“IT IS A TERRIBLE THING, THIS KINDNESS… WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO GIVE”: FIRST EDITION OF URSULA K. LEGUIN’S MASTERPIECE, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, INSCRIBED BY HER
LEGUIN, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Walker, (1969). Octavo, original gray cloth-textured boards, original dust jacket. $5600.
First hardcover edition of LeGuin’s award-winning book, “one of the three or four most influential science fiction novels of the last half-century”—a lyrical and challenging tale of politics, gender and love on an alien world, inscribed and signed by her on the front free endpaper, "To Dave, with all good wishes, Ursula."
Set on Gethen (also simply called "Winter"), a world of snow and ice populated by androgynous beings who assume female or male characteristics at peak fertility, LeGuin's acclaimed novel follows human ethnologist Genly Ai's reluctant involvement in the planet's politics, as well as his romantic involvement with Estraven, an exiled Gethenian elite. LeGuin masterfully constructs a truly alien society, and expertly shifts between human and non-human perspectives to prompt readers to reconsider attitudes about social equality, sexual identity and personal relationships. The book helped firmly establish its author as one of the genre's most important. "Not only does the science fiction community recognize how good she is, everyone else recognizes it too" (Holdstock, 181). It won both the Nebula and Hugo awards. "Delicate yet daring in its handling of sexual themes, narrated with immense gravitas, The Left Hand of Darkness remains Ursula LeGuin's masterpiece" (Science Fiction 100 Best 60). "One of the three or four most influential science fiction novels of the last half-century" (Anatomy of Wonder II-643). This hardcover edition was preceded in the same year by a pulp paperback edition, published with very poor production standards by Ace Books. Currey, 246.
Book fine, bright dust jacket very nearly so. An excellent inscribed copy.