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The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Dispossessed (1974)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hainish Cycle (5), Hainish Cycle, Chronological (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,839120724 (4.14)1 / 364
  1. 40
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (Algybama)
  2. 31
    His Master's Voice by Stanisław Lem (TMrozewski)
    TMrozewski: Both deal with the social and cultural roots of science.
  3. 10
    Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Both are books in the Hainish Cycle.
  4. 00
    Doctor Mirabilis by James Blish (jpers36)
    jpers36: Life story of a genius physicist destined to revolutionize a stagnant culture with his radical scientific insights.
  5. 00
    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (sturlington)
  6. 11
    Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (andomck)
    andomck: Brooding,introspective sci fi/fantasy
  7. 00
    Distress by Greg Egan (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: These books share isolated anarchist communities and discoveries in physics that change everything.
  8. 45
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: A different moon, a different anti-authoritarian community, but the same experience of thinking about other ways to run human societies
  9. 02
    The Necessary Beggar by Susan Palwick (MyriadBooks)
  10. 24
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (LamontCranston)
  11. 216
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (lauranav)
1970s (55)

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English (116)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
I really like how Ursula Le Guin incorporates philosophy into her SF stories. The characters and the story were great, but as an added bonus it made you really think about our attitudes about possession and how it would look if everything was shared and nothing was truly "mine". It is written really well and you can see why it won so many awards. ( )
  renbedell | Sep 8, 2015 |
Prizewinner. First of Haihish Cycle. ( )
  clifforddham | Aug 29, 2015 |
O livro é interessante mas em certo momento as descrições são um pouco cansativas. A história dá-nos a visão do narrador (um físico brilhante) que parte da Lua (Urras) , onde vigora um sistema perfeitamente Marxista e popular de vida em que todos fazem o trabalho que lhes é assignado e que é mais útil à comunidade e que não podem ser egoístas, devendo partilhar tudo. Nesse sentido não há ambições de algo mais e nos níveis superiores qualquer publicação é levada a comités de aprovação, havendo uma censura a tudo.

Ao partir para o outro planeta (Anarres) vai descobrir uma opulência e consumismo exacerbado onde pretendem utilizar a sua mente brilhante (os diversos governos das várias regiões) para poderem implementar uma nova forma de viajar e aí vê-se confrontado com uma exploração da sua pessoa.

O livro filosofa um pouco excessivamente mas tem uma 2ª parte mais interessante que a primeira. De qualquer forma é intrigante perceber como recebeu tantos prémios. ( )
  bruc79 | Jul 31, 2015 |
Easily identifiable as a Le Guin work, this story is non-chronological and manages to fully realize two societies without providing detailed descriptions of every imaginable aspect of them. Instead, situations, events, beliefs, and paradigms shared by characters work to plunge the reader into alien cultures with the sort of 'instant immersion' method used in modern language studies. The tale follows Shevek, a brilliant physicist who has lived his life on an isolated moon colony with a group of dissidents, anarchists who lift their home planet several generations ago. As the novel opens he is leaving to return to the home planet (a place filled with profiteers and social classes) to complete his theory of Simultaneity, and to try to share cultures and unite two isolated worlds. As the novel remarks:

"He was alone, here, because he came from a self-exiled society. He had alwavs been alone on his own world because he had exiled himself from his society. The Settlers had taken one step away. He had taken two. He stood by himself, because he had taken the metaphysical risk.

And he had been fool enough to think that he might serve to bring together two worlds to which he did not belong."

Through Shevek's eyes the reader sees the advantages and disadvantages of a communal society and a capitalist society, the tendency of bureaucracy (and hierarchies) to creep into groups, the resolute way in which people blind themselves to the truth of the world around them, and the changes that immersion in a new culture, in the other, will bring. He goes forth, throughout his life, with empty hands, a stranger and a brother even as he completes a theory that will change all of the communicating Hainish worlds.

The novel's near perfect ending includes the poignant statement, "But he had not brought anything. His hands were empty, as they had always been."

Acute, poignant, world building and society building-- the novel does not preach or provide allegory. Rather it creates, without condoning or condemning the worlds or those who populate them. It leaves the reader not only lacking all of the answers, but feeling that they don't even have all of the questions. When it finished my chest ached, yet I wanted nothing changed about where or how the novel stopped. The tale is unapologetic, eloquent, and beautiful. ( )
3 vote Ailinel | May 3, 2015 |
Ideas alone do not make great novels. I see this truth most clearly illustrated in Orwell's 1984, but there have been many other novels that neglected the story for some random thought or theory. There are many people who love these stories—I, in my many attempts to figure out what is wrong with me, cannot figure out why. I tend to find them not only boring, but unrealistic (NO! Not the rats! Not the RATS!!!). So anytime I come across a novel that is the next great such-and-such or anti-such-and-such, I am wary. Even if it is promoting a philosophy I agree with, I'd rather read about it in a work of non-fiction. When I sit down to read a story, I want a story, and I want characters; I don't not want political theory.

So I had some apprehension about reading Le Guin's The Dispossessed. I'd heard of comparisons and they were not pleasant comparisons. Add to that my lack of comfort with many science-fiction stories (I love sci-fi, but most of what I've read is weak in one regard or another). But I'd also heard so many good things about Le Guin in general that I knew I couldn't drag my feet forever.

The Dispossessed is certainly guilty of pandering to theory-seekers. There are moments when Le Guin lets the story get away from her and become a discourse on government. Characters step out of character and discuss politics in a manner that doesn't seem organic. But these moments are few and far between. Overall, Le Guin keeps to the story and the story is a good one. Not only is Shevek's journey to Urras and his subsequent understandings interesting, but the worlds Le Guin has created here are wonderfully built; careful attention is given to ecology, topography, etc., and especially to society.

I thought the concluding chapters were a little shaky. They distracted from the novel's best moments. But that's the worst I can say about this novel. There are those distractions, moments when the theory takes center stage, but these distractions kindly step aside and let the story have its share of the spotlight. A refreshing variation in regards to the idea-based novel. ( )
  chrisblocker | Apr 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ducak, DaniloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ebel, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyytäjä, KaleviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagetti, CarloForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AnthonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valla, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winkowski, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was a wall.
You shall not go down twice to the same river, nor can you go home again. That he knew; indeed it was the basis of his view of the world. Yet from that acceptance of transience he evolved his vast theory, wherein what is most changeable is shown to be fullest of eternity, and your relationship to the river, and the river's relationship to you and to itself, turns out to be at once more complex and more reassuring than a mere lack of identity. You can go home again, the General Temporal Theory asserts, so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.
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The protagonist Shevek is a physicist attempting to develop a General Temporal Theory. Anarres is in theory a society without government or coercive authoritarian institutions. Yet in pursuing research that deviates from his society's current consensus understanding, Shevek begins to come up against very real obstacles. Shevek gradually develops an understanding that the revolution which brought his world into being is stagnating, and power structures are beginning to exist where there were none before. He therefore embarks on the risky journey to the original planet, Urras, seeking to open dialog between the worlds and to spread his theories freely outside of Anarres. The novel details his struggles on both Urras and his homeworld of Anarres.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061054887, Mass Market Paperback)

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, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:08 -0400)

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Shevek, a brilliant physicist attempts to reunite two planets cut off from each other by centuries of distrust.

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