Saturday, July 06, 2013

Five science fiction novels for people who hate sci-fi

Damien Walter argues that science fiction's "denser stories can seem rebarbative to general readers," so he came up with five books that "tell immediately relevant, compelling tales," including:
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin is among the first major works of feminist SF, alongside Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time and Joanna Russ's The Female Man. I could in fact have included any of Le Guin's novels in this list, but The Left Hand of Darkness arguably marks the point where SF came into its true political strength. Genly Ai is an envoy sent to the planet of Winter to petition for its entry to the Ekumen. But Winter is a world unlike any other, its inhabitants neither male nor female. The construction of identity – of gender, race and class – is at the heart all of today's political and social struggles. Le Guin's genius was to show how SF could be a powerful tool for dissecting and reconstructing those identities.
Read about another novel on the list.

The Left Hand of Darkness is one of Ian Marchant's top 10 books of the night. Charlie Jane Anders included it on her list of ten science fiction novels that will never be movies.

--Marshal Zeringue