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The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL 
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Post The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL
I am in a Sci-Fi binge right now, and over the past few months have been reading some of the so-called Classics of the genre which for one reason or another I never got around to reading before. Over the past months I have read and enjoyed: "Dune"...."The Canticles of Lebowitz"..."Hyperion"...and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."

So..it was with eager anticipation that I began reading Ursula Leguin's Nebula AND Hugo winner....The Left Hand of Darkness. I had seen it on so many "Best All-Time SciFi Novels" lists that I felt it to be a must-read for anyone delving into the genre.

Wow...what a letdown! Perhaps my biggest disappointment since I tried the absurdly overrated "One Hundred Years of Solitude" a few years ago. I just could not get into TLHOD. I found it mundane and boring. Way to many difficult names and characters to keep track of. Fictional and abstruse times and dates and calendars which mean nothing and add nothing to the plot...stilted dialogue. And no likable characters to root for or even despise.

I guess the big shocker was supposed to be that there is a race of aliens out there who are hermaphrodites. Who can switch sex and genders at will, practically. Who believe us mono-sexual humans to be the monsters and the freaks. I got about halfway thru and just had to give it up. I felt it to be hopelessly dated. (It IS over 40 years old, but so what? Other, older novels have withstood the test of time, right?)

Oh....I think I discerned that the moral of the story was heading to be something along the lines of the age-old tragedy of what happens when a peoples of a technologically superior world go out and, first visit and observe, and then oppress, a lesser advanced peoples. Like, say, the Europeans and the Native Americans. But if this is the case for her novel, then I think she sure went to convoluted paths to reach that end.

So...dear readers. I ask you: WTF? Is it me? Did I not give this book its proper due? What did I miss? Do you think Left Hand is a classic and deserves all of its accolades?

Thanks for your time.



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Litwitlou
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:34 am
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Post Re: The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL
Slaverz_Bay wrote:
So...dear readers. I ask you: WTF? Is it me? Did I not give this book its proper due? What did I miss? Do you think Left Hand is a classic and deserves all of its accolades?

Thanks for your time.


Most of the time I think the book is a classic of the genre and worthy of accolades. Their is a sci-fi motif in which the author creates a world much like our own and changes only one important fact to explore the effect this change has on everything.

Other times I think they were just eager to find sci-fi book written by a woman to place on the classics list and show the genre is not completely dominated by White Males.

The other books you mention are, in my opinion, simply great. In particular I'd like to thank you for mentioning The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. This is one of my favorite books and Robert A. Heinlein is often unjustly overlooked when listing the grandmasters of the genre. He was the first writer to put a sci-fi book on the NY Times Bestsellers list; for a time he was the only sci-fi writer capable of placing a book on that list. For example: "Stranger in a Strange Land won the 1962 Hugo Award for Best Novel and became the first science fiction novel to enter The New York Times Book Review's best-seller list. In 2012, it was included in a Library of Congress exhibition of "Books That Shaped America". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_ ... range_Land

Off the top of my head I remember Heinlein had #1 Bestsellers with The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset¹. But, again in my opinion, Stranger in a Strange Land cannot be considered anything but one of the top ten classics of the genre.



¹As an aside, this title is taken from the poem Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which reads, in part:


Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.


Always been a big fan of that poem.


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In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.
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Harry Marks
Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:35 am
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Post Re: The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL
I actually just read The Left Hand of Darkness recently, and although it was a little slow-paced for me, I did appreciate it for being about a truly alien society. I've read so many sci-fi books where the aliens are almost human, so TLHOD was a nice change from that.



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Post Re: The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL
To Slaverz_Bay and the others who have posted here: I just got arouond to raqding "The Left Hand of Darkness" myself. FYI, and I 70+ years of age, and have been reading science fiction since it dealt with trips to the moon (see H. G.Wells and Jules Verne), and there was not only life, but intelligent live, on Mars and Venus. My ABCs were Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke. Anyway, I also fund LHOD somewhat tedious and slow moving at times, but I have read other novels by Le Guin, and they all tend to be a bit that way. Still, I mostly enjoyed it. As for the other books mentined, I thoroughtly enjoyed "A Cantifcle for Liebowitz," (I forigve your mis-stating the title), thougth "Dune" was one of the best sci-fi novels ever written (though I was disappointed in most of the sequels), but oddly enough, cannon remember reading "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." Have to look at that one. If you want some classic sci-fi, try Bradbury's A"The Martian Chronicles," but be prepared for the fact that is very dated.

Not a rant, just an old fart rambling. -Cattleman


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Harry Marks
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