The Left Hand of Darkness Author:Ursula K. LeGuin Once in a long while a whole new world is created for us. Such worlds are Middle Earth, Dune - and such a world is Winter, the setting for THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. — Winter is a backward world, primitive by the standards of its time, long cut off from the mainstream of human progress and evolution. Its inhabitants are human except for one thing... more »: they are all of the same sex. Ambisexual, changing under stress of emotion or environment, their customs, language, ways of life and thought are utterly alien. And yet there is much in their culture that is so familiar and akin to our own that in the context of Winter it is joltingly arresting.
Winter is shown to us through the eyes of the first envoy from the galaxy outside, from normal life. As he deals with intrigues among the bickering nations of Winter, as he battles across immense and forbidding ice fields in a desperate bid for survival, as he becomes involved in a unique and tender love story, so the nature of that bleak planet and its people is revealed with skill, with subtlety, and with endless inventiveness. The result is a book of such calibre that it ends by telling us more about ourselves than about the aliens it describes.« less