The story line is quite simple: Genly Ai has arrived on the planet Winter in an effort to enlist the people in a growing association of intergalactic civilizations. There are many layers to this classic science fiction novel, but foremost is the exploration of gender roles. On this planet, the people are androgynous and sexless until they are ready to breed. At that time they may become a male or female, depending on who they meet. A resident of Winter can be a father of three, and also a mother to four. Le Guin has created a tale that feels epic in scope, but is also quite moving on an intimate human scale. For a book written in 1969, The Left Hand of Darkness feels very relevant to our world today. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.