The Left Hand of Darkness

This book immersed me in a world of cold and ice, where devious politics threatened to overwhelm me–and the androgyny of the people seemed among the most normal things about them.

As Le Guin says in her introduction,

Yes, indeed the people in it are androgynous, but that doesn’t mean that I’m predicting that in a millennium or so we will all be androgynous, or announcing that I think we damned well ought to be androgynous.  I’m merely observing, in the peculiar, devious, and thought-experimental manner proper to science fiction, that if you look at us at certain odd times of day in certain weathers, we already are.

It’s a testament to the power of Le Guin’s words that I actually read the introduction. Normally I skip such things.  But once started on this one, I couldn’t stop.  The book was lovely, but the introduction has given me food for thought for days.

Thank you, Craig.  Great gift.

The Frozen Sky

At the beginning of this story, I felt disoriented and unconnected from the characters. I almost gave up on the book.

I’m glad I didn’t.  While the character development wasn’t as rich as I’d prefer, it got better.  The real strength of the piece, though, was the exploration of how two radically different cultures might interact at first contact (and how politics would play into that interaction).

Well worth reading.


The main characters in this book dive into sand for treasures from the world that’s been buried under the dunes. They spend much of their lives buried, hardly able to breathe because of the weight of sand grinding in on them.

Much of the book, I felt like I, too, was buried, hardly breathing under the weight of that sand. I don’t know whether that’s genius or torture–or maybe both.

The ending comes as a bright, blessed, release. And considering what the ending is, that troubles me.

Anybody else bothered by their reaction to this book?

An Acceptable Time

A nice enough story about Polly, one of Meg and Calvin’s kids, but it doesn’t have quite the magic of A Wrinkle in Time or the other books in that series.  I’m not entirely sure what makes the difference.  It might be that the science is more fantasy than science.  It might be that the world-building relies a bit too much on the reader having read the other books–I didn’t feel as fully immersed in the story here.

However, if I weren’t comparing it to the amazing experience of Wrinkle, this book would do quite well.  It’s well written, with great characters and complex problems that come to a satisfying, not too simplistic, resolution.  A good book.  Not, perhaps, one I’ll keep coming back to, but one I’m glad I read.

Hunter’s Run

Ramón Espejo isn’t the kind of character I usually take to.  He’s gritty, foul-mouthed, uneducated, and violent.  But I liked him. And I liked the way he figures out who he is and what makes life worth living for him.

The world is rich in detail, the aliens true aliens–in thought as well as look, and the plot both surprising and inevitable.  A great story.  Not quite good enough to make my keeper shelf, but excellent nonetheless.


Dust is the third book in Hugh Howie’s Silo series, and while it continues to have the detailed world-building, interesting characters (Juliet and Donald are both fascinating), and suspenseful, fast-paced plot of the first two, I found myself less invested in this one.  I spent much of the book with the nagging feeling that something was missing–important bits of the complicated groundwork laid in the first two books dropped away, leaving a much less complicated dystopia, with loose threads (characters, bits of the conspiracy) left hanging to unravel or chafe, so that the (admittedly satisfying) ending felt too easy.  Perhaps another book in this world will come and pick up the dropped threads–or perhaps I’m too picky.

Nonetheless, this was fun, and I’d probably pick up another Hugh Howie book, even in this series, if the occasion arose.