Published Date: First published in 1969
Publishing Co.: ACE Science Fiction
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Wooooooo boy. Get ready for unpopular opinion time folks. I fully expect the trolls to come for me on this one.
I’m not entirely sure why I even finished this book. I think only because it is considered a science fiction classic. However, now that I’ve finished it, I wish I had never wasted my time.
It took me almost 3 months to read The Left Hand of Darkness. After an unimpressive start, I took it to work to leave and read on my lunches. Sometimes it’s nice to not tote a book back and forth every day. But putting even 15 minutes into reading it, 5 days a week was a chore. There were some days that I ignored it to play on my phone or I brought another book anyway because I just could not bring myself to pick up.
The promise of a gender fluid society with mating seasons, and how that went against the grain of human society, was what sparked my interest in this novel in the first place. It turns out to be a very small portion of the book. It quickly develops into political intrigue and some of the most boring politics I’ve read yet. I want to say that some of the terminology was never fully explained but it’s possible that my very bored brain skimmed past it and never let it sink in. It’s also still possible that it was not explained.
If I thought I was bored the first half of the book, the second half only proved that it was possible to make it worse. Daily descriptions of a journey across ice and very little dialogue, stretched my patience and I almost threw the book in the garbage. That’s not an exaggeration. I eyeballed that trash can like it was a promise of relief.
The chapters switched back and forth between the two main characters. The problem with this is that both characters sounded much the same and I wasn’t sure who’s point of view I was reading from until sometimes, several pages into each chapter. Neither character was likable and I could care less if they perished before their mission was complete.
The only parts I enjoyed were the small chapters that told myths and legends of the planet of Winter and they were few and far between.
So go ahead, lambaste me that I don’t know good writing or that my small brain just couldn’t comprehend the genius of the author during that time. I don’t care, I should have never tortured myself to finish this.