The Left Hand of Darkness is a visionary sci-fi story about a lone human ambassador to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants’ biology allows them to choose—and change—their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely different culture that he encounters. Exploring psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness is as a landmark achievement – especially considering that it came out in 1969!
In this episode, I examined how despite being very slow-paced (or, perhaps, because of this), Le Guin’s novel is incredibly engaging. Enjoy!
Science fiction space operas are stories told at an epic scale. How can you make such a vast world accessible to readers? How can you ground these fantastical and strange new worlds in a sense of realism?
Balancing the epic with the human is perhaps the greatest strength of Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (first book in The Expanse). Today’s show dives deep into analysing how characters are they key to guiding readers through epic stories.
Subtly conveying information to readers is a delicate skill. It’s one that Rowling mastered in the Harry Potter series, where all the information is available to readers well before it’s needed, but only coalesces at the required moment. In today’s episode, I describe the 4 M’s of subtle foreshadowing, in relation to the Potter saga. Enjoy!
Fitzgerald’s classic chronicle of the Jazz age is often praised for its wonderful prose. In this episode, I examine what makes his prose so stylistically appealing – and we look at how you can write better prose. Keep beating on, boats against the current!
I’ve read this book multiple times and love it more with each re-read. In this episode, I try to figure out why it’s so engaging, and end up categorising problems/conflict into 6 distinctive archetypes which can benefit any story.