Left Hand Of Darkness Author:Ursula K Le Guin On the planet Winter, there is no gender. The Gethenians can become male or female during each mating cycle, and this is something that other cultures find incomprehensible. — The Ekumen of Known Worlds has sent an ethnologist to study the inhabitants of this forbidding, ice-bound world. At first he finds his subjects difficult and off-putting, ... more »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 Gethienians- it might even be a kind of love...« less
Ursula K. LeGuin at her finest; there's a reason this is one of the bedrocks of science fiction. The story is an interesting rumination on the trials of working cross-culturally and of the perils faced in trying to bring change to an established order. But above all it is best known for its philosophical view of gender and what differences we might find in a world where the inhabitants are capable of being either male or female.