For this weeks 2018 Ultimate Reading Challenge (as proclaimed in the title) I’ve dusted off one my novels and giving it a re-read. Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness will be my book challenge this week.
With her recent passing I will delve into on of my favourite books of hers. I was going to read the first book of the Earthsea series but then upon thinking about it I wouldn’t be able to stop at the first one. I was indeed sadden by the news of her death because she was a talented author whose stories were compelling and also she dealt with issues of the time and incorporated into the story.
The Left Hand of Darkness is part of the Hainish Cycle of stories and the main protagonist is Genly Ai, a terran, who is sent to Gethen (also known as Winter due to it being an ice plants) to persuade the people there to join with the federation.
There is romance, intrigue and political action in this novel that kept me interested. It’s one of the reasons why I kept the book and had made notes some time ago for a Traveller campaign that I had was thinking of running at one time.
The story is about Ai’s interaction with an alien culture and the inner workings of their society, about a genderless society and religion. Star Trek the Next Generation touched upon these themes in an episode where Riker and Soren, whose race was genderless, in the episode “The Outcast”. Soren after working closely with Riker had developed an emotional attachment to him.
The Left Hand of Darkness is a such a pretty excellent read and I’m glad that I got a chance to re-read it after a few decades sitting on my shelf. I’m sad that I had a challenge and her death to dust off the books though. And now that I’m finished this novel I got a hankering to find the other Hainish Cycle books to add to my collection now.