Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.
Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1975
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1974
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One of my favorite novels of all time
I Thoroughly Enjoyed It.
Great production of a great scientific fiction classic. The narrator went back and forth between characters with ease. He also highlighted the gravity of the writing, which is spectacular in a clear and simple manner.
Shevek has to be one of the most compelling characters I have every read. I didn't always like him but he served as a touchstone for the ideas and concepts in the book from economics, to the Sapir Whor hypothesis, moral and ethics and physics. A very compelling and thought provoking character.
The scenes of Shevek as a young man were interesting, I couldn't help thinking of Catcher in the Rye at times. I also wondered how powerful this might have been to read this book as a younger man.
The scenes of Shevek with his family were very moving. As a fan of traditional or hard science fiction I typically don't get into more relationship driven stores, but this was an exception. These scenes were a stark contrast to the modern lifestyle of constant entertainment that many of us find ourselves dependent on for fun. It really made you re-evaluate how you decide to spend your time. It was something I did not expect of the novel and I found it fascinating, a real meditation on modern life.
I think it would be too easy to dismiss this story as "anti-Ayn Rand" or "socialist", its really more multi layered than that...If you can be open to a story that will make you rethink social, political, moral, ethical and existential ideas you would truly enjoy the novel. The book is not written in black and while tones, there are critiques and nuances to all the social and political structures that make it incredibly well written.
My only disappointment is that The Left Hand of Darkness is not on Audible, which makes more insight into LeGuins "Hannish Cycle" not complete.
I am really glad I listened/read this novel.