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The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula leGuin | Science Fiction & Fantasy
Registered by lane1088 of Charlotte, North Carolina USA on 3/4/2007
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Spatial): reserved

6 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by lane1088 from Charlotte, North Carolina USA on Sunday, March 04, 2007

9 out of 10

Pre-numbered label used for registration. states:
Genly Ai is an emissary from the human galaxy to Winter, a lost, stray world. His mission is to bring the planet back into the fold of an evolving galactic civilization, but to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own culture and prejudices and those that he encounters. On a planet where people are of no gender--or both--this is a broad gulf indeed. The inventiveness and delicacy with which Le Guin portrays her alien world are not only unusual and inspiring, they are fundamental to almost all decent science fiction that has been written since. In fact, reading Le Guin again may cause the eye to narrow somewhat disapprovingly at the younger generation: what new ground are they breaking that is not already explored here with greater skill and acumen? It cannot be said, however, that this is a rollicking good story. Le Guin takes a lot of time to explore her characters, the world of her creation, and the philosophical themes that arise.

If there were a canon of classic science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness would be included without debate. Certainly, no science fiction bookshelf may be said to be complete without it. But the real question: is it fun to read? It is science fiction of an earlier time, a time that has not worn particularly well in the genre. The Left Hand of Darkness was a groundbreaking book in 1969, a time when, like the rest of the arts, science fiction was awakening to new dimensions in both society and literature. But the first excursions out of the pulp tradition are sometimes difficult to reread with much enjoyment. Rereading The Left Hand of Darkness, decades after its publication, one feels that those who chose it for the Hugo and Nebula awards were right to do so, for it truly does stand out as one of the great books of that era. It is immensely rich in timeless wisdom and insight.

The Left Hand of Darkness is science fiction for the thinking reader, and should be read attentively in order to properly savor the depth of insight and the subtleties of plot and character. It is one of those pleasures that requires a little investment at the beginning, but pays back tenfold with the joy of raw imagination that resonates through the subsequent 30 years of science fiction storytelling. Not only is the bookshelf incomplete without owning it, so is the reader without having read it. 

Journal Entry 2 by lane1088 from Charlotte, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, March 06, 2007

This book has not been rated.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursala LeGuin will be starting its journey as a bookray. I will start the ray moving after 5 people join or two weeks have passed--whichever comes first.
Some basic rules:
1. Please journal the book when you get it.
2. Try to read the book within 3-4 weeks so others can have a chance to read. (if this presents a problem because of work schedule, etc, let me know and I can change the order of the book so that it comes to you at another time)
3. After journaling the book, send a PM to the next person for their address so that you have it when you're done reading.
4. Any problems/questions, PM me.

Thank you all for participating. I hope you enjoy reading this book.

Order of Bookray:

1. rednumbertwo (Canada, ship International)
2. Chas04 (UK, ship UK)
3. rapturina (Netherlands, ship surface outside Europe)
4. brewski (Canada, ship US, Canada & EU)
5. Rains-Arms (NJ, ship anywhere--asked to be skipped.)
BACK TO ME. <----Back in my possession.

Journal Entry 3 by lane1088 at on Friday, March 23, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Released 10 yrs ago (3/23/2007 UTC) at



I sent this out to rednumbertwo in Canada. I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Journal Entry 4 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Saturday, March 31, 2007

This book has not been rated.

It got here yesterday, and I've already started reading it. Thanks lane1088! 

Journal Entry 5 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Monday, April 02, 2007

9 out of 10

For sure, anyone looking for rip-roaring excitement should look elsewhere, but this novel was a real pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the cold setting of Winter, and I loved hearing about all the adaptations people had made to survive there. The only thing I found jarring was the use of degrees Fahrenheit. I had to keep trying to convert into Celsius as I went along. (Although of course at less than minus 40, the point becomes moot! It's just cold!)

The idea that we discovered things about Winter's culture as Ai did made for a leasurely pace. He kept being surprised at his own assumptions and ignorance, and so did I. A very subtle and smart book.

I have PMed Chas04, and will get this sent off as soon as I can. 

Journal Entry 6 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Thursday, April 05, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Mailed to Chas04 yesterday! 

Journal Entry 7 by chas04 from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 13, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Thanks for the book, it arrived while I was on holiday, hence the delay in journaling! I have one book to finish and then I'll start on this one, thanks for sharing! 

Journal Entry 8 by chas04 from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This book has not been rated.

What an intriguing read, certainly far different from a lot of science fiction I have read and very cleverly written. There are so many original ideas in the book. The writing of it is incredibly clever, helping you to learn the Gethenian culture as Genly Ai does throughout his time on the planet.

I am really glad I was included in this ray!

I am waiting to hear from rapturina. She is in Asia at the moment and may want to be skipped. 

Journal Entry 9 by chas04 from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 27, 2007

This book has not been rated.

I am sending to Rapturina in the Netherlands. She is back from Asia soon so it won't be sitting around too long. Enjoy the book! 

Journal Entry 10 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, June 16, 2007

This book has not been rated.

It's here! There were a few other ring books waiting for me as well when I came back from my holidays, but I'm a quick reader so it shouldn't take too long for me to get to this one. I might just start reading this one first now that I think about it, as I've been wanting to read it for years and I'm really looking forward to it. :D 

Journal Entry 11 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, July 18, 2007

7 out of 10

This was indeed an interesting read as the previous readers have mentioned! I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Winter's culture, climate and social life, though I wasn't too interested in the whole political thing that seemed to be going on in the story and I found those parts a bit tedious to get through as I just didn't care that much about interplanetary politics, I guess. :D Still, any bit about the social interaction between the different peoples were really interesting for me, as I'm a student of intercultural communication and I found many parallels with today's world and the issues that arise when people from different backgrounds meet. So in that respect it was an absolutely fascinating read! Thanks for starting the ray, lane1088!

The book is in the mail to brewski as of July 18th. 

Journal Entry 12 by brewski from Markham, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This arrived in the mail today. Thanks for sharing this lane1088, I will start on this very soon. 

Journal Entry 13 by brewski from Markham, Ontario Canada on Thursday, August 09, 2007

10 out of 10

I really enjoyed reading this, I will be looking for more of LeGuin''s work in the near future! I am actually surprised that this is the first book by LeGuin that I have read, and now I am wondering why I have never any read any before :)

The imagery and the feeling of immersion in Winter''s climate and decidely different social atmosphere made for an entertaining and compelling read. As I read, I felt a sense of discovery as if I was exploring an alien world along with Genly Ai. The found the exploration of prejudice in the novel completely applicable to today''s world.

I will send this along to Rains-Arms once I receive their address. So far, I have not received a response to my PM from a week ago, but I have sent another PM today and will give another week for a response from Rains-Arms before I check with lane1088.

Thanks again to lane1088 for sharing this :)


Journal Entry 14 by brewski from Markham, Ontario Canada on Sunday, August 12, 2007

This book has not been rated.

The last BookRay participant dropped out so this will be going back to lane1088. I will be dropping this in the mailbox tomorrow morning. 

Journal Entry 15 by lane1088 from Charlotte, North Carolina USA on Thursday, September 27, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Sorry guys, I forgot to do a journal entry when I received the book quiet a while ago. Thanks to everyone for participating on the book's journey. I hope it will motivate you to read more of Le Guin's works. 

Journal Entry 16 by lane1088 at Charlotte, North Carolina USA on Sunday, April 23, 2017

9 out of 10

I'm sending this out again in the scifi book box.  

Journal Entry 17 by Spatial at Arlington, Virginia USA on Monday, June 12, 2017

This book has not been rated.

It's amazing there are so many people that have already read this copy of The Left Hand of Darkness and the many places it has traveled!

Taken from lane1088's Sci-Fi bookbox! This has been on my Wishlist of books for a while now! Can't wait to read it! 

Journal Entry 18 by Spatial at Arlington, Virginia USA on Friday, July 07, 2017

8 out of 10

The Left Hand of DarknessThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While reading The Left Hand of Darkness, I was disappointed to see, once again, a science fiction story written decades ago have characters that spoke of the two genders in such a separating way. And the writer is female and the story written in the tumultuous 60s. Yes, the story is told from the point of view of a man, but it is set so very far in the future that you would think they could envision the future differently.

The story was really good, except for the aforementioned comment above. A slow burn, but stories written then were of that vein. Anyway, I left the story on a gushy high and that is where the four stars come from instead of much less. After all, a story should make you think and feel. It has done both for me.

A quote from the story that struck me enough to mark it:

Here the Envoy (alien to the world of Winter) asks his traveling companion, an inhabitant of this world, if he hates the neighboring country, Orgoreyn.

Hate Orgoreyn? No, how should I? How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. 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.

Interesting and relevant to the here and now.

I also found the story in Chapter 12 On Time and Darkness rather interesting and enlightening, but I'll leave it for you to discover on your own!

In addition, it's funny how the world works and little things find a way of connecting in your life. Yesterday, I was perusing a list of books someone mentioned as being their all-time favorites. A few were manga, of which I have yet to try. But since this person's favorites list contained some books that I love too, I thought I'd check out the synopsises and possibly try some. One of those is Hiraru no Go which is about a boy who finds a Go board in his grandfather's attic and a spirit that is trapped in the board. Go is a game board played on a grid with stones. Anyway, today I finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness and in Chapter 15, the alien, Genly Ai, teaches Estraven how to play Go. Now I know that I have heard of the game Go, but my mind never latched onto it and so never really saw it and processed it in any way. But here, today, these two occurrences have come together and I find that magical and mystical, wonderful and joyful. It's those moments, ya know?

I think I will keep this in my personal library for a little while. Initially, I thought I would read it and then find someone on the wishlists to send it to. But I feel that I may read it again and so I am not ready to let it go just yet. :)
I'm going to set it to 'permanent collection', for now.

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