Brooke's Reviews > The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
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's review
Oct 02, 2007

really liked it
Read in January, 2005

Old book blogging...

Ursula K. LeGuin is a fantastic SciFi/Fantasy writer. I've read another one of her books several months ago, that I have forgotten the title of. She writes very sensitively, very strong in the human element. The Dispossessed was a very interesting look at what an anarchist society would be like in "reality". ie. if it were allowed to exist on a separate moon of a capitalist planet after a revolution and to evolve over the course of 150 years. What I liked best about it, though, was that it wasn't your typical utopian society kind of book, trying to shock you with all the differences between modern culture and what the future could potentially hold if society evolved differently...The impact of humans and human decisions and emotions on the course of the Odonian society was strong, and made the story extremely believable. Even though it is set thousands of years in the future on a planet light years away, I could still relate to it in the main character's struggle for individuality, without abandoning his strong sense of collective. Also, the book had a lot of semi-advanced temporal physics, which was interesting in it's concepts of time, and how those could progress logically from the Theory of Relativity...if an alien race took that theory and ran with it in order to understand the simultaneity of time. I got lost in parts, not being a temporal physicist, but the rest of the story was strong enough for it not to matter if you got a little bogged down in the science.

I feel as if I'm doing this book a terrible injustice, because I am already forgetting it. It wasn't very fast-paced, and mainly revolved around the life story of Shevek, the physicist, who is the first man from the anarchist society on the moon to return to their home planet despite strong opposition. The society on the home planet was much like the capitalist american society and was rather shocking and painful to see through the eyes of a character who had only known sharing and never owned anything in his life. I liked it best because it took me out of the modern "owning" mindset and let my imagination run with the thoughts of what it would be like to be free of "stuff", and the power struggles, and the desire to always have more than we need. And yet, it wasn't written like a lesson or a diatribe against capitalism. It was more like an exploration into the "what if" ideas for which I appreciate science fiction so much.
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