Alannah Daly, bookseller at Harry Hartog Macquarie, reviews Ursula K. Le Guin's classic, "The Left Hand of Darkness." 

"The Left Hand of Darkness" is a classic of science fiction, bringing the reader into Ursula K. Le Guin’s famous ‘thought experiment’ style of narrative. The story takes place on the icy world of Winter, a planet rendered realistic and believable by Le Guin’s detailed and subtle descriptions, including the occasional mythological or origin stories. Enter into this isolated land a human envoy, Genly Ai, who represents a coalition of planets trying to connect Winter to the wider Universe. What occurs afterwards is a wonderful examination of culture and society, and how significantly it influences our habits and thoughts. This is particularly considered in terms of sex and gender, as Genly Ai struggles to understand the androgynous people of this new world, who are neither male or female. Central to the novel is the concept of duality, a challenge to our society’s tendency to divide and compartmentalise. Through "The Left Hand of Darkness," Le Guin encourages us to be comfortable with differences and to see how opposites often work together; “light, dark. Fear, courage. Cold, warmth. Female, male.” Overall, this book is fascinating, thought-provoking and multi-faceted, offering valuable insights into our lives today.