New York: Ace Publishing Corporation, 1969. 1st Edition. 12mo, publisher's illustrated stiff paper wraps, all edges stained marigold.
True first edition of LeGuin's groundbreaking Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel: "Light is the left hand of darkness/and darkness the right hand of light./Two are one, life and death, lying/together like lovers in kemmer/like hands joined together,/like the end and the way." Part of her loosely connected "Hainish Cycle" of novels and stories, The Left Hand of Darkness tells of a human ethnologist's fraught engagement with the gender-fluid, "ambisexual" inhabitants of the planet Gethen. LeGuin's world-building rivals that of Frank Herbert's in Dune, published four years earlier, while her exploration of the themes of social equality and sexual identity established the book as an epochal work of feminist science fiction. "Delicate yet daring in its handling of sexual themes, narrated with immense gravitas, The Left Hand of Darkness remains Ursula LeGuin's masterpiece" (David Pringle, Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels). This mass market paperback edition precedes the hardcover edition published by Walker and Company by several months. Upper wrap illustrated by prolific Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon. Lightest rubbing to tail of spine, with bottom corner of lower wrap creased. Very nearly fine. Item #2263