Book a Week – Sci Fi!

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursala Le GuinThe beginning of a New Year saw me vowing to get back to reading yet again.  Last year was a rather dismal showing for me when it came to reading.  I started out strong at the beginning of the year, but then just fizzled out.  I definitely need a list of books to read and I want to broaden the base of books that I pull from.  With that in mind, I finished a book last week from the Science Fiction genre (I can’t tell you the last time that I picked up a book from that area of my library).

Ursala Le Guin’s works peaked my interest when people on an e-mail list I suscribe to started commenting that J.K.Rowling took a lot of material from Le Guin.  For some reason Rowling became a huge hit and Le Guin never received that amount of fame.  I went looking for Le Guin’s Earthsea series, but my library didn’t have the first one available.  Another kind person on The Well-Trained Mind boards informed me that one of Le Guin’s most acclaimed novels was The Left Hand of Darkness and my library did have that one available.  And that is the story of how I chose this book.

The Left Hand of Darkness is a tale of a lone emissary sent to the planet Winter (it’s always brutally cold on this planet) who is trying to convince the governments on Winter to become part of an intergalatic civilization.  The story is mostly about how he muddles through learning how to work with a different culture, accepting others that are quite unlike ourselves, and how governmental groups react to a fantastical story (aliens want us to join an intergalatic organization?!?).

It was a very fast read for me since it was an engrossing 300 page work.  There are musings on what sexuality means since the inhabitants of Winter are hermaphrodites.  Other than that, this would make an interesting book to discuss with a teen.

My favorite quote from the book: “…the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question.”


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