The Dispossessed

an ambiguous Utopia

Hardcover, 387 pages

English language

Published Aug. 16, 1991 by Harper Paperbacks.

ISBN:
9780061001376
OCLC Number:
23026699

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (16 reviews)

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

51 editions

A political thought experiment

3 stars

The cover blurb for The Dispossessed makes it sound like a thrilling exciting narrative, filled with tension and action:

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life—Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

But that's not what it is, and it's certainly not Le Guin's focus. This is clear in the way she avoids what might be the more dramatic elements of the story, or distances us from them in how they are portrayed. The story is bookended by two examples of that. The opening …

Review of 'Los desposeídos' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Una obra que vuelve a usar la ciencia ficción como entrada pero que es un análisis y una reflexión sobre la sociedad, desde la luna Anarres, donde la sociedad se organiza en un modo anarquista/socialissta al planeta Urras, donde tras un conflicto estos últimos fueron expulsados y donde el planeta se organiza en base a oligopolios y un capitalismo salvaje. Como nexo entre ambos mundos el protagonista intenta establecer un diálogo, intentando propiciar el desarrollo de ambas sociedades con la colaboración científica. Un libro que no deja de ser una reflexión y un golpe sobre la mesa sobre la política, la sociedad y el papel de la ciencia y los científicos.

One of the books I want to keep returning to

5 stars

I first read this book 20 years ago in a German translation and liked it a lot, but I didn't get a lot of it. Now, reading the English original and having had more of a political education, at first I was: "Is this book as good as I remember it?", but then, I enjoyed it even more.

I love that it's not an unbroken utopia and the ending leaves some things open. I also liked how it shows how power-laden relationships and positions can inadvertently creep back into a society that's not supposed to have them.

Review of 'The Dispossessed' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

Shevek's purity fascinates me. The main character, Shevek, lives in an austere, nominally anarchistic society on a barren yet habitable planet. Prodigious in theoretical physics, Shevek pursues a kind of unified theorem of space-time that will, among other things, make possible the "ansible" -- an instantaneous communication device invented by Le Guin and common throughout science fiction universes.

The Dispossessed escapes science fiction as do so many great imaginative novels. Anarres, Shevek's home planet, has a twin, Urras, flush with diverse ecologies and aggressively competitive political factions. Yet we readers see surprisingly little of the political strife on Urras -- save one harrowing chapter -- just as we examine very little of Shevek's physics. Le Guin entrances us readers with this subtle slight of the writer's hand: what's hidden on Urras must be all too familiar to us, all too real; what's slowly, impossibly being revealed on Anarres must be …

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Subjects

  • Science Fiction - General
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Science Fiction

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