Centuries ago, the moon Anarres was settled by utopian anarchists who left the Earthlike planet Urras in search of a better world, a new beginning. Now a brilliant physicist, Shevek, determines to reunite the two civilizations that have been separated by hatred since long before he was born.The Dispossessed is a penetrating examination of society and humanity -- and one man's brave undertaking to question the unquestionable and ignite the fires of change.
- Hugo Awards
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . A classic
Posted August 29, 2009 by Christopher C , New York CityA great work of speculative fiction, exploring how even a seemingly utopian society will break down in light of human complacency. The novel is somewhat dated, writen in 1974, and won the Hugo and Nebula awards. Set in Le Guin's wider "Hainish" universe, it explores the difficulties of a brillant and creative person in an anarcho-communitarian society that has traded the promise of a perfectly free society for a dour, coercive egalitarianism. Set against a mother world (the anarchist society is on a moon of that world and, in reality, little more than a resource colony for the mother planet which exiled the anarchist revolutionaries who threatened its social order a century before). The protagonist seeks some reapproachment with the mother world, but never loses sight of his desire to be free within his own society. As he reflects, "what good is it to be in an anarchist society if you can't behave as one?". A novel of ideas that may leave those looking for a sci-fi thriller cold, but will reward anyone interested in a richly observed world both familiar and strange to our own.
2 . Not so much sci-fi as a cultural assessment.
Posted December 19, 2008 by Corey , Peoria, ILThe book is pretty well written, in that the use of grammar is intelligent and lends some depth to the characters. But over and over and over, this book left the distinct feeling the author was working an enlightenment angle, as though the protagonist was assessing our culture and found it lacking. I could deal with that, if it was even close to being a good assessment. Unfortunately, most of it came off as cliche, and lended any real depth to the current of arguments. Well done, from a perspective of color and writing style, but annoyingly present with the appearance of a hollow agenda. Like following a rainbow for a road, it ends up going nowhere. Some might really enjoy it, but it wasn't my thing.
August 14, 2003
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Excerpt from The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb, it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an, idea of boundary. But the idea was real. It was important. For seven generations there had been nothing in the world more important than that wall.
Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.
Looked at from one side, the wall enclosed a barren sixty-acre field called the Port of Anarres. On the field there were a couple of large gantry cranes, a rocket pad, three warehouses, a truck garage, and a dormitory. The dormitory looked durable, grimy, and mournful; it had nogardens, no children; plainly nobody lived there or was even meant to stay there long. It was in fact a quarantine. The wall shut in not only the landing field but also the ships that came down out of space, and the men that came on the ships, and the worlds they came from, and the rest of the universe. It enclosed the universe, leaving Anarres outside, free.
Looked at from the other side, the wall enclosed Anarres: the whole planet was inside it, a great prison camp, cut off from other worlds and other men, in quarantine.
A number of people were coming along the road towards the landing field, or standing around where the road cut through the wall.
People often came out from the nearby city of Abbenay in hopes of seeing a spaceship, or simply to see the wall, After all, it was the only boundary wall on their world. Nowhere else could they see a sign that said No Trespassing. Adolescents, particularly, were drawn to it. They came up to the wall; they sat an it. There might be a gang to watch, offloading crates from track trucks at the warehouses. There might even be a freighter on the pad. Freighters came down only eight times a year, unannounced except to syndics actually working at the Port, so when the spectators were lucky enough to see one they were excited, at first. But there they sat, and there it sat, a squat black tower in a mess of movable cranes, away off across the field. And then a woman came over from one of the warehouse crews and said, "We're shutting down for today, brothers." She was wearing the Defense armband, a sight almost as rare as a spaceship. That was a bit of a thrill. But though her tone was mild, it was final. She was the foreman of this gang, and if provoked would be backed up by her syndics. And anyhow there wasn't anything to see. The aliens, the off-worlders, stayed hiding in their ship. No show.