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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
And contrary to many other critics - I do think it is a good read as well!
At the same time, the story and characters are fully involving, with the book's themes enriching rather than dulling the reader's experience.
This book has all of the elements of great fiction: Story, Idea, Characters, excellent Prose.
When I found out about this book, I was really excited about it, as it seemed tailor made for my current reading interests. Read morePublished 21 hours ago by alrigby24
Decent story, but poorly executed and painful to read. It's almost like Le Guin is daring you to try to make it to the end.Published 8 days ago by Aaron J.
Re-reading The Left Hand of Darkness, I realized how little I remembered it. I'd first read it many years ago and, frankly, I was a different person then. Read morePublished 16 days ago by hrladyship
I haven't read hardly any Sci Fi, and if this is any indication of what they are like, then I will NOT be reading any more Sci Fi. Read morePublished 18 days ago by David E. Barton
A terrific read. Le Guin is a must read for any sci-fi/fantasy fan and this book is one of those that should be in your list. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Sönke
Great book. Great writer. Came in two days.
I love Le Guin and this book was more than just about gender issues and ambiguity and if its a needed concept. Read more
In the first two chapters I had a hard time imagining all this stuff that was completely different from this world but after that, I found this book quite interesting.Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
Could NOT get into this book; couldn't get it out of the house soon enough.Published 1 month ago by sarah bartlett
Made me cry more, I think, than any book before, when Estaven dies so suddenly and awfully, to the point where I couldn't read through the tears.Published 2 months ago by Hugo Hamilton