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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
7,381166758 (4.13)1 / 450
Recently added byprivate library, Floyd3345, meryemuu, esplanades, mdhunt, GMcSo, rahkan, coolmama
  1. 61
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (Algybama)
  2. 30
    Island by Aldous Huxley (themulhern)
    themulhern: Two utopian books. The advantage of LeGuin's is that it doesn't have anything worth exploiting and it is a rocket flight away.
  3. 41
    His Master's Voice by Stanisław Lem (TMrozewski)
    TMrozewski: Both deal with the social and cultural roots of science.
  4. 20
    Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Both are books in the Hainish Cycle.
  5. 10
    New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (LamontCranston)
  6. 10
    The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (themulhern)
    themulhern: Two opposing cultures collide in both works. Urras = The Empire but their opposites (Annares and The Culture) have very little in common. Annares is determined by scarcity, the Culture by its lack.
  7. 10
    Embassytown by China Miéville (sparemethecensor)
  8. 10
    Doctor Mirabilis by James Blish (jpers36)
    jpers36: Life story of a genius physicist destined to revolutionize a stagnant culture with his radical scientific insights.
  9. 21
    Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (andomck)
    andomck: Brooding,introspective sci fi/fantasy
  10. 10
    Distress by Greg Egan (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: These books share isolated anarchist communities and discoveries in physics that change everything.
  11. 66
    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
  12. 00
    Gateway by Frederik Pohl (sturlington)
  13. 00
    Amatka by Karin Tidbeck (andomck)
  14. 02
    The Necessary Beggar by Susan Palwick (MyriadBooks)
  15. 25
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (LamontCranston)
  16. 318
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (lauranav)
1970s (85)
Walls (2)

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English (159)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Turkish (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
This book reminds me of Dune. It creates an alien culture where things like space travel are commonplace, yet it still has some vestiges of our ways. It follows a man named Shevek as he travels to the Utopian capitol planet of Urras and seeks answers for things. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
An engrossing read. My friend described it as a pile of ideas disguised as a story, which is pretty accurate. But, I also think the story is well done. It transmits the main character's unease and discomfort very well, and when he finally breaks free it is an incredible relief.

Within the book she describes multiple different societies. How these are presented, and how the main character reacts to their various customs and limitations, will stick in my mind for a long time. ( )
  haagen_daz | Jun 6, 2019 |
Le Guin's idealism is exhilarating and inspiring and *real* despite the completely fantastic setting and situation. She shows the hardships of her utopia, and her perspective of a stranger being introduced to decadent capitalism is so astute. One of my favourite books ever. Everyone with left-wing progressive politics should read it. ( )
2 vote xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Very well written - quite a lot of impact from not a lot of words. Interesting exploration of ideas. ( )
  TravbudJ | Feb 19, 2019 |
What is there to be said? I am in awe.

I have written before about my awe at Le Guin's talent. Her science fiction pushes boundaries of philosophy and society. Her books on other civilizations makes me look differently at our own.

'The Dispossessed' is a powerful story about Shevek, a physicist, who is brought to the planet Urras, specifically the nation of A-Io, because his brand of thinking is the missing link to a major scientific breakthrough.

He comes from Urras' moon/twin planet Anarres which was settled 150 years before as an anarchist society. The societies have had nothing to do with each other since then and Shevek must face hostilities on both sides and try to reconcile his beliefs and those of his hosts. The novel is tightly constructed, alternating chapters of Shevek's present in Urras and his life growing up on Anarres.

But it goes beyond the plot. Without sugar-coating or apologies, Le Guin illustrates how such a society would work, what is possible and, most importantly, what is not possible. There is a reason that "Utopian" fiction has virtually disappeared. There are few writers who could so deftly create a revolutionary society as Le Guin does and clarify and distill so many radical ideologies into as she does in her Odonism.

If I had read this in high school my idealistic rebel stage would have flown into overdrive. Even now I can see the real value that Odonism has and understand exactly the loathing Shevek could put into the words profiteer and propertarian. This is a book that's perfect for debate and discussion, I wish I was an English teacher, or a philosophy professor. Anybody who could introduce this book to as many people as possible. I am going to be reading this again.

Hainish Cycle

Note, the story collection 'The Wind's Twelve Quarters' is essential for the stories 'Day Before the Revolution", which is a companion to 'The Dispossessed', and for "Vaster Than Empires And More Slow"

Next: 'Four Ways to Forgiveness'

Previous: 'The Word for World is Forest' ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Guin, Ursula K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bontrup, HiltrudTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ducak, DaniloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ebel, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ewyck, Annemarie vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leslie, DonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nölle, KarenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyytäjä, KaleviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagetti, CarloForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AnthonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sârbulescu, EmilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valla, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winkowski, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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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Book description
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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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

» see all 5 descriptions

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