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The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #1)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  52,457 Ratings  ·  2,916 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 m

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Paperback, 387 pages
Published 1991 by HarperCollins (first published May 1974)
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Cj I'm reading this now for the first time: I think it reads more as a character study than a sci-fi novel; the sci-fi is more to show a dystopian alien…moreI'm reading this now for the first time: I think it reads more as a character study than a sci-fi novel; the sci-fi is more to show a dystopian alien culture. Think more Orwellian than lesser known Niven for how it holds up.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Manny
First of all: if you haven't already read The Dispossessed, then do so. Somehow, probably because it comes with an SF sticker, it isn't yet officially labeled as one of the great novels of the 20th century. They're going to fix that eventually, so why not get in ahead of the crowd? It's not just a terrific story; it might change your life. Ursula Le Guin is saying some pretty important stuff here.

So, what is it she's saying that's so important? I've read the book several times since I first came
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Joe S
Nov 29, 2007 Joe S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Ursula. No longer will I love you in a vaguely ashamed manner, skulking through chesty-women-blow-shit-up-also-monster! book covers in the sci-fi/fantasy aisles with a moderate velocity as though I am actually trying to find Civil War biographies but am amusingly lost amongst all these shelves, that's so like me, need a GPS for Borders. Today, I will begin loving you publicly, proudly, for you are the Anti-Ayn Rand. You do not skullf**k Ayn Rand and make her your bitch, no, too easy. You tak ...more
mark monday
Feb 05, 2012 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why America Is Full of Toxic Bullshit and Why Ambiguous Utopias Need to Check Themselves Before They Wreck Themselves Going Down the Same Fucked-Up Path
by Ursula K. Le Guin.

this excellent novel-cum-political treatise-cum-extended metaphor for the States lays its thesis out in parallel narratives. in the present day (far, far, far in the future), heroically thoughtful protagonist Shevek visits the thinly-veiled States of the nation A-Io on the planet Urras in order to both work on his Theory of
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Matthias
Oct 29, 2016 Matthias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthias by: Manny
Shelves: favorites, my-reviews
More than two months have passed since I've closed this book. While my traditional reviewing habit was one of immediately rushing to the closest laptop after reading the last line and sharing my excitement or the lack thereof in some hopefully original way, I felt a need to really let Le Guin's words sink fully into my mind and make them my own. (Actually, I've mostly just been very lazy in the reviewing department lately, but "letting words sink in" just sounds a little better.) But when it com ...more
Lyn
There are some books that even with my untrained, unskilled and inexperienced eye can detect and confirm are true works of art, mastery in literature.

Other works, perhaps less skillfully written or not as masterfully created, still strike a chord within me and I can grasp the vision and voice of the author as if we were friends, as if we shared a thought. It is truly rare when I can see that a book is both a work of art and that also touches me in a way that leaves a mark on my soul, perhaps ev
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 01, 2011 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
When I started this novel I was a little worried because the prose seemed clunky and I was having a hard time settling into the novel. After a few pages that all changed, either I adjusted to her writing style or the writing smoothed out. If you experience this, hang in there, it is well worth sticking with this book.

Dispossessed4

I see some reviewers think of The Dispossessed as an anti-Ayn Rand book. I didn't come away with that impression at all. I thought LeGuin did an excellent job of showing the fallac
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Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
«Ωδή στο "όραμα" της ουτοπίας που ως "στόχος" ακυρώνεται ακαριαία».

Βαθύτατο ανάγνωσμα,προκλητικό,
δημιουργικό,με άπειρες προσλαμβάνουσες κατανόησης περί αυθεντικότητας,ατομικότητας,
διχοτόμησης,κυριαρχίας.

Το απόλυτο ανθρώπινο ιδεώδες και η ένταση της ανθρώπινης φύσης με την αναπόφευκτα διχοτομημένη δομή τους,προάγουν το βιβλίο σε μια αιώνια διανοητική πρόκληση.

Μπαίνουμε εξ αρχής σε ένα σύμπαν απόρριψης και αντιθέσεων. Σε μια καθολικότητα ώριμης σκέψης ανάμεσα στα όνειρα και την επίτευξη τους.

Α
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Megan Baxter
Jan 13, 2012 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human nature tends towards, not entropy, but bureaucracy.

I fear my review might focus more on Anarres and less on Urras, as it was the Anarrian sections that interested me more, the attempts to sustain (founding was the easy part) an anarcho-syndicalist society over a long period of time. For Urras, I thought that Urras was painted in clear terms, and avoided a polemic, although it did have very pointed things to say about class, and war, and conscription, and property, and the gendering thereof
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Brad
As a semi-retired actor, there are many literary characters I'd love to play, and for all kinds of reasons. Cardinal Richelieu and D'Artagnan spring immediately to mind, but there are countless others: Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin (Perdido Street Station), Oedipus, Holmes or Watson (I'd take either), Captain Jack Aubrey (I'd rather Stephen, but I look like Jack), Heathcliff, Lady Macbeth (yep, I meant her), Manfred, Indiana Jones. But none of them are people who I would actually like to be.

That I r
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Ivan
This is one of my favorite books if not THE favorite and on second read I like it even more since I notice details I haven't first time around. I feel I should say something about the book but I'm not sure I can do this book justice. Review hopefully might come at some point.
Aubrey
Fulfillment, Shevek thought, is a function of time. The search for pleasure is circular, repetitive, atemporal. The variety seeking of the spectator, the thrill hunter, the sexually promiscuous, always ends in the same place. It has an end. It comes to the end and has to start over. It is not a journey and return, but a closed cycle, a locked room, a cell.

Outside the locked room is the landscape of time, in which the spirit may, with luck and courage, construct the fragile, makeshift, improbabl
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notgettingenough
Sep 07, 2009 notgettingenough rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to notgettingenough by: Manny
Shelves: science-fiction
Thoughts on The Dispossessed

Of the various layers of content in The Dispossessed, the most obvious is the socio-political: capitalism vs. anarchistic-communism. The claim often made is that, even though her heart is with the latter, she nonetheless treats the two structures impartially. The claim or presumption is to be found in the reviews of fantasy/science fiction devotees, those with a particular interest in anarchism and, I suspect, also those who simply read it with an uncritical eye.

I don
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Darwin8u
May 12, 2013 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014
“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed.

description

le Guin's 'The Dispossessed' represents the high orbit of what SF can do. Science Fiction is best, most lasting, most literate, when it is using its conventional form(s) to explore not space but us. When the vehicle of SF is used to ask big questions that are easier bent with binary planets, with grand theories of time and space, etc., we are able to better unde
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Simona Bartolotta
"He has power over you. Where does he get it from? Not from vested authority, there isn't any. Not from intellectual excellence, he hasn't any. He gets it from the innate cowardice of the average human mind. Public opinion! That's the power structure he's part of, and knows how to use."

I have decided this won't be a proper review, but rather a short, focused comment.

The Dispossessed is one of those books written not to make you lose yourself in the story, but to make you yourself in your thought
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Stuart
The Dispossessed: Not simply an anarchist utopia/capitalist dystopia
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
The Dispossessed is a perfectly achieved thought experiment, perhaps Ursula K. Le Guin’s greatest work, but there is little I can say that hasn’t been said more eloquently, forcefully, thoroughly, or knowledgeably by other reviewers. It transcends the genre as a Novel of Ideas. It explores with great intelligence anarchism-socialism vs capitalism; freedom/slavery in terms of politics, econo
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Peter Boyle
My hero David Mitchell frequently mentions The Dispossessed as one of his favourite books, and it is regularly described as one of the most significant sci-fi novels of all time. So I just HAD to see what all the fuss was about.

The story revolves around two distant planets, Urras and Annares. Years ago a rebellion brewed on Urras and in order to avoid conflict, the anarchists left to start a new life on Annares. Urras is a bountiful place with a capitalist, patriarchal society, whereas Annares i
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Nataliya
Excellent book, and I've dog-eared about a third of its pages - too many messages, too little brain room left! Review to follow.

It's always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don't make changes, don't risk disapproval[...] It's always easiest to let yourself be governed.
Eric
Jan 09, 2014 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric by: Manny Citron
This discourse on dystopias won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, and National Book awards, and almost every single one of my Goodreads friends that has read it has it tagged with a 4 or 5 star rating. So clearly, the problem here is with me, because I really hated this book -- and it isn't because this book is dated or aged poorly, because the Cold War era slant of this book plays perfectly to a modern audience considering the current state of Russian-U.S. relations.

I'm giving it two stars b
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Michael
Sep 03, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really weird to me that, even though I'm totally drunk, I can still type just a s well as usual. I might not be able to make it down the hall without running into walls, but I can still compose a review without a problem. Anyway, I'm here today to talk about The Dispossessed. It is a book by Ursula K Le Guin, who is badass. If it hadn't taken me like four mouths to read this book, I would've probably given it five stars. Unfortunately, it took me almost a complete semester to read the damne ...more
David
Sep 11, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: archists, propertarians, pretentious SF fans who wax on about who deserves to win Hugos
I read Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy way back when I was a kid, but I am abashed to say that until now I had never read any of her adult SF novels.

The Dispossessed holds up amazingly well for a book written nearly forty (!) years ago. In fact, forget about the publication date and it could have been written this year. Except that hardly anyone writes this kind of slow-moving, thoughtful, idea-heavy science fiction any more. The Dispossessed won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and the Natio
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Chris_P
Ο Θ. Παπακωνσταντίνου είχε πει κάποτε ότι η αναρχία είναι ο πιο ποιητικός τρόπος να ζεις. Η Le Guin βουτάει την πένα της στον ρεαλισμό και φτιάχνει έναν κόσμο όπου η κοινωνία είναι οργανωμένη σύμφωνα με τα αναρχικά ιδεώδη. Μια κοινωνία που είναι σελήνη μιας άλλης, αμιγώς καπιταλιστικής, η οποία είναι με τη σειρά της σελήνη της πρώτης. Μια κοινωνία της οποίας οι άνθρωποι δεν τραγουδούν. Κοινωνία, όμως, που δεν τραγουδά, δεν είναι υγιής και σίγουρα δεν είναι αναρχική. Οι κάτοικοι του πλανήτη Ανάρε ...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. A truly exceptional novel and one of the best explorations of political theory and individual freedom ever in science fiction. Too often, an author will "beat you over the head" with their beliefs and make thinly disguised speeches through cardboard characters that leave no doubt that one side is very right and the other side is very wrong. Not so in this novel.

LeGuin's ultimate message is that individual freedom is the most important commodity in the universe. In conveying th
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Jan-Maat
Something that strikes me about this book is the old cover blurb that this is about an ambiguous Utopia.

Because really all the cultures that we meet are engaged in a kind of the grass is greener on the other plant exercise. Each stands as a Utopia to another world and each looks elsewhere for its own. It is a novel of discontent.

For the crewman from the planet Hain at the end his own culture is a burden. It has experienced everything, while personally he has experienced nothing. The opportunity
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Nickolas the Kid
Είναι εκπληκτικό το πως η ΛεΓκεν ακροβατεί αποστασιοποιημένη ανάμεσα στα δυο οικονομικά συστήματα/πολιτεύματα... Τον κομμουνισμό και τον καπιταλισμό.
Η τελική κρίση ανήκει στον αναγνώστη...

Αν και παν κανα δυο χρόνια που το διάβασα η αίσθηση που έχει αφήσει νομίζω θα με ακολουθεί για πάντα...

Όλα τα πολιτεύματα είναι καταδικασμένα να αποτύχουν.... Ο άνθρωπος όμως θα μείνει!

ΥΓ: Η απόδοση του αγγλικού τίτλου του βιβλίου στα ελληνικά είναι λίγο άστοχη... Ο Σεβέκ μάλλον είναι ο εκδιωγμένος των δυο κ
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Althea Ann
Aug 12, 2014 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading for book club! (August 2015)

I first read this book in middle school, and was blown away by it. It introduced so many new (to me) ideas - brilliant ideas! - but then, rather than just presenting those ideas as a utopia, did everything it could to explore them further, and to explore their flaws and weaknesses.

I was very proud that I got my teacher that year to include this book on our summer reading list, so that everyone else would have to read it too. :-)

Of course, re-reading after s
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Tatiana
Feb 28, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi buffs
Recommended to Tatiana by: 1001
Shelves: sci-fi, 1001, 2010, nebula
Although The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia is classified as science fiction, it is hardly a novel about aliens and space travel. Rather, it is a speculative work of fiction that explores the possibility of existence and limitations of a completely anarchist society.

At the center of the novel is the planet Anarres. Annares is populated by a community of anarchists, whose ascendants have left Anarres's sister planet Urras almost 200 years prior to escape its oppressive regimes and to establis
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jo
Jan 05, 2009 jo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fantasy-sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Esma Tezgi
Mar 07, 2017 Esma Tezgi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
4.25
Kitap iki farklı dünyayı anlatıyor; Anarres ve Urras. İki gezegende birbirinin ayı. Urras'tan yıllar önce Anarres'e gelen Odocular burada kendilerine Urras'takinden çok farklı bir hayat kurmuşlardır.

Yaşamın ne kadar güzel olduğunu görmenin yolu ölümün bakış açısından bakmaktan geçiyor.

Anarres anarşizmin hayata geçtiği sosyalizmden izler taşıyan bir gezegen ve halkın yaşam biçimi de pragmatik. Her şey olması gerektiği kadar ve olması zorunlu olduğu için, lüks ya da aşırılık yok. Herkes eş
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Kaitlin
Jan 21, 2017 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sffmistressworks
This book is wonderful. I have to say I think Le Guin had firmly secured herself as a favourite author of mine now. The way she manages to bring in so many ideas about humanity and love and lust and loyalty and so much more, within a sci fi set up, it's just fantastic!

This is the story of two planets. Each one is like a moon to the other, but although there is some trade between them, no one ever ventures from one planet to the other. One of the planets, Annares, is a social experiment. It's a s
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Boxall's 1001 Bo...: May {2017} Discussion -- THE DISPOSSESSED by Ursula K. Le Guin 22 85 Jun 20, 2017 04:17PM  
Around the Year i...: The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin 6 44 Jun 19, 2017 09:51PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Hainish Cycle order 2 12 Jun 09, 2017 04:32AM  
#SFFMistressworks...: Chapters 11 - 13 & Final Thoughts 2 20 Jan 21, 2017 06:31AM  
#SFFMistressworks...: Chapters 9 - 10 2 13 Jan 21, 2017 02:55AM  
#SFFMistressworks...: Chapters 7 - 8 2 18 Jan 21, 2017 02:10AM  
#SFFMistressworks...: Chapters 5 - 6 3 14 Jan 20, 2017 03:28PM  
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As of 2013, Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. Forthcoming ...more
More about Ursula K. Le Guin...

Other Books in the Series

Hainish Cycle (9 books)
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • Rocannon's World
  • Planet of Exile
  • City of Illusions
  • The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness
  • The Telling (Hainish Cycle #8)
  • Os Despojados, Vol. 1

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“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” 384 likes
“It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give.” 248 likes
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