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The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #6)
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The Left Hand of Darkness > TLHoD: I thought I was going to hate this book but I love it so far

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message 1: by Christos (last edited Jul 06, 2017 04:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christos | 47 comments I have to admit when I heard this was feminist Sci-fi I thought this book was going to be horrible and preachy. I am not an anti-feminist I just hate when stories get to preachy, but like Mad Max Fury Road and A Handmaid's Tale this is a great story first and foremost and handles the message really well IMO. I finished over half the book in 2 days I can't stop reading it


Chase Carroll (forrealee) | 13 comments I just finished Chapter 2 and I am having a really hard time getting into it. I'm doing the audiobook though, and i'm not a huge fan of the voice actor, so I think that's why. She sounds the same to me for all characters as she does during narration. So it all bleeds together for me and is easy to lose track of who is talking.

But i'll keep on pressing on! I really want to like this book!


Brendan (mistershine) | 890 comments I've noticed people rarely say "too preachy" about books with a message they agree with.


message 4: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2443 comments Brendan wrote: "I've noticed people rarely say "too preachy" about books with a message they agree with."

Well...there's the 3rd to 6th sequels to The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith. Love the Libertarian message but it got old after a while. Especially The Gallatin Divergence was way over the top.


message 5: by Christos (last edited Jul 06, 2017 05:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christos | 47 comments Brendan wrote: "I've noticed people rarely say "too preachy" about books with a message they agree with."

Have you never seen a movie or tv show about the environment? I believe in global warming and I love animals but Captain Planet is so damn preachy it makes me want to kill baby seals just to spite them. I agree with Stephen King that bullies and religious fanatics are bad but I am so sick and tired of seeing them in all his books, we get it.


Melani | 74 comments I complain about books whose message I agree with being too preachy all the time. pretty sure I had that issue with a recent S&L pick actually. books that put message before story, no matter what the message is, are annoying. TLHoD is one of those excellent pieces that is both an excellent story and a thoughtful examination of a cultural issue. it's been a while since I've read it, and I plan to pick it up for a second read this month, but it stuck with me for years.


Paul  Perry (Pezski) | 438 comments Brendan wrote: "I've noticed people rarely say "too preachy" about books with a message they agree with."


I'm definitely on the side of Tolkien in his argument with CS Lewis. Both Christians, the latter insisted that the message was of overriding import and everything should be bent to that, while to JRR this was anathema; he believed story should always come first and a message would be apparent. Personally, I think this shows in their writing.


Le Guin is definitely a writer with a point of view, but is both a good enough (great, IMHO) writer that the story and characters carry it and (usually) not dogmatic, allowing for shades of grey.


Sean | 300 comments Chase wrote: "I just finished Chapter 2 and I am having a really hard time getting into it. I'm doing the audiobook though, and i'm not a huge fan of the voice actor, so I think that's why."

I got a print copy from my library, and it took until around the half-way point in the novel for me to get interested. I think it's because, until that point, there don't seem to be any real stakes for the characters.


Trike | 4535 comments I read this aaaages ago and I recall not liking it much. I was probably too young at the time to appreciate it, but upon rereading it some of my initial bemusement did return.

One is that every once in a while it sounds like Dr. Seuss, what with the parades of gossiwors through the ancient Gethen town and pledging kemmering as the sporecases of serem trees drift down. Kind of waiting for the Cat in the Hat to show up in his moss-covered three-handled family gradunza. :p

One thing I noticed was a passing reference to the planet Four-Taurus, which sounds an awful lot like "Ford Taurus", and now I can't get that damn 1980s jingle out of my head.


Ford has seen where we're going!
Ford has heard us loud and clear!
Ford has seen the future,
And now the future is here!
For us! Taurus! For us! Taurus! For us!


But other than that, yeah, it's pretty good.


Walter Spence (WalterSpence) | 707 comments I really enjoyed this exchange of dialogue between one of the Foretellers, Faxe, and Genry:

"You don't see yet, Genry, why we perfected and practice Foretelling?"
"No-"
"To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question."


Poonam | 17 comments Yesss, that was beautiful


Brian | 4 comments I highlighted that passage on my Kindle.

I'm loving the book. It reads like an anthropological study which I love. I'm listening to Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari right now and it is a great side by side comparison.


message 13: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 9 comments Christos wrote: "I have to admit when I heard this was feminist Sci-fi I thought this book was going to be horrible and preachy.."

When people say "feminist SF" sometimes they mean books with a political agenda (Sheri Tepper's thick books, for example) and sometimes they mean books that treat women as actual characters. Le Guin tends to write the latter kind of books.

Other authors, such as Terry Brooks, do not. Maybe I've just been unlucky, but for example in The High Druid's Blade the whole thing would have been done in 60 pages if the author or any of the characters thought the female characters were people instead of props for the dudes.

I can read books like that, and I can read books with loud political agendas, but it's definitely a case of overcoming a fault rather than something enhancing the story. Like reading a book with terrible editing -- the rest has to be strong enough to get over the bump. Le Guin tends to be smoother.


message 14: by Buzz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buzz Park (buzzpark) | 173 comments ..."You don't see yet, Genry, why we perfected and practice Foretelling?"
"No-"
"To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question.""


I highlighted that on my Kindle. What a great quote.


Rob Secundus (Quintessential_Defenestration) | 1033 comments I really don't know what the Feminist Message in this book is, if it's trying to preach something. Like, I'm not even saying that it's message is well conveyed, ala the aforementioned Handmaid's Tale, and thus not annoying-- I absolutely cannot tell you any message in this book at all.

It's just a thought experiment about a society with a different approach to gender, like Ancillary Justice. It's "Feminist" not even in that it "treats female characters like people"-- this book fails the Bechdel test, and the only female character, rather than gender neutral/ bigender character, has like two lines at the end-- it just uses gender theory to establish an interesting setting.


message 16: by Buzz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buzz Park (buzzpark) | 173 comments I didn't think this book had what would be termed a "feminist" message at all. While I personally tend towards a slightly more conservative bent, I thought this story was so well written, thought-provoking without being preachy, and extremely well executed.


Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 103 comments I thought it was feminist in that it showed how patriarchy can harm men as well as women, in this case leading Genly to misunderstand the world around him. In that respect, it reminded me a bit of The Color Purple, a novel that I think also makes a huge case about patriarchy's detriments to men as well as women.


message 18: by Fresno Bob (new) - added it

Fresno Bob | 453 comments "One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience." seems more like a subtle humanist joke than anything feminist


message 19: by Lena (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lena https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
I loved it, it took longer than I thought, but it was worth it.


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