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The Left Hand of Darkness explores the themes of sexual identity, incest, xenophobia, fidelity, and betrayal in a tale of an Earth ambassador, Genly Ai, who is sent to the planet of Gethen, whose inhabitants are androgynous. Through his relationship with a native, Estraven, Ai gains understanding both of the consequences of his fixed sexual orientation and of Gethenian life. As in many of her works, Le Guin incorporates a social message in her science fiction tale. Scholes feels that "the great power of the book comes from the way it interweaves all its levels and combines all its voices and values into an ordered, balanced, whole."
"As profuse and original in invention as The Lord of the Rings." --Michael Moorcock
"What got to me was the quality of the storytelling. She's taken the mythology, psychology--the entire creative surround--and woven it into a jewel of a story." --Frank Herbert
"[A] science fiction masterpiece." --Newsweek
Winner of both the Hugo & Nebula Awards 1970
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