This week’s book recommendation, and first of 2018, is The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story takes place on a planet called Winter, which is fitting because it is f***ing cold outside right now. It centers around a man who is visiting the planet in hopes of persuading its people to join an interplanetary civilization, but the most interesting aspect of the book is that on this particular planet there are no genders. That’s right. No one is specifically male or female. Everyone is human, but no genders. But what about sex, you ask? You’re human. Of course you’re intrigued. Well, they’re still human too so they do have sex. They just don’t know who will be the one giving birth if a child is conceived. Technically, the person who gets pregnant is random. LeGuin goes into the biology of it a bit, naturally, so read the book if you want to know more.
Master wordsmith LeGuin asks, way back in 1969 when the book was published, what would happen if there were no genders. This could possibly be rephrased to “What if sex wasn’t such a prevalent factor in society?” It’s an interesting question and I think her portrayal of an answer may surprise you. I also believe that this questioning (though not the main topic of the story) is extremely prevalent to what has been going on in our own society of late. I won’t get into this topic too much because I could write for days about it, but check out this book because it’s a good book that ventures a cool question.