Over at The Monitor, David Bowles is reviewing some of the best science fiction books of all time. Read his reviews of The Left Hand of Darkness, Ender’s Game, 1984 and Dune, and keep your eyes open for more installments.


Dune cover art via Scientific American

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Due to the distain I have for Orson Scott Card I have never been able to force myself to pick up Ender’s Game. Is it the egotistical tripe I expect it to be? Reviews and plot summaries make it sound terribly derivative and not particularly original.

The Left Hand of Darkness however is heart breakingly good, but also a difficult novel to wade through. I prefer some of the other Hainish novels* for pure enjoyment, but there can be little doubt that Left Hand is the superior artistic work. However I fail to see how it is “feminist” particularly. I think that descriptor does it a disservice, implying as it does that the value of the novel is that it is a novel by a woman that has achieved praise, rather than for its intrinsic artistic value.

*My particular favorite Hainish novels are City of Illusion and Planet of Exile.