The Left Hand of Darkness Gets The TV Treatment
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin is headed to television, according to Variety. The novel is celebrated as a work of feminist science fiction.
Why Do we Love Dystopias?
No matter the political climate, dystopia sells. In tumultuous times, people find solidarity in the characters and situations inhabiting a dystopian society. Also, they might find optimism about their current situation. However, in prosperous times, dystopias play into a paranoia about how everything could all go wrong. It takes on a cynical edge. Often, those tales are cautionary stories about our creature comforts getting the best of us. For the most part, dystopian stories made their home on printed page. As such, the movie industry opted for more original dystopian stories. However, in the current golden age of television, these parables can get the elaborate on-screen adaptation they require.
In 2015, Amazon Prime debuted their adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. The story features an alternate history where Germany won WWII. It was a surprise hit, and producers/studio execs across the country recognized dystopia’s comeback. So, Hulu announced a sweeping adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Of course, this coincided with the turbulent 2016 election cycle. And, in late April 2017, The Handmaid’s Tale debuted to immediate critical and audience acclaim. Of course, the next step is to adapt Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic tale.
Darkness On the Air Waves
Critical Content optioned the book and Le Guin is a consulting producer. The announcement did not include where the show would end up. But, it will likely find its way to a streaming service. The story proper revolves around a diplomatic mission to a planet called Gethen. Genly Ai, the main character, must convince the citizens of Gethen to join a planetary alliance. However, his ignorance of the culture proves detrimental to his mission. The Getherians are ambisexual and their gender identity is indiscernible.
On the surface, the book is an exploration of gender fluidity and androgyny. Although, the book proved controversial in LGBT circles. Many felt the book normalized heterosexuality. However, the book won both Hugo and Nebula awards. Warts and all, the appeal to adapt The Left Hand of Darkness is obvious. Socially conscious dystopian fiction is more popular than ever, and not adapting a story with such an impeccable pedigree makes no sense. The show is in early development and does not have a staff yet.
Are you excited for The Left Hand of Darkness? How should the show portray Gethen? Also, which dystopian story would you like to see get the series treatment? Let us know in the comments!