Sunday, February 23, 2020

Five of the best books to make you feel less alone

Andrew Hunter Murray is a writer and comedian. He is one of the writers and researchers behind the BBC show QI and also cohosts the spinoff podcast, No Such Thing as a Fish, which, since 2014, has released 250 episodes, been downloaded 200 million times, and toured the world. It has also spawned two bestselling books, The Book of the Year and The Book of the Year 2018, as well as a BBC Two series No Such Thing as the News. He also writes for Private Eye magazine and hosts the Eye‘s in-house podcast, Page 94, interviewing the country’s best investigative journalists about their work. In his spare time he performs in the Jane Austen–themed improv comedy group Austentatious, which plays in London’s West End and around the UK. The Last Day is his debut novel.

At the Guardian, Murray tagged five of the best books to make you feel less alone, including:
Science fiction has taken human loneliness to new, interstellar heights and depths, and Ursula K Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness is one of the greatest examples. It’s set in an icy world where individuals have no fixed biological sex; all are hermaphrodites, barring a few days a month when they enter a sexual state and can reproduce. The apparently unapproachable isolation of the narrator – a visiting male human, who is made alien and freakish by his being permanently male in this world – is slowly broken down by a long journey with one of the planet’s citizens, a disgraced politician in fear of his life. Love and the essential interconnectedness between all life forms trump even the species barrier here, and produce something beautiful and strange.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Left Hand of Darkness is among Kelly Jensen's five inhospitable planets in film and fiction, Ann Leckie's ten best science fiction books, Esther Inglis-Arkell's ten most unfilmable books, Jeff Somers's top five sci-fi novels that explore gender in unexpected and challenging ways, Joel Cunningham's top twelve books with the most irresistible titles, Damien Walter's top five science fiction novels for people who hate sci-fi and Ian Marchant's top 10 books of the night. Charlie Jane Anders included it on her list of ten science fiction novels that will never be movies.

--Marshal Zeringue