There have been some fantastic depictions of the worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin in recent years. The Folio Society produced some fantastic editions of The Left Hand of Darkness and A Wizard of Earthsea, and her massive Earthsea tome from Saga Press recently picked up the Hugo Award for Best Art Book. Artist J Yang produced their own set of artwork for The Left Hand of Darkness, and it’s another fantastic depiction of the icy world of Gethen.
Yang had read the story in high school, and “the book blew my mind when I first read it. It introduced me to science fiction’s ability to challenge societal norms by immersing the reader in a world similar enough to relate to, but with a side helping of different perspectives on an integral part of what our own society is built on.” They were moved to draw up their own renditions of Le Guin’s characters when they picked up The Left Hand of Darkness not long ago, and noted that they “appreciated that all the characters were people of color.”
Speaking with Tor.com, Yang noted that “The Left Hand of Darkness is very important to me because it examines how a society might function differently if gender as a social construct didn’t exist. Think of how different our society would be if EVERYONE was capable of getting pregnant. How gender issues wouldn’t exist if all humans had similar experiences with their bodies!”
Yang published the artwork on Tumblr back in April, noting that they had the urge to draw mountains, and came up with several images, playing with the form of book design, and replicating details like the publisher’s logo, price on the spine, back-cover blurb, and bar code. Scanning that barcode? It works, too.