Download The Left Hand of Darkness Epub ¶ 304 pages ✓ Ursula k le guin

Reader The Left Hand of Darkness

Download The Left Hand of Darkness Epub ¶ 304 pages ✓ Ursula k. le guin ☆ A groundbreaking work of science fiction The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter an alien world whose inhabitants can choose and change their gender His goal is to facilitate Winter'sNcountersEmbracing the aspects of psychology society and human emotion on an alien world The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction The Challenge of SexSex is awkward no matter how you look at it arguably yet another design flaw in our species Solo sex is likely to be unsatisfying Straight sex is fraught with gendered miscommunication Gay sex presents serious reproductive issues Transgender sex is well complicated And all those don't even consider the morass of multiple simultaneous partners But Ursula lale Guin introduces a whole new level of awkwardness in her ambisexual humanoid aliens who shift gender monthly in response to their partners’ pheromones No one knows if they’re hitting on getting hit on until the touching startsThere are clear advantages of ambisexuality Sexual euality is a matter of course Since voluntary participation is necessary rape is impossible Everyone experiences the respective burdens of testosterone as well as child bearing Sexual jealousy and violence is eliminated And the Incel movement has no reason to exist Ambisexuality also probably reduces the propensity to war and the gender induced machismo of two sex societiesOn the other hand there are a few problems Gendered pronouns are out; but so is the neuter; the ambisexual are persons after all Family relationships are rather complex one’s father may be one’s sister’s mother for example not even Yiddish has words for this sort of relation Maternal and paternal genealogical lines can become indistinguishably mixed leading to some rather interesting inheritance issues Playing Mum off against Dad is unlikely to prove a winning childhood strategyGenerally ambisexual individuals are about as ethically psychologically and politically diverse as binaries even if a bit emotionally intelligent on the whole This seems to lead to less overt coercion but covert intrigue They tend to plot rather than hit each other And while machismo is absent a certain sort of complex politesse is essential for smooth social functioning Subtlety for its own sake is de rigeur and tends to slow down discussion and decision to a crawl In her Introduction lale Guin provides an interesting explanation about the contents of this story “Fiction writers” she says “at least in their braver moments do desire the truth to know it speak it serve it But they go about it in a peculiar and devious way which consists in inventing persons places and events which never did and never will exist or occur and telling about these fictions in detail and at length and with a great deal of emotion and then when they are done writing down this pack of lies they say There That's the truth”The truth lale Guin is referring to appears to be that while sex is an irresistible force that profoundly influences the institutional structure of a society it is not the determining factor of individual personality purpose or neuroses Society adapts to the reality of its members or should When it doesn’t by designating difference as perversion for example it fails in its function of creating peaceful flourishing within itself and between it and other societies Blessed are the peace makers after all especially the literate ones

Reader ↠ The Left Hand of Darkness ☆ Ursula K. Le Guin

L is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he e “If civilization has an opposite it is war”In the nascent days of summer I read a book that I can’t stop thinking about and can’t stop recommending I’m stirring from my Goodreads silence to tell you about this book Left Hand of Darkness by the late Ursula K Le Guin Written in 1969 and the winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards this book is just as relevant and important today as it was when it first hit the shelves Left Hand of Darkness is a gorgeous sci fi novel of political intrigue heroism and humanity that works like an anthropological study complete with folktales and history as Le Guin creates a uniue society enabling her to take a probing look at gender roles religion and bureaucracy and their configurations in oppression and nationalism Left Hand of Darkness is a philosophical and anthropological treat in which Le Guin deftly creates social political and religious layers to examine a fascinating new world on the brink of war Set in a distant future Left Hand of Darkness is another tale in Le Guin’s universe of the Ekumen an 83 planet union with slight governing laws designed to increase communication and philosophy sharing throughout the universe in which Genly Ai is sent alone “ One alien is a curiosity two are an invasion” as an envoy to convince the planet Gethen to join the union His arrival alarms the Kardish King who fears acknowledgement of larger universal societies as a threat to his might and power and intrigues the king’s rival nation who consider how Genly can be used as a political pawn Throughout the novel the understanding of a new world is most succinctly conveyed in the growing friendship between Genly and Estraven a man cast out as a traitor The book itself is a collection of Genly's journal while on Gethen along with Gethen tales and history intermixed “ I'll make my report as if I told a story for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination” Genly writes at the start He reminds the reader that this not his story alone “ nor told by me aloneand if at moments the facts seem to alter with an altered voice why then you can choose the fact you like best; yet none of them is false and it is all one story” Le Guin creates not only a fantastic textured reality of civilization but also a uniue lexicon with which to explore her world Ideas such as kemmering and the social currency of shifgrethor vaguely meaning ‘prestige as well as the untranslatability of many of the Gethen terms is one of the novel’s purest joys as it reminds us that language is not only a means to communicate and commune but also a barrier without a one to one ratio that emphasizes the uniueness of cultures These terms point towards a deeper cultural significance that as the observer we can only fumble to understand While never confronted head on as in some of Le Guin’s other novels of Hannish colonization and the Ekumen such as The Word for World is Forest there is a subtle backhand at the ills of colonization and cultural oppression when one tries to conform the Other to meet their own standards or needs Speaking of culture one of Le Guin’s better points is her use of racial diversity in her works Genly Ai is a black man while the Gethenians are described as appearing much like Inuits Even when other “humans” arrive none of them are white the only other prominent human being an Asian woman In an essay condemning the SyFy TV miniseries adaptation of her Earthsea series for whitewashing among other issues Urusla Le Guin comments on the deliberateness of the diversity in her novels My color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start I didn't see why everybody in science fiction had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill I didn't see why everybody in heroic fantasy had to be white and why all the leading women had violet eyes It didn't even make sense Whites are a minority on Earth now—why wouldn't they still be either a minority or just swallowed up in the larger colored gene pool in the future? While the racial issues in her books are not perfect the acknowledgement of them and inclusion of many races is a step forward during a time when most there are exceptions science fiction was predominantly white and male Gethen is a curious world to Genly one that he suspects may have been the result of early experiments on gender On Gethen there is no gender all beings exist in a genderless non sexual state called somer for most of the time except during their monthly mating cycle of kemmer During kemmer their sexual organ take the role of either a male or female there is no choosing before reverting back to a genderless or ambisexual state A person can father a child one month and become pregnant the next leading to the wonderful line “ the king is pregnant” midway through the novel This genderless society is not a perfect examination of gender and many early critics have been underwhelmed that Le Guin did not take it further but there is still a lot of unpack here Le Guin herself in her essay Is Gender Necessary regretted her pronoun choices that made Gethenians seems predominantly masculine “ I call Gethenians ‘he’ because I utterly refuse to mangle English by inventing a pronoun for “heshe”” she writes in her reflective essay written seven years after the novel and then updated in footnotes to further dissect her decisions over a decade later though she did later attempt genderless pronoun choices for readings in the 80s Despite some setbacks and the fact that the incest on Gethen is mentioned but not really examined the idea really works While the idea of a constantly bisexual community her term is wonderful the lack of any discussion on any same gendered kemmering or LGBT aspects are notably absent and underwhelming Genly an ethnologist spends much of the novel unpacking how the lack of traditional gender shapes society Late in the book Genly explains to Estraven how gender functions in his own gendered world the heaviest single factor in one’s life is whether one’s born male or female In most societies it determines one’s expectations activities outlooks ethics manners almost everything Vocabulary Semantic usagesit’s extremely hard to separate the innate differences from the learned ones On Gethen Genly describes a world where the notions of sexual domination and rape haven’t figured into society in any way he has witnessed there is naturally an argument to be made that as a heteronormative human some of these issues could have occurred but were in his cultural blind spots However this is the novel as it stands He details a world where a lack of gender normative roles leads to one of unity In the story Coming of Age in Karhide from the collection The Birthday of the World and Other Stories a story about the first kemmering of a youth in the Karhide nation on Gethen kemmer is examined directly as a driving force of unity While Gethenians can make a vow of “permanent kemmer” with an individual their form of what Ekumen planets consider marriage for the most part the extreme sexual attraction during kemmer stage is not monogamous and bonds people with each other “I loved them all and they all loved me and that was the secretlove is love” the narrator thinks realizing kemmer unites his entire community where anyone can be a loverUnity is important on this planet as survival is not easy Gethen is a planet of perpetual winter Genly is cold even during the summer months and society seems built around a general sense of goodwill towards each other While gender is a major factor for how society functions the social interactions on a political level that take place in this book are some of the most powerful moments Most of the novel concerns two major nations in Gethen Karhide and Orgoreyn The former is a monarchy ruled by a king losing himself to pride and paranoid madness and the latter is a sophisticated but similarly paranoid government where the multiple parties conspire against each other While Le Guin laments having relatively cliched governing systems in her essay Is Gender Necessary the contrast works uite well The discussions on how the growing bureaucratic style in Orgoreyn opens the way for corruption is uite engaging and the general governing systems still allow for an important discussion on patriotism and the slippery slope into violent nationalism This is a world where shifgrethor or prestige of reputation is extremely valuable and all communication configures around their cultural standards of respect Much of Genly’s early frustration with Estraven and his elusiveness turns out to be communication barriers due to shifgrethor with Genly assuming Estraven’s attempts at respect are instead coldness Also in this society where reputation is a powerful social currency notions like loyalty and betrayal become major signifiers in identity throughout the novelAll in all Gethen seems to be a relatively non aggressive world where “ they apparently have never yet had what one could call a war” Throughout the novel it is theorized that this could be due to the lack of gender roles and possibly the aim of a Hanish experiment to see what sort of society would grow from this It is also postulated that “ the dominant factor in Gethenian life is not sex or any other human thing it is their environmenthere man has a crueler enemy even than himself” Whatever the cause and both are likely part of the systemic whole Gethen has not known war though the King of Karhide does fear loss of power and many in both countries are scheming and cooking up ways to become mightier than the other The answer to mobilizing a nation becomes not one of dominance but fear fear of the Other and love for one’s own How does one hate a country or love one? I know people I know towns farms hills and rivers and rocks I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing Is it simply self love? That's a good thing but one mustn't make a virtue of it or a profession Insofar as I love life I love the hills of the Domain of Estre but that sort of love does not have a boundary line of hate And beyond that I am ignorant I hope Estraven often discusses the idea of patriotism and how it can be manipulated for power fear and violence “ No I don't mean love when I say patriotism” he tells Genly “ I mean fear The fear of the other And its expressions are political not poetical hate rivalry aggression” The two characters one a stranger inspiring fear into both political bodies and the other a disgraced traitor have to find a way to bring unity back into a growing warlike climate one that starts over a border dispute in order for Genly to accomplish his mission To be accepted into the Ekumen the planet must be at peace and agree to the inclusion However many factions are willing to make Genly disappear to keep the political power they are accruing through nationalistic propaganda This sort of fear mongering is just as relative today as it was in 1969 and I suspect this theme will hit home when read during any eraBeyond the political is a spiritual undercurrent that flows gorgeously through the novel Duality is a major theme as expressed in the Gethen poem from which the novel derives its title Light is the left hand of darknessand darkness the right hand of lightTwo are one life and death lyingtogether like lovers in kemmerlike hands joined togetherlike the end and the wayIn the world of Gethen there exist two major religions the Handarra and Yomesh Handarra is akin to Taoism and the themes of Taoism permeate much of Le Guin's works and are particularly key to understanding her novel The Lathe of Heaven Handarra is the predominant belief system in Karhide while Orgoreyens tend to practice Yomesh Yomesh a younger religions connected to the concept of ‘light’ started when a group of Foretellers split after being asked to see the answer to the uestion “What is the meaning of life?” This religion full of parables saints and angels there are no birds on Gethen and the concept of flight has never occurred to them In their religious texts angels do not fly but float down like snow comes across as a metaphor for Western religions such as Christianity Le Guin sprinkles the book with many stories of the two religions and their functions in society that add a dynamic texture to the understanding of the book in a way that manages to not distract or detract even when it interrupts the larger narrative It becomes understood that the narrative is simply an aspect in a larger purpose of understanding each other and coming together in love and unity The duality of the two religions are very much represented in the politics of the opposing nations Yomesh concerns itself with enlightenment whereas Handarra accepts being “ignorant” to the answers of life as a virtue Handarra is much complex than this however as it seeks to find a balance between light and dark knowledge and ignorance “ Darkness is only in the mortal eye that thinks it sees but sees not” Life must exist in balance and avoid the extremes something that is threatened by the rising call to warThis duality also occurs in the ambisexuality as termed by an earlier Hannish visit to observe the planet without making their presence known of the Gethenians Shelved under science fiction all the old arguments of stigmatized genre are worth considering this novel works alongside any of the finest Literature with a capital L Being soft science instead of hard sci fi Le Guin creates a wonderful array of technologies such as the ansible which allows immediate communication across space to any Ekumen planet and an intricate calendar and time system for Gethen though the joy is seeing how people and society interacts with these sci fi elements rather than having a clear scientific understanding of how they work This has never bothered me anthis is a novel to come to on it’s own terms as it essentially is about understanding a foreign community on its own terms Left Hand of Darkness is one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a long time It’s what I come to books for most finding the feeling of reading a favorite book for the first time and discovering a new favorite author I’ve since devoured several other works by her and I only wish I had come to her before her passing Le Guin was a master of the anthropological approach to science fiction and if one enjoys this novel there is a wide variety of other Hannish novels and short stories of the Ekumen to delight in This novel is just the right balance of nuance world building and philosophical musings that culminate into a staggeringly empathetic work Being a great work of feminism it still has flaws in aspects of gender but the examination of it in the book is really worth the read It is a rallying cry to go “against the wheel” to see beyond the boundaries of your own cultural experience and meet what you find with nothing but love Though most seem to use the ambisexuality of the book as the main talking point for me it was the political intrigue and discussions on patriotism as an element of fear and hatred instead of love that really hit hard Le Guin writes with such grace and charm that even the denser descriptive moments dance upon the page This is one to read and read again I very highly recommend this trip to Gethen55‘ I wondered not for the first time what patriotism is what the love of country truly consists of how that yearning loyalty that had shaken my friend's voice arises and how so real a love can become too often so foolish and vile a bigotry Where does it go wrong?’

Ursula K. Le Guin ☆ The Left Hand of Darkness Epub

The Left Hand of DarknessA groundbreaking work of science fiction The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter an alien world whose inhabitants can choose and change their gender His goa “I'll make my report as if I told a story for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination” I can't say why it's taken me so many years to finally get to The Left Hand of Darkness Perhaps because every time I passed it in a bookstore or library it looked like a typical dated 1960s sci fi novel But it is so much than thatThis book is uite astonishing Hannah Gadsby has made me reluctant to say ahead of its time but if any book is ahead of its time then this one is It's a fascinating read complete with rich world building detailed descriptions of the Gethenian customs an exploration of an ambisexual society and an examination of how political and cultural norms can force a wedge between societies “No I don't mean love when I say patriotism I mean fear The fear of the other And its expressions are political not poetical hate rivalry aggression” This alone is extremely interesting but it wasn't until I'd sat wide eyed through many chapters of the book until I realized that somewhere along the way Le Guin had snuck in and stolen my heart too Perhaps ultimately I had put off this book because I had expected interesting but not moving Not emotional And definitely not heartbreaking The Left Hand of Darkness is definitely a tough read at times especially in the beginning when Le Guin throws in Gethenian terms without explanation and leaves us to work out what they're referring to But you do work it out eventually and even at its most challenging it is not unenjoyable The world is so rich in detail that it becomes an adventure to explore it and the nuanced character dynamics keep the pages turningThe story is about Genly Ai a male human envoy who is sent to Gethen to persuade the Gethenians to join the Ekumen union He believes they can both benefit from the trade and exchanging of technology this would lead to He first appeals to the Karhide king who refuses and then later to the Orgoreyn politicians Alongside this mission is the story of Gethen's developing relationship with Estraven a disgraced former prime ministerI can usually uite neatly separate books into those driven by characters and those driven by plot but it is not so easy here The plot is definitely dynamic and a lot happens over the course of 330 pages but I do think the book's strength lies in how Le Guin explores character interactions The Gethenians are genderless and essentially sexless or perhaps accurately they are intersex as they can take on either sex during mating season but Genly finds it hard not to force the Gethenians into the gender binary He constantly examines their behaviour for traditionally masculine and feminine traits which affects how he views and treats themIt is a fabulous exploration of fluid gender and sexuality And race too I've got to be honest this being a 1960s American novel and a science fiction novel at that a still depressingly white genre I was expecting to experience the usual pearly whiteness of the characters with a jarring absence of people of colour On the contrary Genly is black and the Gethenians are described as having a whole range of skin coloursIf you've been on the fence about this book like I was I highly recommend it It's a thought provoking highly original story that is as relevant today as it ever was And between the political and social commentary in the icy landscape of Gethen there is an unmistakably human story of loyalty tragedy and loveBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube