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By Melissa Scott

Discussed May 1999

Buy Shadow Man

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you think the gender issues and pronouns were handled? What difference would it have made in the "Left Hand of Darkness" if pronouns were condition-specific?
  2. Drugs seem to play a fairly large role in the life of Hara, how do you think this affected their culture and their way of thinking?
  3. How is the government/familial structure on Hara similar/different to that of Gethen in "The Left Hand of Darkness?"
  4. How many different "outsiders" are represented in the book and what roles do they play in Harran society?
  5. Do you think Warreven changed throughout the book? If yes, is there an instigating moment and do you think he would have without that moment?
  6. The society that Melissa conjurs is one that is ruled by deadly disease and the attempt at the prevention of spread of disease. Do you see our society getting to that level?
  7. Do you think Harran society could happen today on earth? In terms of gender reassignment? In terms of the demonization of the "other"?
  8. Which do you think it would be harder to imagine, five distinct genders or nine distinct orientations? Why?
  9. The social and political path taken by Warreven and his compatriots in many ways mimics the path the gay community in our day has taken for gaining acceptance. What do the outcomes of the various acts committed seem to say about our own struggle and chances for success?

This page maintained by Rob Gates. Last updated March 10, 2001.

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