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Old 02-12-2019, 03:47 PM   #106
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Having read the thread (and the book twice in the past), I must disagree that The Left Hand Of Darkness was a "ground breaking" work. A major, (and superior writer) covered most of these topics in a S/F novel in 1959!

The book - Venus Plus X

The Author - Theodore Sturgeon.

A bit clunky? Yes, but no more so that Le Guin's work. The difference was the times it was released in. . .
Yes. Theodore Sturgeon was a very gifted writer who had an extraordinary imagination and a profound humanity. Still, I’m not sure that I agree that he was a “superior writer”. At her best (e.g. The Tombs of Atuan) LeGuin had a very disciplined style and a philosophical depth which achieved great emotional power and I think she equalled Sturgeon at those moments.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #107
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Yes. Theodore Sturgeon was a very gifted writer who had an extraordinary imagination and a profound humanity. Still, I’m not sure that I agree that he was a “superior writer”. At her best (e.g. The Tombs of Atuan) LeGuin had a very disciplined style and a philosophical depth which achieved great emotional power and I think she equalled Sturgeon at those moments.
Yes, The Tombs of Atuan is my favorite book of hers, although I haven't read a lot of them, not even all the Earthsea ones.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:53 PM   #108
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Yes. Theodore Sturgeon was a very gifted writer who had an extraordinary imagination and a profound humanity. Still, I’m not sure that I agree that he was a “superior writer”. At her best (e.g. The Tombs of Atuan) LeGuin had a very disciplined style and a philosophical depth which achieved great emotional power and I think she equalled Sturgeon at those moments.
<shrug> I'll stack up any day, (off the top of my head) Thunder And Roses, A Saucer Full Of Loneliness, and The Man Who Lost The Sea, against anything Le Guin wrote. (Or just about anybody, for that matter. . .)
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:32 AM   #109
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Having read the thread (and the book twice in the past), I must disagree that The Left Hand Of Darkness was a "ground breaking" work. A major, (and superior writer) covered most of these topics in a S/F novel in 1959!

The book - Venus Plus X

The Author - Theodore Sturgeon.

A bit clunky? Yes, but no more so that Le Guin's work. The difference was the times it was released in. . .
It does not do to dismiss "the times it was released in" too lightly. Most "ground breaking" things only break ground when the ground is ready to be broken. Besides which, some of the previous posts agree that ground breaking is not precisely the right term anyway - more like ice-breaking (as in breaking the ice so the conversation could start). But the same problem arises, people will only start talking when they're ready. 1959 was too soon. 1969, it seems to me, was running a little late. Added to all that, I think Le Guin's gender - and her personality - plays a part in her work being the one chosen to open the discussion.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:13 PM   #110
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It does not do to dismiss "the times it was released in" too lightly. Most "ground breaking" things only break ground when the ground is ready to be broken. Besides which, some of the previous posts agree that ground breaking is not precisely the right term anyway - more like ice-breaking (as in breaking the ice so the conversation could start). But the same problem arises, people will only start talking when they're ready. 1959 was too soon. 1969, it seems to me, was running a little late. Added to all that, I think Le Guin's gender - and her personality - plays a part in her work being the one chosen to open the discussion.
Ice-breaking was a great way to put that. I think you got to the essence of the book.

Genly Ai wasn't a man of the Ekemun. He was a man of the mid 20th century who wasn't ready for that conversation until he reached the right time and place and was being rescued from desperate circumstances.

Reading the novel this time around, I could see how weak the book was as a sci-fi novel. There were a lot of gaping holes in the world-building.

I suspect that the book was set in the future to make it more palatable to discuss gender at that remove.
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