Literary critic, Harold Bloom, argues that "LeGuin, more than Tolkien, has raised fantasy into high literature, for our time". In this episode we’re reading Ursula K. LeGuin’s SF Fantasy experiment in post-gender politics, The Left Hand of Darkness, first published in 1969. Helen is joined in the studio by a much admired previous Literary Punk guest: outstanding Melbourne writer and SF scholar, Chris Palmer.
In the novel the outlawed Lord Estraven says of the compelling need for Gethenians to get with the times and incorporate difference: “What does it matter what country wakens first? So long as we waken.” Helen and Chris discuss what LeGuin’s book has woken in us, the way her narrative has changed the way we think about gender, sexual politics and even storytelling in “indescribable ways” - LeGuin’s own measure for how a good book should leave its reader.