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The Science Fiction Book Club: The Left Hand Of Darkness

Hi folks! So we're here to talk about The Left Hand Of Darkness. This is my first shot at this, so it might be a little rough.

I like the book a lot, although the gender- switching was not quite as I expected. Anyway, here are some questions:

-The one biographical fact that is most mentioned about Ursula LeGuin is that her parents were anthropologists. How do you feel this influenced her writing and this book in particular?


-Why do you think LeGuin decided to not describe the full details of the Gethenians' gender identity until a third of the way through the novel? Did you find this disorienting?

-Did you find Ai sympathetic? What about Estraven?

-LeGuin is a student of Taoism, and Ai explicitly mentions the yin/yang symbol. What other religious themes do you find in the book?

-Which society do you find more "alien" - Karhide or Oergereyn?

-How do you think the story wold be different if Ai and Estraven consummated their relationship when Estraven was in Kemmer?


-Do you think Gethen should have joined the Ekumen?

-Would you want to be a Gethenian?

-In a new introduction, LeGuin warns against seeing the book as predictive or prescriptive. Does this change your interpretation of the novel? Do you see any parallels with now or the time it was written?


ETA: In many ways this seems very difficult to film. Do you think an animated movie could work?

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