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.
This absurdly funny sci-fi comedy is a fantastic example of how you don’t always need amazing characters to create an amazing story. Buckle up as we use Orson Scott Card’s MICE quotient to analyse what makes this novel work. And remember: don’t panic!