I just read The Left Hand of Darkness. I think I was thirteen the last time I read it, and I still don’t really have anything to say about it. Maybe about forty years has changed stuff enough that it’s just not as big a thing for me as it is for The Old People?
I don’t know. Pronouns are very heavy to me – it feels like cheating that LeGuin calls her hermaphrodites “he.” It’s the same reason I feel uncomfortable with seeing slash as feminist-to-the-bone, and why I refuse to entertain the idea that Torikaebaya Monogatari could have been written by a woman*. Maybe some people can read a character explicitly described as male as androgynous or female, but I just can’t, and I have trouble buying the writers could, either. “He” probably is the default pronoun in my head, but that doesn’t render it genderless in the absence of explicit football and power tools.
I have written a paragraph criticizing The Left Hand of Darkness in my LiveJournal. I am unconventional and brilliant! You will offer me an awesome job in Japan at once.
Okay, two things.
1) The edition I’m reading – the one with the crazy ice-heads on the cover – has a lot of typos. One of the place names is spelled three different ways.
2) On the back cover there’s a blurb from Michael Moorcock calling it “as profuse and original in invention as The Lord of the Rings.” Isn’t Moorcock supposed to hate Tolkien?
* Though of course Torikaebaya doesn’t have pronouns, and I was going on about that before, and, yeah. But Sensei told me he was pretty sure that at least some of the titles would have to have been read as completely gender-bound, so I’m going to pretend it’s the same thing and just totally ignore all attempts to call me on it.