Darkness is Ambidextrous (an overview of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, and a poem)

Guy Pierce as Houdini
Guy Pierce as Houdini

Title Already Taken

Welcome to another of my 2016 articles inspired by the titles of Ursula Le Guin novels. This is number nine in the series so far.

As with most in the series I was going to give the hub the same name as the book "The Left Hand of Darkness" but unfortunately the hubtool editor told me that title was already taken (even though a search of HubPages didn't reveal another hub with that name). So being the easy going guy I am I changed the name :)

I hope you enjoy "Darkness is Ambidextrous."

Original cover design: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Original cover design: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin | Source

The Left Hand of Darkness (overview)

The Left Hand of Darkness is a science fiction novel published in 1969 by Ursula K. Le Guin. It is the second novel in a series called the Hainish Cycle and is among the first books published in the feminist science fiction genre. It is also considered the most famous examination of androgyny in science fiction.

In 1970, The Left Hand of Darkness won "best novel" in both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, an accolade given by the convention participants and other science fiction writers. In the 1975 Locus magazine Poll & Survey covering "novels", The Left Hand of Darkness placed third behind Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) and Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End (1963). In 1987 Locus ranked it at second among "All-Time Best SF Novels", after Dune.

Also in 1987, Harold Bloom said in a critical anthology about the book and said in the introduction: "Le Guin, more than Tolkien, has raised fantasy into high literature, for our time." (source: Wikipedia)

Fellow hubber Besarien says, "The Left Hand of Darkness is one of my favorite novels in any genre."

Famed science-fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin talks about the role of gender in her renowned novel.

"The story is set in the fictional Hainish universe, which Le Guin introduced in her first novel Rocannon's World, published in 1966. In this alternative history, human beings did not evolve on earth, but on Hain. The people of Hain colonized many neighboring planetary systems, including Terra (Earth) and Gethen (Winter) around a million years prior to the setting of the novels. Some of these groups that "seeded" each planet were the subjects of genetic experiments, including on Gethen."

The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of Genly Ai a lone human emissary (from Terra) sent to Gethen, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender at certain times. His goal is to facilitate Gethen's (Winter's) inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must find middle ground between his own views and those of the totally different culture that he encounters.

Embracing many 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. (source: Goodreads)

If you are a science fiction fan like me I hope you are now tempted to read this book by Ursula Le Guin and the others in the Hainish Cycle series. I have only begun reading her books in recent years and am sorry I didn't discover them earlier.

Source

The Right Hand of Darkness

by John Hansen © 2016


He does his master's bidding

No matter what the cost,

But all the riches he has gained

Are not worth what he's lost.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈§ ≈ § ≈

He drips in gold and money,

Much more than he can count.

Sex and drugs on offer

Like a never ending fount.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈

To attain these worldly riches

He offered up his soul,

No thought of what may lie ahead,

Fulfilling Satan's goal.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈§ ≈ § ≈

He thinks he is invincible

In this short Earthly life.

Rape, assault and murder,

Expert with gun and knife.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈§ ≈ § ≈

Source

Cheating and deceiving

Are talents he has honed.

Evil deeds excite him,

But one day he'll atone.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈§ ≈ § ≈

What awaits us after death?

Imagine if you can.

But I don't think there's any doubt

For the Devil's right hand man.

≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈ § ≈§ ≈ § ≈

Source

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Comments 58 comments

always exploring profile image

always exploring 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

I must admit that science-fiction is my least favorite genre, but you did this book justice with your review. I loved your poem which was excellent.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Ruby. I appreciate you reading and commenting even though you don't like science fiction. Have a great day.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 9 months ago from The Beautiful South

Someone probably has the title but hasn't published yet. You could have used it and added a word or so probably.

I am a johnny come lately Sci-Fi fan and this does sound like it could hold my interest. (Although animal ones are my favorite.)

Love the poem and again it seems we are on the same wave length as I am doing research and writing about that evil one's domain!

Great job as always!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for he great comment Jackie. It seems some higher force is directing our thoughts in a parallel direction at the moment, doesn't it Jackie? You have mentioned before that we seem to have a lot in common and recently we have been on the same wavelength with our writing. I look forward to reading what you come up with about the "evil one."


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 9 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Brilliant and very fascinating indeed!

This is like getting a promo: Buy One Take Two --for getting a good review and a wonderful poem combined. Two thumbs up! :)

Love from the skies of the great north! ~


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

It is always good to get a comment from you Cris, and a wonderful one at that. Thank you so much from the land down under, and I wish you safe flying.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 9 months ago

John, as I've said before, I'm a scifi/fantasy fan. I read this particular Le Guin book so long ago that I've forgotten the story. Thanks for reminding me because I haven't read the series and may go back and read it, or at least I think I haven't read all of the Hain books. I like your poetic rendition of the devil's man, though, and I hope Karma catches up with him first.


swalia profile image

swalia 9 months ago

You have written so much about Ursula Le Guin in your hubs that I am intrigued to pick up one of her books. I liked the poem in the end.

"What awaits us after death?" - Only if people give this question a serious thought, they would never resort to misdeeds.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 9 months ago from Tennessee

I've always been an avid reader, but never a science fiction fan. My youngest daughter, though, was a huge fan beginning in elementary school, so I'm very familiar with the genre. And, I must admit, this book sounds fascinating. In any genre, it's so good to find an author you really like and lose yourself in their books. I may have to try this one.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 9 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

I like some types of Sci Fi better than others. I'm not sure how well I could follow this authors work, but you make her sound interesting. I enjoy your poetry.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

Two things: I always appreciate a good book recommendation, and I always appreciate your poetry. So you have doubled my pleasure this Tuesday afternoon, and I thank you.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 9 months ago from Florida

Hey John, I do, of course, like all you write in explaining Ursula's books, but I love it when I get to your poetry. I think your poem is what makes me want to read the books. A gripping poem, that is full of intrigue. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

MizB, it is hard to believe this book is almost 50 years old. The concepts of sexuality etc portrayed must have been very controversial at the time. Like you I will have to read the hole series starting with Rocannon's World.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Swalia. I hope you take a look at some of her books. This genre doesn't appeal to everyone but I hope you enjoy her work. Yes, unfortunately a lot of people don't give the afterlife a thought o believe their is anything after this lif on earth.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for the great comment Jo. We all enjoy different genres, actually I like a bit of everything, but I do hope you check out Ursula Le Guin. I have only started reading her books recently but find them intriguing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Same here Diana, for instance I don't like Star Wars or Star Trek butI like Dr Who, Lost in Space etc. it is the same with books..love some sci fi authors like Robert Silverberg and Ursula Le Guin and not others. Thanks for the praise of my poetry.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Glad I helped to make your Tuesday afternoon pleasurable Bill. Thanks for the kind comment too. It is Wednesday morning here and the roosters are crowing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Missy, thank you for the praise of my poetry. It is always my favourite part of any hub I write. I must warn you though, my poems in no way reflect the content or storylines of Ursula's books. It is great if it inspires you to read them however. Hugs.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 9 months ago from southern USA

Both titles are really cool, John ...maybe it is the actual book HP is referring to? Who knows ...

Great review and you are increasing my interest in Ursula's work via your hubs.

Wow, your poem is off the charts amazing, John! It is always the best part of this series in my mind.

I've been working on a two creative writing projects and one is along these lines too, and I hope to get them ready to publish soon. I have enjoyed working on them.

Hugs and blessings


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 9 months ago from LOS ANGELES

I haven't read much in science fiction but I will say your review made the book seem quite interesting. And, I absolutely loved the poem. "The devil's right-hand man indeed"


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement Theresa. Always happy to hear you like my poetry too. It seems a few of us are being directed to work on writing projects along a common theme at present. Jackie Lynnley told me she is almost ready to publish something similar to my poem as well. Looking forward to your finished project. Hugs and blessings back.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Dana, I am glad my review on Ursula's book is making it sound appealing, even to non sci-fi fans. I'm always glad to hear you loved my poem.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 9 months ago from New Delhi, India

Excellent hub and an interesting read!

You have written a lot about Ursula Le Guin in your hubs. I am curious to read one of her books. Your poem is beautifully expressed as always.

A good review and a wonderful poem ---What a combination!

Thank you for sharing!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Chitrangada. Yes I have written a lot about Ursula Le Guin because all my hubs this year have used her book titles as inspiration, even though I haven't read them all. I am doing a good job promoting her though..maybe she should be paying me :) Glad you found the review interesting and the poem enjoyable. Thanks.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 9 months ago from london

Funny Bro, right at the beginning, I was thinking that we attribute so much darkness to the left hand, a bit like we do with 'black' or 'blackness.' Then I get to your poem and you speak of the 'right.' How charming! How appropriate in terms of money, power and some of your other examples.

An excellent poem, and a very vivid account of the power of darkness over us, in creating this alluring illusion of corruption and Greed. Peace!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 9 months ago from Shelton

Hey Jodah, the review was complete.. well done.. the poem goes places we can't predict then goes further.. that's why I enjoy reading your poetry.. mostly..:)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great poem. I really liked how it flowed. The subject matter and how you project it is awesome.

I could not help but think while reading it that a piece of that prince of darkness is even in me.


Abhimanyu gaur profile image

Abhimanyu gaur 9 months ago from India

Amazing poem I enjoyed reading it.


Abhimanyu gaur profile image

Abhimanyu gaur 9 months ago from India

Amazing poem I enjoyed reading it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey manatita bro, thanks for that comment about the left and right..spot on. Cheers for your commentary on the poem too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank....glad you like my poems..mostly too :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Eric, you are too kind. I hope only a tiny bit of that Prince of Darkness is in you. I guess most of us have at some time strayed along those lines.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you very much Abhimanyu gaur. Blessings.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 9 months ago

John, great poem, I am like Ruby, sci-fi is the least interesting reading, but you did the author proud, and if I were her I would put your poem in my book.

Did I ever tell you I love poetry.

Blessings and hugs my friend


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

It seems as though I missed a lot by not discovering Ursula Le Guin during my SiFi days. It sounds as though I would have enjoyed the work.

Your poem fit well here. Nice blend of review and poetry - this Le Guin idea is working for you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Shyron, thanks for reading and your kind comment. A bit late to put my poem in a book written 5 years ago, although there could be a new addition I guess :) Who would have thought you like poetry? Blessings.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Same here Mike, I wish I had discovered her earlier. I have got good value out of writing hubs from her book titles but not sure I can do many more..some of the title left are a little ambiguous, besides I think my readers may be getting sick of everything I write seeming to promote her books :)


tsmog profile image

tsmog 9 months ago from Escondido, CA

Thank you for sharing this gift with words Jodah. Many gifts really as seems their is answer for new books to read in a favorite genre. I look forward to her works. I am just now renewing that along with writing again. The poem remains with me now with contemplation inwardly with mysteries unfolding. Thank you for those revelations I ponder now.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this, Tim, and for the generous comment and glad the poem led you to some internal contemplation. I do hope you have the time to read some of Ursula Le Guin's books.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 9 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Thank you for the review, Jodah. Loved your poem! I am now free with my exam and it feels nice to be back in the company of brliiant writers here on HubPages. Love ya!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

So glad your exam is over Surabi, and hope you get top marks. Good to have you back at HubPages. Thank you for reading this hub and glad you loved my poem. thank you also for writing that wonderful poem for me. I left a comment on your hub. Love ya back.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 9 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Aww. Jodah, thank you so much, my Dear. It was my licensing exam to practice law with Dad. I am sure I did well though. The result will be declared in April. But you know something, I feel like I am not made for law. I feel suffocated when I go to Courts. I feel freedom in my room with my lamp, diary and pen on the table. I am more interested in the world of Creative Writing. Let's hope that I become a great fiction writer like you one day (Smile). I saw your loftiest feedback. It made my day :) You are such a sweetheart!!! Hugs. Hugs. Hugs!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Surabhi, if you want my advice for what it is worth, don't pursue a career that your heart isn't in. Become a qualified lawyer for sure, so that you have that to fall back on. You have so much talent as a creative writer, I am sure you will be successful. It would be a shame if you don't make that your career. I wish I had started writing at your age and I could have turned it into a career I loved. I think you will be a much greater fiction writer than myself. Hugs back.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

What an captivating title, John. I am a science fiction fan also, and am always on the lookout for good writing in this genre. I really liked your poem. "But one day he'll atone...." I believe this as well. The photos are terrific accompaniment to your words.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 9 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Thank you, my Dearest Jodah. I truly appreciate your advice. To me, you will always be a great fiction writer on HubPages. You are beyond compare. Now I won't take much time here. Much Love. Take care.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I appreciate your wonderful comment Genna. When I couldn't have the title I wanted I decided to be a bit of a "smarty pants" and came up with this as well as making the title of my poem "the Right Hand of Darkness." It probably won't do well in Google searches, but so be it. Thank you for your kind words about the poem, and I hope you do manage to read Ursula Le Guin's book. Sounds like it was quite ground breaking when first published.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 9 months ago from Dubai

A great introduction to the book and a great poem. Reading your overview has got me interested in this book, will read.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the generous comment Vellur. So glad that my overview inspired your interest in the book too. Cheers.


annart profile image

annart 9 months ago from SW England

Superb poem and you make Le Guin's book a tempting read, though I'm not usually a sci-fi reader. It's an intriguing idea that is presented here.

Great hub and your poetry always delights.

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Ann, thank you for the generous comment regarding the Poem. I am also glad that you are tempted to read "The Left Hand of Darkness" even though you aren't into sci fi. I must be doing something right :)


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 9 months ago from Stillwater, OK

When I think that you have outdone yourself, you always tend to come up with something more. Bravo!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Deb, I really appreciate that encouraging comment.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 9 months ago from Central Florida

I'm not a sci-fi fan, but I enjoy this series of reviews and poems dedicated to the author nonetheless. You can make anything sound interesting, John!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Shauna for that wonderful comment. I am taking a break from the Le Guin inspired hubs for the moment. I may return to do a few more later in the year.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 8 months ago from Oklahoma

Always a pleasure to read your writing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Larry, the feeling is mutual.


Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa Nichol 2 months ago from Ohio

She remains one of my favorite authors. Great post! I hope others are inspired to check out her selection of novels.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this, Alyssa, and good to see another Le Guin fan. I wrote about ten hubs using the titles of her books as prompts, and was pleased with the results. I too hope others are inspired to read her novels.

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