subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Is she the one with the world where people's real names are secret only to be revealed bwteen intimate relations or something
No, that's the Earthsea series. Knowing someone's (or something's) true name gives a wizard/witch/sorcerer/etc power over them (or it). So people keep their true names secret.
 

catalog

Well-known member
About us:

"Dissensus tackles the big issues of the day and lets the pedants and pundits squeak and gibber in the streets"
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Possibly a TERF offended by all the “ambisexuality”? A woman is a woman, goddamnit!
Calling her a "misogynist" is just ridiculous hyperbole. But the reason is probably because Le Guin uses "he" as a generic neutral pronoun. She later accepted that as valid criticism:
Here's the review in question:

Wow, that was BORING. And incredibly misogynistic in a problematic unchecked way as it was the literal 'othering' of everything feminine. La Guin attempts to make a social commentary about the role of gender in our society, but she falls into the all-too-common trap of villainizing everything associated with 'female' in order to do so. The heteronormative, patriarchal male-as-default is on full display here in a way that undermines every interesting idea La Guin has about gender. She tried to make a point, but ultimately invalidated her own point due to the passive aggressive misogyny the book is laden with.

Fail.

I took into account the time period in which this was written; and feminism in the late 1960's was not what it is today so I tried to not judge the book by today's beliefs. However, I am well educated in feminist history and I feel comfortable in saying that even by 1969 standards, this book would have read as ridiculously sexist. Did it offer up some controversial ideas? For sure; the very idea of a non-binary gender-fluid society would have been enough for book banning and death threats. So I give her credit for following through with the idea. But complete failure on the offering a critical perspective. Gender equity is not achieved through the purging of the feminine; that's just misogyny and LHoD is a book where the feminine is purged.

From a non-feminist standpoint, Estraven and Faxe were the only interesting characters; the former having some fantastically complex traits and desires and the latter being just cool. Other than those two, the book was crazy boring and the progression of time was unbalanced; the story felt just told to us instead of shown which is fine if I'm reading a thesis, but for a story it lacked any sense of importance or immediacy as a result. The only interesting passages were conversation scenes....which were sadly few and far between.

I've been intending to read this book for like a decade and I'm bummed to be as disappointed with it as I am. LaGuin broke barriers, helped shaped my dear dear genre of speculative fiction. I went in expecting the book to be good, not great, but good. And it wasn't even that.

SNORE.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Gender equity is not achieved through the purging of the feminine; that's just misogyny and LHoD is a book where the feminine is purged.
I dunno. It's not something that's ever struck me, so I'd have to go back and look for that in particular. Maybe the reviewer gets that impression because of the generic male pronoun usage, which "excludes women from discourse" (as Le Guin put it). But even if it is true, it wouldn't be misogyny. Rather the reviewer seems to be equating feminine with female, which is hardly a feminist position.

And in any case, as with any book by Ursula Le Guin, my general response would be: Try reading it again ;)
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I haven't read the book so can't comment, but sticking 'BORING', 'SNORE' and 'Fail' in the review made the reviewer sound like a tool.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Finished Left Hand today - absolutely loved it. Severely tempted to shell out 30 euros for the complete illustrated earthsea collection now. Worth it?
 

Benny B

Well-known member
depends if you like the pictures or not.
I havent seen them yet, i suppose i could find a preview somwhere.
But its more just to have all the books at once that I'm tempted by. Quite fancy the idea of breezing through 1000 pages in total immersion - they're 'easy' reads right?
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Right, I'll have a look around then. Or might go with dispossesed first, I dunno.

Thought the ice trek sequence in left hand was particularly stunning, and I loved all the little insert chapters with the Gethen myths and legends, really well done. I'm even tempted to reread this one straight away, which doesnt happen often with novels for me these days, I'm usually just relieved to get to the end
 

Benny B

Well-known member
i like those books where you take a person from one society and put them into another one, totally weird and alien to them so they can observe it as an outsider while at the same time becoming an outsider to their own native culture, it gets denaturalised as they gain distance from it.
This was so well done here through the relationship between Estraven and Genly, and a genuinely beautiful love story too without any cloying cliches to cheapen it.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
No, that's the Earthsea series. Knowing someone's (or something's) true name gives a wizard/witch/sorcerer/etc power over them (or it). So people keep their true names secret.
Not just in Le Guin... think this idea was touched on in The Dark is Rising Series and maybe other places too. I've always assumed from that it was an old belief in one or more societies but I've never looked into that properly.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Also apparently Isis gained power over Ra by tricking him into revealing his true name... that's presumably quite an old example.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Not just in Le Guin... think this idea was touched on in The Dark is Rising Series and maybe other places too. I've always assumed from that it was an old belief in one or more societies but I've never looked into that properly.
Yes, it probably does come from mythology. I can't remember it in the Dark is Rising though. That's more a "secret identity" type thing, isn't it; e.g. Merlin going by Merriman Lyon.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yes but I think there is a bit where one of the evil people is able to overpower the main guy by using his name.. which he never kept secret being a normal person I guess.
 
Top