|From: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin|
| Karhide is a country. It's a mythical place.
It is the creation of Ursula K. Le Guin, in her novel The Left Hand of Darkness. It is on the
planet, Winter. The planet is also known as Gethen and its inhabitants are
referred to as Gethenians.
Winter is part of a parable, a metaphor and a myth. Winter itself is a metaphor, in a prfoundly moving book. In The Left Hand of Darkness, there are no men, no women, but only people. The humans of Winter are sexually neutral, until they enter the physiological state of "kemmer". When a Gethenian enters "kemmer", that person only then acquires a physical sexual identity, and only briefly.
What's the difference between masculine and feminine, as opposed to maleness and femaleness? How much is personality and how much is biology?
| What is a "dangerous vision"?
Dangerous Visions was a collection of
science fiction stories, edited by Harlan Ellison, and it was followed by Again, Dangerous Visions. The promised
final volume, The Last Dangerous Visions, never appeared, as far
as I know.
In one of his introductions, to one of the stories, Harlan defined "dangerous vision", as it related to the book(s). In order to be included in the collection, a story had to nibble "at the edge of your sense of reality."
Karhide is a country, where things are not always what they seem to be, on the surface. It is a place of subtlety, of shifgrethor, of loyalty, of humanity, of myth. Karhide is a vision that challenges your sense of reality, your assumptions, your sense of identity.
| Karhide, the web page, should
nibble at the edge of your sense of ordinary and make you take a look
around you, at the extraordinary sights, sounds, and ideas that fill
our world. Shifgrethor is a confusing system of loyalty,
prestige, status, and reciprocal obligations. Much of what we do
in life is driven by "supposed to". We are "supposed to do it
that way". That's the way things are "supposed to be."
Question it. Re-examine everything. Or, better yet, make a trip to Gethen and re-examine yourself.