Have you read "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula K. Le Guin? It won both Hugo and Nebula awards. I said, sounds interesting, let me read. Half a book through and I am so bored I decided to stop. Book did not engage my interest at all. From the beginning I felt that I was "forced" to continue reading it.
Basically, the novel describes snow covered, earth-like world of Gethen with two rival states Karhide and Orgoreyn. In this cold world, a member of far away civilization, called Ekumen, will arrive. His goal is to persuade Gethenians to accept their membership to Ekumen confederacy. So far OK.
It is not clear why Ekumenian traveled 16 light years to accomplish this task. Of course, Gethenians are suspicious. It appears that they do not even believe that Ekumen really exists. Could envoy do something to convince them? This is a conservative society with unusual reproductive physiology designed for population self-control. Each Gethenian ordinarily exists as an asexual person who periodically undergoes random transformation into female or male personality. If in this sexual stage, male or female personality is able to find his/her kemmering (mate), offspring will be born. This is basically a novel idea. The rest is utterly conventional.
posted by David UsharauliTweet