Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lefthand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin


I had tried to read this at least one before. It is a good example of how something just wouldn't get published now, I think. Not that it wasn't enjoyable. A very slow start. Definitely trudging. Story going off on long loops of experiences that don't seem important in the end. And it was basically about coming to love someone different from yourself; I can see how her sci fi is really social sci fi, but it's amazing to me how well accepted she seems in the genre. (Maybe that is now, not so much then?)

Her imagining of different gender expressions seems the major feature of wow.  So creative and implemented pretty well, I thought. I also read her short story Coming of Age in Karhide which was more interesting (probably because it was quite racy--alien erotica?!). Perhaps that's why it got so much attention.

Whyever it was published, won awards and became popular, I'm glad it did. It shows there is room not only for creative imaginings of near-human gender and sexuality, but also the growth of cultural understanding, and yes, some trudging.

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