Book Review: The Left Hand of Darkness

by stink - on Nov 11, 2023 11:29pm to book-review comments(0)
So, I finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin yesterday. It's a science fiction novel written in 1969 and it's known as a top sci-fi novel of all time. I give it an 8.7/10. There may be some light spoilers below.

First an aside, I read this on my Kindel that I've had for about 12 years. I've read one other sci-fi novel by Ursula called Dispossessed and it was actually the first book that I ever downloaded on this Kindel. So, I had to page back through all my books on this Kindel to find it and boy do I have a sick collection. Here's a taste of what I've read in the past on this Kindel (besides these two Ursula novels):

- Hyperion by Dan Simmons
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
- A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
- Neuromancer by William Gibson (all time legendary book right here)
- Matter by Iain M. Banks (this is a Culture novel)
- The January Dancer by Michael Flynn
- House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds
- Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks (this is also a Culture novel)
- The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks (also a Culture novel, the last one actually and I believe the last book Banks ever wrote)
- Ubik by Philip K. Dick
- Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
- Saturn's Children by Charles Stross
- Singularity Sky by Charles Stross
- Count Zero by William Gibson
- Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (I love the doctor character is this series)
- Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian
- Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks (Culture novel)
- The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time series)
- Transition by Iain M. Banks

Epic list, no?

Okay, back to The Left Hand of Darkness. What I always say about sci-fi novels is that the beginning and middle are usually very good but the endings are usually garbage. This book doesn't really fit that pattern. The first half was quite slow in my opinion and it took me awhile to get through as I was basically using it for falling asleep material. But then there's this point about 55% in where the real story begins.

The Left Hand of Darkness had similarities to the other Ursula book I previously read (Dispossessed). They both gave me this sort of dry, empty feeling in terms of setting, but not in a bad way. They both feel very slice of life to me.

This book also feels a bit like Inversions by Iain M. Banks in that it's a sci-fi novel but the entire story takes place on a world that doesn't have much technology.

That's my light review of this book. I don't really get into the deep meanings or the political angles. But it is a very well written book and I recommend you read it.

Next up for me is HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian. It is the third book in the Aubrey/Maturin series which is the series that the movie Master and Commander is based on. Again I love the doctor in the book.
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