This book can realistically be called a classic. Originally published in 1969, I found this novel when our bookstore opened in 2011. After picking it up on a whim, I sat down and literally couldn’t stop reading. The characters are fascinating, Le Guin’s take on gender roles/identity in her imagined world was something I’d never read before, and the societies that are at odds with one another are believably antagonistic. Readers view the story through the eyes of an outsider, a man sent to a foreign planet in an effort to make contact and establish diplomatic relations, so his reactions are much like what our own might have been, his epiphanies that much more poignant for that same reason. I highly recommend this novel to people who like more traditional science fiction and who don’t mind a bit of genderbending.
— Caitlyn, Raleigh
*Now celebrating its 50th anniversary*
A deluxe hardcover edition of the queen of science fiction’s trailblazing novel about a planet full of genderless beings—part of Penguin Galaxy, a collectible series of six sci-fi/fantasy classics, featuring a series introduction by Neil Gaiman
Winner of the AIGA + Design Observer 50 Books | 50 Covers competition
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary’s mission to Winter, an unknown alien world whose inhabitants can 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 dissimilar culture that he encounters. Exploring questions of psychology, society, and human emotion in an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of science fiction.
Six of our greatest masterworks of science fiction and fantasy, in dazzling collector-worthy hardcover editions, and featuring a series introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, Penguin Galaxy represents a constellation of achievement in visionary fiction, lighting the way toward our knowledge of the universe, and of ourselves. From historical legends to mythic futures, monuments of world-building to mind-bending dystopias, these touchstones of human invention and storytelling ingenuity have transported millions of readers to distant realms, and will continue for generations to chart the frontiers of the imagination.
The Once and Future King by T. H. White Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein Dune by Frank Herbert 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin Neuromancer by William Gibson
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin is the first author to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards twice. Her novels include Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, and The Dispossessed. Born in Berkeley, California, in 1929, Le Guin lives in Portland, Oregon.
Neil Gaiman (series introduction) is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, including American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and the Sandman series of graphic novels. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
Alex Trochut (cover designer) is an award-winning artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and typographer. He has designed for The New York Times, The Guardian, Nike, Adidas, The Rolling Stones, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi and was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. Born in Barcelona, Spain, he lives in Brooklyn.
“One of the coolest gifts you can get for your favorite sci-fi geek . . . You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but these new Penguin Galaxy hardcovers make it really hard.” —Gizmodo
“Serious science fiction and fantasy readers cannot resist the classics. . . . That’s what makes the Penguin Galaxy series so appealing. . . . Each of the novels here has earned their place in the halls of literary history. . . . Their small form factor and minimalist covers call out to readers and make them fun to read all over again.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[A] science fiction masterpiece.” —Newsweek
“No single work did more to upend the genre’s conventions than The Left Hand of Darkness.” —The Paris Review
“A jewel of a story.” —Frank Herbert, author of Dune