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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > THE DISPOSSESSED: Finished Reading (*SPOILERS*)

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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Here's a general topic for people who have finished reading The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin.

WARNING: SPOILERS LIKELY!


message 2: by Andreas (new)

Andreas | 84 comments There is a 25 page long short story featuring the founder of Odoniasm. If you liked The Dispossessed, you should read it. It isn't a political treatise but a character study. If you're curious, here is my review.


message 3: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2150 comments Mod
I just finished it today (and Andreas, thanks for the reminder about the short story - I have it somewhere, will have to look it up). As always, LeGuin has thoughtfully considered all of the implications of the various societies that she likes to create. Shevek was an interesting character, so wise in so many ways and yet so incredibly naive when dropped into the "profitarian" society. I liked the way the story was told in alternating chapters with flashbacks to his past.

Lots of food for thought. nothing I can clearly articulate right now as I'm exhausted, but looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say.


message 4: by Andreas (new)

Andreas | 84 comments The story is published in diverse collections but most prominently on The Twelve Quarters of The Windrose.


message 5: by Chris, Moderator (new)

Chris (heroncfr) | 501 comments Mod
I agree, Shel, that Shevek was engaging, both wise and yet naïve. His motives remained pure even when the surrounding societies could not live up to his expectations of them. I can definitely admire LeGuin's thoughtful exploration of an anarchist society, too. But I have to say that I find the story a bit dated.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 24 comments I think a point Le Guin is making is there is no such thing as an anarchist society. Even without a government, bureaucracies exist and influential people rise to control them and through them society. Social mores also serve as a controlling mechanism. Bureaucracies, influential people, and social convention all serve as a de facto government.


message 7: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 424 comments Indeed, even as it stands, the society is a bit more ideal than real. Take, for instance, the shirkers who are punished by ostracism. Why did they not band together? The gulags of the USSR produced gangs that would swear to never work.


message 8: by Andreas (new)

Andreas | 84 comments There are only a handful of novels that I re-read. For me, Dispossessed is one of the founding stones of SF, maybe similar of importance to Dune. One of the last utopias providing much brainfood.

My review is here.


message 9: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 57 comments Chris wrote: "But I have to say that I find the story a bit dated."

I can see why you would say that. The Cold War influence is clear. Nevertheless, I disagree wholeheartedly. The crux of the book is the needs of the individual vs. the needs of society. The struggle for that balance will never end, and I think about it a lot during election cycles (right now, for example).


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