Darkness Is Ambidextrous (an Overview of the Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, and a Poem)
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."
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."
"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.
The Right Hand of Darkness
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.
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.
© 2016 John Hansen