's the sort of thing I will think of for years to come.

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