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September Meet-up: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Hi everyone - Our fearless leader Carissa will be out for this one, though with us in spirit, and I've usurped the group for some science fiction fun! Please join in what will surely be a lively discussion.

Please note: the waiting list for this meetup is not automatic. When you become aware of an opening, go to the event page and manually change your RSVP to "yes".

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

When The Left Hand of Darkness first appeared in 1969, the original jacket copy read, "Once in a long while a whole new world is created for us. Such worlds are Middle Earth, Dune—and such a world is Winter."  Twenty-five years and a Hugo and Nebula Award later, these words remain true. In Winter, or Gethen, Ursula K. Le Guin has created a fully realized planet and people. But Gethen society is more than merely a fascinating creation. The concept of a society existing totally without sexual prejudices is even more relevant today than it was in 1969.

When the human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethen, the planet known as Winter by those outsiders who have experienced its arctic climate, he thinks that his mission will be a standard one of making peace between warring factions. Instead the ambassador finds himself wildly unprepared. For Gethen is inhabited by a society with a rich, ancient culture full of strange beauty and deadly intrigue—a society of people who are both male and female in one, and neither. This lack of fixed gender, and the resulting lack of gender-based discrimination, is the very cornerstone of Gethen life. But Genly is all too human. Unless he can overcome his ingrained prejudices about the significance of "male" and "female," he may destroy both his mission and himself.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born October 21, 1929) is an American author of novels, children's books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays. First published in the 1960s, her work has often depicted futuristic or imaginary alternative worlds in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography.

Le Guin attended Berkeley High School. She received her B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1951, and M.A. from Columbia University in 1952. She became interested in literature at a young age. At age 11, she submitted her first story to the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. It was rejected. Her earliest writings, some of which she adapted in Orsinian Tales and Malafrena, were non-fantastic stories of imaginary countries. Searching for a way to express her interests, she returned to her early interest in science fiction; in the early 1960s her work began to be published regularly.  She has won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award, each more than once. She received wide recognition for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970.


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  • Lucymarie R.

    Jeni did a terrific job. It was a really enjoyable evening. And such a superlative book to talk about. We all missed you, Carissa. Say hello to Brixton for me.

    2 · September 25, 2013

    • Carissa

      Missed all of you too! Hoping to bring Brixton by the next event so everyone can meet my little man!

      September 25, 2013

    • Andrea P.

      Jeni great job and good discussion of a book and genre I never read. Carissa we missed you and curious what you thought of it. Looking forward to meeting Brixton Domingo!!

      September 25, 2013

  • Carissa

    So sorry to have missed the discussion tonight. I did actually read the book and wanted to participate in the conversation. Big, big shout out to Jeni for organizing this month and helping to keep our group going! I appreciate your help so much!

    1 · September 24, 2013

  • Devon D'Ewart H.

    So sorry for the last minute cancellation. I had to take a last minute business trip. I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of the book!

    September 24, 2013

    • Jeni

      Bummer Devon! Hope to see you soon!!

      September 24, 2013

  • gordon p.

    I cannot make it after all tonight, really sad to miss a Le Guin discussion.

    September 24, 2013

    • Jeni

      We will miss you but hopefully can squeeze more Le Guin into the calendar :)

      September 24, 2013

  • Joyce C.

    I'm a little delayed but should be there around 645

    September 24, 2013

    • Jeni

      Sounds good!

      September 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Moving out of area, have to cancel.

    August 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    In for sci-fi! Poll answered.

    July 24, 2013

  • Carissa

    Going to try and make it!

    1 · July 23, 2013

    • Tee

      Ha! You're gonna need a sitter? I volunteer!

      1 · July 24, 2013

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