Matthew’s review of The Left Hand of Darkness > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Veronica (new)

Veronica You didn't read it in the winter...like I told you to.


message 2: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann The winter atmosphere definitely didn't help Veronica! I should have heeded your advice


message 3: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Ha ha ha. Well, I'm about to start the new Robin Hobb. Any suggestions?


message 4: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann Hobb's good anytime. Enjoy!


message 5: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Superb review, Matthew. This book has such an important idea, and one whose time has perhaps come, but I found it dull, and worse, I didn't feel Le Guin made the point about gender very effectively, for instance, by having Ai mostly using male pronouns for Estraven and other Gethenians.

Now is the time for others to write novels with societies where everyone is genderless or non-binary. Or maybe they have, but are too niche and preachy to have reached a mainstream audience.


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue I'm unfamiliar with the Penguin Galaxy series. Thanks for the heads up. I do plan to read this book...once again, thanks for the "warnings" or preparation. Nice review.


message 7: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann Cecily wrote: "Superb review, Matthew. This book has such an important idea, and one whose time has perhaps come, but I found it dull, and worse, I didn't feel Le Guin made the point about gender very effectively..."

Thanks for the kind comments Cecily. Fortunately, I can point you towards a genderless/non-binary sci-fi series, though the pronoun 'she' is used for everyone. Ancilliary Justice has a lot of other great ideas about it, but it borrows from Le Guin most with the use of a genderless society. The book is not at all preachy, but it spends most of the first book concerned with its other sci-fi concept before turning to gender in the second. The trilogy is quite good even if it sent me for a loop on the first read-through.

Also, we are in agreement that Le Guin did write a fairly dull book. There were moments of striking imagery, but they fell in between long stretches of monotony. I've read that some of her other novels are more accessible, though I won't be running out to pick them up.


message 8: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann Sue wrote: "I'm unfamiliar with the Penguin Galaxy series. Thanks for the heads up. I do plan to read this book...once again, thanks for the "warnings" or preparation. Nice review."

I've been a big fan of the Penguin Galaxy series thus far. In addition to being a good sampling of some foundational sci-fi, the physical book's design is really attractive. There's also a pretty stunning variety in storytelling and genre. It's been a good way for me to touch down with some classics in between my regular reads. I'm halfway through the books now and I plan on tackling Stranger in a Strange Land next.


message 9: by Veronica (new)

Veronica I know, right? Speaking of non-binary gender...the Fool! Best non-binary character in all of fantasy.


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Matthew wrote: "I can point you towards a genderless/non-binary sci-fi series, though the pronoun 'she' is used for everyone. Ancilliary Justice has a lot of other great ideas about it, but it borrows from Le Guin most with the use of a genderless society...."

Thanks! How odd to have genderless/non-binary characters and then use a gendered pronoun!

Also odd that, like Gethen, it's another icy landscape!


message 11: by Milo (new)

Milo O'Rourke Cecily Le Quinn said her use of mostly male pronouns was just out of instinct, and that people ought to be angry with her about it.


message 12: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann Milo wrote: "Cecily Le Quinn said her use of mostly male pronouns was just out of instinct, and that people ought to be angry with her about it."

Thanks for the comment Milo! I don't think there's any need to be angry with LeGuin's choice to use a masculine pronoun since (to my knowledge) genderless pronouns were not yet in common use. Conversely, Leckie uses female pronouns for both male and female characters, which does a great job of making everything feel genderless in her universe.


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