Left Hand Dark

The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula Le Guin (1969)

This was a paperback I owned for a long time. It won Hugo and Nebula Awards and was generally applauded. I tried reading it twice, both times gave up after frustration and boredom. So when it appeared as a radio drama production, I tried again.

The story follows Genly Ai, a native of Terra, who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Ai’s mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture.

Individuals on Gethen are ambisexual, with no fixed sex. This fact has a strong influence on the culture of the planet, and creates a barrier of understanding for Ai.

Third time.. nope.

It’s still an unrelenting bore. Nothing really happens, and despite the interesting sexual idea, it never resolves into anything of consequence.