Read Mülksüzler by Ursula K. Le Guin Levent Mollamustafaoğlu Online


"...Vermediğimiz şeyi alamazsınız, kendinizi vermeniz gerekir. Devrim'i satın alamazsınız. Devrim'i yapamazsınız. Devrim olabilirsiniz ancak. Devrim ya ruhunuzdadır ya da hiç bir yerde değildir." Konuşmasını bitirirken, yaklaşan polis helikopterlerinin gürültüsü sesini boğmaya başladı."Romanım Mülksüzler, kendilerine Odocu diyen küçük bir dünya dolusu insanı anlatıyor; Odo"...Vermediğimiz şeyi alamazsınız, kendinizi vermeniz gerekir. Devrim'i satın alamazsınız. Devrim'i yapamazsınız. Devrim olabilirsiniz ancak. Devrim ya ruhunuzdadır ya da hiç bir yerde değildir." Konuşmasını bitirirken, yaklaşan polis helikopterlerinin gürültüsü sesini boğmaya başladı."Romanım Mülksüzler, kendilerine Odocu diyen küçük bir dünya dolusu insanı anlatıyor; Odo romandaki olaylardan kuşaklarca önce yaşamış, bu yüzden olaylara katılmıyor, ya da yalnızca zımnen katılıyor, çünkü bütün olaylar aslında onunla başlamıştı."Odoculuk anarşizmdir. Sağı solu bombalamak anlamında değil: kendine hangi saygıdeğer adı verirse versin bunun adı tedhişçiliktir. Aşırı sağın sosyal-Darwinist ekonomik özgürlükçülüğü de değil; düpedüz anarşizm: eski Taocu düşüncede öngörülen, Shelley ve Kropotkin'in, Goldmann ve Goodman'ın geliştirdiği biçimiyle. Anarşizmin baş hedefi, ister kapitalist isterse sosyalist olsun, otoriter devlettir; önde gelen ahlaki ve ilkesel teması ise işbirliğidir (dayanışma, karşılıklı yardım). Tüm siyasal kuramlar içinde en idealist olanı anarşizmdir; bu yüzden de bana en ilginç gelen kuramdır."...

Title : Mülksüzler
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 15990694
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 348 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mülksüzler Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-02-19 06:45

    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 across it as a teenager, and my perception of it has changed over time. There's more than one layer, and I, at least, didn't immediately realize that. On the surface, the first thing you notice is the setting. She is presenting a genuinely credible anarchist utopia. Most utopias are irritating or just plain silly. You read them, and at best you shake your head and wish that people actually were like that; or, more likely, you wonder how the author can be quite so deluded. This one's different. Le Guin has thought about it a lot, and taken into account the obvious fact that people are often selfish and stupid. You feel that her anarchist society actually could work; it doesn't work all the time, and there are things about it that you see are going to cause problems. But, like the US Constitution (one of my favorite utopian documents) it seems to have the necessary flexibility and groundedness that allow it to adapt to changing circumstances and survive. She's done a good job, and you can't help admiring the brave and kind Annaresti.Another thing you're immediately impressed by is the central character, Shevek. Looking at the other reviews, everyone loves Shevek. I love him too. He's one of the most convincing fictional scientists I know; I'm a scientist myself, so I'm very sensitive to the nuances. Like his society, he's not in any way perfect, and his life is a long struggle to try and understand the secrets of temporal physics, which he often feels are completely beyond him. I was impressed by the alien science; she gives you just the right amount of background that it feels credible, but not so much that you're tempted to nit-pick the details. You're swept up in his quest to unify Sequency and Simultaneity, without ever needing to know exactly what they are. And his relationship with Takver is a great love story, with some wonderfully moving scenes. There's one line in particular which, despite being utterly simple and understated, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. As you also see in The Lathe of Heaven, Le Guin knows about love.What I've said so far would already be enough to qualify this as a good book that was absolutely worth reading. What I think makes it a great book is her analysis of the concept of freedom. There are so many other interesting things to look at that at first you don't quite notice it, but to me it's the core of the novel. What does it mean to be truly free? At first, you think that the Annaresti have already achieved that; it's just a question of having the right social structures. But after a while you see that it's not nearly as straightforward as you first imagined. Real freedom means that you have to be able to challenge the beliefs of the people around you when they conflict with what you, yourself, truly believe, and that can be painful for everyone. But it's essential, and it's particularly essential if you want to be a scientist; I know this from personal experience. Another theme that suffuses the book is the concept of the Promise. If you can't make and keep promises, then you have no influence on the future; you are locked in the present. But promising something also binds your future self. There are some deep paradoxes here. The book folds the arguments unobtrusively into the narrative, and never shoves them in your face, but after a while you see that they are what tie all the strands together: the anarchist society, the science, the love story, the politics. It's a much deeper book than you first realize. As I said, it might change your life. It's changed mine.

  • Joe S
    2019-03-14 02:52

    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 take her gently by the hand, lay down beside her pruned, mummified body and have entirely consensual, non-hierarchical, process-centered sexual intercourse like a paragon of second-wave lesbian feminism.Ursula, you make me want to be a straighter man.

  • Lyn
    2019-02-21 03:10

    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 even changing my life, that I can look back and see that my path changed after reading. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin is such a work, a true masterpiece of literature, science fiction or not, that truly touched me. I cannot say that it has changed my life, though, but rather affirmed some deep-set values and ideals that I hold. This really transcends the genre and stands alone as a work of art. Science fiction may be best as a vehicle for allegory, for a way in which an artist can attach to an imagination or fantasy an idea or observation about our world that can only be grasped in the peripheral, can only be explained in metaphor and parable. Le Guin has here accomplished the creation of a minimalistic, austere voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Beautifully written, this can be subtlety brilliant and painfully clear, some scenes left me unable to go on, yet I was compelled, entranced and beckoned to continue. Yet all the same, I was saddened to come to its conclusion.******** 2017 Reread.“Freedom is never very safe”I’ve read over 1200 books in my life and have designated 6 as my all-time favorites. This is one.The great thing about revisiting a work of literature is to notice greater detail the second time around. I was again struck by Le Guin’s beautiful writing and her carefully expressive style, but this time I paid more attention to the radical, revolutionary themes upon which she focused. And this is not a dystopian novel as we have become accustomed in the last few years, but an examination of a utopian model.Anarres and Urras, twin planets in the Tau Ceti system, Urras having been colonized with humans by the Hain ages ago. Then Odo, a visionary who is imprisoned for her world-shattering ideas. Odo rejected the tenants of aristocracy, of capitalism, of property altogether. She espoused an anarchistic ideology, a utopian society without laws, money, or property rights. Those following Odo left the paradise of Urras with its fertile valleys and rich natural resources, for the harsh, dry mining colony on Anarres, sort of a moon to Urras.Le Guin’s story begins about 160 later, with generations of the Odo revolution having grown up in this closed society. They’ve developed their own language which has no concept of property rights, or money, or many of the elements of our society has that we take for granted. The planetary truce is maintained as a fragile economic alliance: The Anarres citizens produce mineral wealth in exchange for imported goods from Urras. There is one space port, outlined by a simple low wall, the Anaresans don’t leave and the people from Urras don’t stay. The Anarres anarchist society is closed and fragile. The anarchists work together and toil for the common good, avoiding actions that would be considered “propertarian” or “egoist”. It is a primitive collectivism without central authority.Shevek, a brilliant physicist (and I think one of the great SF characters) risks everything to travel to Urras and share with them his theories on temporal physics. This theory will lead to the development of the ansible. Shevek experiences the vast differences between the two societies.The socio-economic dialogue that fills much of this novel is provocative and solicitous. Le Guin, very much affected by the turmoil of the Vietnam war, has crafted a brilliant story of revolution and practical utopia. The themes of revolution and idealism contrasted against an established power structure also made me think of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago as well as the 1965 David Lean film starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. Le Guin has the Anaresans portrayed as a peaceful people, with only the barest of defense against the powerful Urras governments, truculent and power hungry. The scene where Shevek marches with a crowd of disaffected Urras citizens was brutally reminiscent of a similar scene from Lean’s Zhivago.Finally, and this is a superficial and trivial thought, but if I were to film this and pick a cast, I would have Viggo Mortenson as Shevek. I would also have interuldes of thoughtful quotes from Odo and I would have Ursula K. Le Guin herself fill that role.Simply brilliant.“His hands were empty as they had always been”

  • mark monday
    2019-02-28 01:51

    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 Simultaneity and to pave the way for change on his homeworld. in chapters that alternate with this trip to Urras, we watch Shevek grow from boy to man on the anarcho-communist Anarres - the "Ambiguous Utopia" of the novel's subtitle. Urras and Anarres form a double-planet system within the Tau Ceti star system. The planets have a difficult relationship: 150 years prior, revolutionaries from Urras were given the mining planet of Anarres in order to halt their various revolutionary activities throughout the Urran nations. Upon establishment of their colony, Anarres cut off all but the most basic contact and trade with the despised "propertarians" of Urras.The Dispossessed is a fiercely intelligent, passionate, intensely critical novel - yet it is also a gentle, warm and very carefully constructed novel as well. ideas do not burn off the page with their fiery rhetoric - everything is deliberately paced; concepts and actions and even characterization are parsed out slowly. its parallel narratives are perfectly executed, with different plot themes and character backgrounds brought up, expanded upon, and often reflecting upon each other. ideas are unspooled in multiple directions and serve to continually challenge reader preconceptions. overall this is not a novel that quickens the pulse (although there is some of that) but is instead a Novel of Ideas. if you are not in a contemplative mood, if you have no interest in systems of government or human potential or theoretical physics, then this is probably not the novel for you. it is a book for the patient reader - one who actually enjoys sitting back and thinking about things. Le Guin's prose does not jump up at you; nonetheless, she is a beautiful writer - equally skilled with the little details that make a scene real and and with making the Big Concepts understandable to dummies like myself. and Le Guin is a sophisticated writer. she seems constitutionally unable to write in black & white - everything is multi-leveled, nothing is all bad, nothing is perfect. humans are fallible; ideas are fallible. everything must change and yet the past is ever a living part of the present.America as A-Io is where much of Le Guin's passion is displayed. however, the time spent in A-Io (roughly half the novel due to the alternating chapters) did not exactly challenge me. perhaps because i am already critical of the good ole U.S. of A., and have engaged in plenty of political shenanigans throughout my life, i wasn't reading anything new. i am the choir to whom the novel preached. still, i'm not sure i would say that this is Le Guin's fault. it's probably my fault, being an unpatriotic asshole who both loves and hates this crazy place, and who is in agreement regarding all the negative points - and the positive ones too (introduced fairly late in the novel by a Terran envoy). i am automatically sympathetic to all the points made about the ivory tower of education, hypocritical politicians, unncessary wars, the poisonous yet hidden class system, the demeaning of women, etc. still, despite my lack of enthusiasm about A-Io, this is also where some of the most wonderful writing occurs, and where some of the most mind-expanding concepts are described.where the novel really shines is in the depiction of the Ambiguous Utopia, Anarres. everything is not peachy-keen on this arid, sadly animal and grass-free desert world. the ideals that created Anarres are indeed admirable; it was awesome to see my own (and countless others') anarcho-socialist jerkoff fantasies about how perfect it would be if we were all truly able to share, all able to chip in to help each other, if materialism was seen as an abomination, if we were able to give up on ridiculous hierarchical structures, etc, etc, et al enacted in a fairly realistic way and in a very positive light. but of course this is an "Ambiguous" Utopia, so Le Guin also shows how basic, power-craving, territorial human nature will always surface... how cooperative, communal living can also stamp down the individual, how it can make being different seem like a threat... how other-hatin' tribalism is ultimately toxic, no matter the tribe, no matter the utopia, no matter if the tribe is an entire nation - or world. Le Guin makes a utopia, then she nearly unmakes it by unmasking all of its issues and ugliness... but she does not denounce it. i loved that. Le Guin and Shevek still see the beauty in this culture, in a place that is anti-materialist, anti-capitalist; their goal is to explore how such a system can truly be maintained - in a way that is genuine and that respects the invididual, a society that is continuously revolutionary. and the true enemies of revolution are complacency and stasis.a closing word and quick circle-back to the sophistication of Le Guin's writing: i loved how Shevek's Theory of Simultaneity was reflected within the book's structure and by the political and moral themes as well. an example:"But it's true, chronosophy does involve ethics. Because our sense of time involves our ability to separate cause and effect, means and end. The baby, agan, the animal, they don't see the difference between what they do now and what will happen because of it. They can't make a pulley, or promise. We can. Seeking the difference between now and not now, we can make the connection. And there morality enters in. Responsibility. To say that a good end will follow from a bad means is just like saying that if I pull a rope on this pulley it will lift the weight on that one. To break a promise is to deny the reality of the past; therefore it is to deny the hope of a real future. If time and reason are functions of each other, if we are creatures of time, then we had better know it, and try to make the best of it. To act responsibly."

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-03-22 07:45

    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.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 fallacies of capitalism and socialism. The reason that any system does not work is always because humans are all too human. Bureaucracy, consolidation of power, judgment, and inequality always start to wiggle their way into the social matrix regardless of the intent of the society.Shevek, the main character, talking about his home planet Anarres, a socialist framework society."You see," he said, "what we're after is to remind ourselves that we didn't come to Anarres for safety, but for freedom. If we must all agree, all work together, we're no better than a machine. If an individual can't work in solidarity with his fellows, it's his duty to work alone. His duty and his right, We have been denying people that right. We've been saying, more and more often, you must work with the others, you must accept the rule of the majority. But any rule is tyranny. The duty of the individual is to accept no rule, to be the initiator of his own acts, to be responsible. Only if he does so will the society live, and change, and adapt, and survive. We are not subjects of a State founded upon law, but members of a society founded upon revolution. Revolution is our obligation: our hope of evolution."Pretty heady stuff. Actually Ayn Rand could have wrote that statement. People find themselves on what seems to be polar opposites of politics, Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Capitalist, but in actuality all of them have more in common than they would ever admit. We all want the same things that is, in my opinion, the most freedom possible and still sustain a safe society. The difference is what system do we use to achieve those ends. Whatever system that the majority chooses to follow will eventually start to devolve into a facsimile of the original intent. Sometimes revolution, as abhorrent as it is, can be the only solution to wipe away the weight of centuries of rules and regulations that continue to build a box around the individual with each passing generation. I am not an anarchist, but I understand how people become an anarchist. The book certainly made me think about my place in the universe and about the aspects of my culture that I accept as necessary truths that on further evaluations prove to be a product of our own brainwashing. Too many of the governing parts of our lives that we accept as necessary truths have never really been questioned and weighed in our own minds. Why do so many of us work for other people now when a generation ago so many of us owned our own businesses? Walmart, though not the only culprit, has had a huge negative impact on communities destroying what was once vibrant downtown areas and forcing so many small businesses to close that it actually changed the identity of small towns. We were complicit in this destruction. We valued cheap goods and convenience over service and diversity. The capitalist swing currently is towards big corporations and I can only hope that eventually the very things we lost will eventually be the things we most want again. So okay, I have to apologize for pontificating about subjects seemingly unrelated to The Dispossessed. This novel is about ideas and regardless of how shallow a dive you want to take on this novel you will find yourself thinking, invariably, about things you haven't given much thought to before.

  • Matthias
    2019-02-20 05:48

    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 comes to making words my own, as this dear author evoked so well in this book, longing for possession is mostly futile, and so it is with ideas, impressions and most of all, inspiration. At least in my case good ideas tend to go and come as they please and if I'm lucky they can be grasped when there's something close at hand to write them down, just as the motivation and energy to write has chosen to quickly pass through my hands. Currently, the energy is there, but apart from some sparse notes that I now have to re-interpret myself, I only have a few central take-aways that I would like to share. This review can thus be considered as a barrel of some of the reflections I managed to retain before they too evaporated into untranslatable little figments of thought. The first take-away is that this is one of my favorite books. It is engaging, it is exciting, it teaches and it entertains. Le Guin's prose is nothing short of wonderful. While the plot is not exactly extraordinary, it provides the perfect mobile in which to transport some important messages on life and civilization that this author has chosen to share. The second take-away is that this is the best dissection of our society that I've read. I've read great books on the nature of human individuals on the one hand, and abstract philosophical meanderings on time and infinity, but never felt warm to the idea of reading about one of the levels that are in-between, namely society and civilisation. The reason why I never did is that there often seems so much more stuff wrong with society than right, so that it's hard to know where to begin complaining, and even harder to know where to stop complaining and inspire change. The building is showing so many signs of decay it's hard to dispel the idea to just throw it down and start all over. Ursula Le Guin found a great starting spot in this book with which to make a nice filet out of our civilisation: the idea of possession. The need of people to "own" stands central in our way of life, and the illusion of ownership pervades much of our thinking and doing. I myself am not immune. To give just one example, I prefer to buy books rather than to go borrow them at libraries. To give another example: I just bought an apartment. Now it would be unfair to point the finger just at people here. Animals do it too, on a certain level. They want to own territory, but instead of throwing money around, they urinate all over the place or emit certain smells. For all the faults our society has, I'm glad we evolved away out of that particular habit, if only for the sake of still readable books. Do I own these books because I gave money for them and they will soon by surrounded by MY walls? I guess so. Until a fire or a flood consumes them, until the hand of time consumes me. Yet, even though the banality of ownership during our short lives is inescapable, our ways of living are so much focused on exactly that futility it's no surprise so many people feel unhappy and wronged when they see their mission to that end either obstructed or sabotaged by those around them, or recognise their endeavors as futile once the mission seems largely fulfilled.This is just a personal take-away of course, because if Ursuala Le Guin is doing one thing exceptionally well, it is the convincing way in which she gives each perspective on the matter a stage in this book. I can easily see the staunchest proponents op capitalism (and as someone who profits of that system's fruits it would be hypocritical and outright dishonest of me to claim that I dislike it myself) like this book as much as a dirty hippy or clean-shaven commie. Possession isn't just about capitalism and material goods. It's more pervasive than that. Just think about how people refer to each other. "My" son. "My" girlfriend. "My" mother. Or how Jason Mraz chose to sing of his undying love by proclaiming "I'm yours". It's innocent most of the time, but when there's problems in relationships of any kind, quite often it is a question of a certain dominance, where one is under the other, where one is partly of the other. We like to own but we don't like to be owned. Except for Jason Mraz, that is. While writing this review I was faced with another example of the futility of possession. I had made notes while reading this book that I intended to use to inspire this review. There are some interesting one-liners, some runaway thoughts, some links to real-life experiences. I would call them "my" notes. But what the two month span between writing them and reading them has shown is that even my thoughts are not entirely my own. Some lines I wrote down there are now perfectly incomprehensible to me. Others I can give an interpretation, but without the guarantee it will be the same as intended back in the day. How are these alien words still my notes? "The Dispossessed" touches on many more themes than the one I evoked here, and Le Guin shows her genius on basically every page with throwaway wisdoms that pack a punch: on prisons, on the education system, on laws, on the press, on the world of art, the army, the list goes on. She can seem cold and pessimistic sometimes: "Life is a fight, and the strongest wins. All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words." or when she states that suffering, unlike love, is real because the former ALWAYS hits the mark. Despite this recurring pessimism, I found this book to be widely uplifting by looking through that veil of coldness and finding there the beauty of life, of all the things that transcend possession. Her criticism has an inherent warmth and is not above criticism itself. It's a criticism that has channeled my own apathy towards many of society's ways into something that seems more helpful: an understanding and even a renewed love. Yes, you read that right. I love society. There's nothing I'd rather live right next to.

  • Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο Αμούν Arnum
    2019-02-25 05:42

    «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. Απο τη μία οι ατέλειες της μοντέρνας κοινωνίας με κάθε δυνατή εξέλιξη,στην διακριτική ευχέρεια των πολιτών της καπιταλιστικής κοινωνίας. Οι ταξικές διάφορες. Το ατομικό συμφέρον,οι θυσίες των πάντων στο βωμό του κέρδους, οι άκαμπτοι ρόλοι των προνομιούχων και οι απίστευτες βιοποριστικές δυσκολίες των κατώτερων τάξεων. Παράλληλα βέβαια,στην παρακμιακή καπιταλιστική κοινωνία συνυπάρχουν και γοητευτικές ομορφιές,πολυτέλειες που διευκολύνουν την απόλαυση της ζωής και πειστικές αρετές εντυπωσιακής πληρότητας μέσα απο τα υστερικά παράγωγα του άφθονου χρήματος. Απο την άλλη, η εφευρεμένη κουλτούρα της αναρχικής κοινωνίας. Μια κοινωνία που αν λειτουργούσε πραγματικά θα επέφερε μια ηδονική πληρότητα στην ανθρώπινη ύπαρξη. Εδώ ζούμε τη χαρά και την αλληλεγγύη της κοινής διαβίωσης,τα ουτοπικά δυνατά της αδελφοσύνης και της εθελοντικής συνεργασίας,τα κοινά αγαθά και οι παροχές που οδηγούν στην απόλυτη ελευθερία της ανθρώπινης βούλησης.Την τόσο επικίνδυνη ελευθερία στο όνομα της εθελούσιας προσφοράς και της κοινοκτημοσύνης. Παράλληλα όμως, όλο αυτό το σύστημα στηρίζεται στην πρακτική αναγκαιότητα και οδηγεί αναπόφευκτα σε μια πολιτική δύναμη που ακυρώνει κάθε ατομική δημιουργική ικανότητα και υπονομεύει το ατομικό νου. Ακόμη κι αν πρόκειται για υποτίμηση ιδεών και σκέψεων που θα άλλαζαν τη δομική λειτουργεία του σύμπαντος. Ο Σεβέκ (λατρεμένος) είναι ένας απίστευτα χαρισματικός επιστήμονας πάνω στη Φυσική. Το έργο της ζωής του ειναι η ένωση των αρχών της Ακολουθίας και της ταυτότητας ( τι λέω η θεωρητική και δεν αυτομαστιγώνομαι;)Πρόκειται,(αν κατάλαβα καλά, αφού αναφέρομαι στη φυσική και σιγοκλαίω) για μια γενική Θεωρητική •θεωρία• (πλεονασμός των θεωρητικών) που ενώνει το χρόνο,ο οποίος κινείται πάντα προς τα εμπρός -με γραμμικό τρόπο, βλ. βέλος- και όλες τις ταυτόχρονα παροντικές στιγμές μέσα στις οποίες κινούμαστε. Ένα έργο,το οποίο αν ολοκληρωθεί θα μπορούσε να φέρει σε άμεση επικοινωνία ολόκληρο το διαπλανητικό διάστημα. Ο Σεβέκ βρίσκεται αντιμέτωπος με τα κακώς κείμενα των δυο κοινωνιών/ πολιτευμάτων/συστημάτων. Ο κομμουνισμός και ο καπιταλισμός. Είναι φυλακισμένος απο δική του επιλογή στην φυλακή της απληστίας και καταδικασμένος απο τους δικούς του συμπολίτες που τον πιέζουν σε μια "αναρχική" συμμόρφωση....Ονειρεύεται ταξιδεύοντας σε άλλους πλανήτες να ολοκληρώσει τη Γενική Θεωρία του αποστολικά και επαναστατικά με σκοπό να εισάγει τις ελευθερίες της αναρχίας και των ιδανικών του στο υπόλοιπο σύμπαν. Βρίσκεται όμως παγιδευμένος και εκδιωγμένος και απο τον πλούσιο καπιταλιστικό κόσμο και απο το κομμουνιστικό φεγγάρι της ανατολικής του πατρίδας. Τελική απόφαση σε εκκρεμότητα ...Αντικειμενική άποψη: ενεργοποιημένη. Δεν είναι καθόλου εύκολο ανάγνωσμα. Άλλωστε η "απόρριψη" δεν υπήρξε ποτέ εύκολη. Καλή ανάγνωση! Πολλούς ασπασμούς!!ΥΣ. Ευχαριστίες σεμνές και γλυκές σε μια αλήτισσα ψυχή που με πίεσε-έπεισε να το διαβασω άμεσα.!!

  • Brad
    2019-03-05 02:53

    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 reserve for Shevek.Ursula K. LeGuin's Odonian-Anarchist physicist is what I would aspire to be in the deepest places of myself -- flaws and all. The reason is simple and profound. Shevek constantly strives for change inside and outside himself, for an embracing of true freedom with the knowledge that freedom requires change, that change is dangerous, and that the danger of true freedom trumps safety. No matter what pressures are brought to bear, Shevek is his own man.I could go on about him, but I am loathe to diminish the strength of what I have written. So I will close with this: Shevek is the character I most admire in literature, and The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia is very nearly a perfect book.You must read it.After reading it again: I know more completely than ever that I am not Shevek, as much as I wish I could be, but this time through I realized that I do appear in the pages of The Dispossessed, or I think I've found the character most like myself even if we are not exactly the same -- Tirin. Tirin is the friend of Shevek's who debates hard questions with him when then are children/teens; he is the friend who drives the prison experiment after the travelling teacher comes through and talks to them about incarceration; he is the playwright whose satire offends his brethren and suffers deep and hurtful criticism for his work; he is the man who is ostracized through exploitation of the system, pushing him into terrible work details and isolation until he feels mad enough to check himself into a hospital; he is destroyed by that experience and spends the rest of his life stuck rewriting that one play, trying to get it "right," obsessed with that one creation that he felt so strongly about and suffered because of.My personal trajectory isn't his -- no, not by a long shot -- but it does share similarities. I think, though, that what I do have exactly in common with Tirin is his Quixotic fixation on what Leguin, quoting Marx, calls "permanent revolution," yet in Tirin's case that revolution is a revolution of the mind. A constant overthrowing of what is known to then reknow or relearn or reform as he creates and destroys with his art. And I do know his isolation. That I know very well. It was sobering to see myself in a devastated figure in a book I love. I don't wish it upon you, my kind reader.

  • Ivan
    2019-02-19 02:03

    This is one of my favorite books if not THE favorite and on third 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.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-03-10 01:07

    4, maybe 4.5 stars. This classic SF novel kept me glued to my chair all yesterday. Granted, I was on a cross-country airplane flight from Washington DC back home to Utah, but still! It's very thought-provoking SF, set in the same universe as Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, but even more politically inclined. Almost 200 years earlier, a group of rebels left a highly capitalistic society on the planet Urras, to form their more utopian government on the moon Annares. Now a man named Shevek, a physicist from this voluntary communistic society, leaves his barren world, where life is difficult but - mostly - fair, to go to the neighboring planet to work with the physicists there. Life on Urras is much more pleasant and luxurious, but gradually Shevek comes to realize the dark underside of that capitalistic society. The question is, can he escape the bind he's gotten himself into?The Dispossessed is one of the earlier examples of dual timeline storytelling in the SF genre, the chapters alternate between flashbacks of Shevek's life on his home world of Annares and his current experiences on Urras with the "propertarians" (heh). The Dispossessed thoughtfully examines the best and worst in these two political systems. Though Le Guin's choice of the better society is clear, it's laudable that she realistically handles how even good intentions can go awry because of human weaknesses like selfishness, fear and pride. Some might find this novel slow going, but if you're interested in contrasting political and social systems, I'd highly recommend it!Even though this novel is 4th in the Hainish Cycle, it's actually first chronologically, for reasons that become apparent late in the novel (and are somewhat spoilerish, so I won't get into them here). :)Full review to come.

  • Bradley
    2019-03-21 07:59

    The first time I read this book back in the early nineties, I would have given it a four star rating because I was slightly annoyed with the prose and the steadily boring pace where nothing really big happens (mostly) except a general living of a life. This is despite our following a very interesting character escaping his pragmatic moon to gift his very advanced physics that would lead to not only an ansible for faster-than-light communications but also faster-than-light travel.The world-building is pretty amazing on both the political and socio-economic levels, the discussion of what men and women are to each other and just how amazingly different (and similar) it is between both worlds. The novel easily tackles six different heavy themes and does it with heart and no hammer in sight.On one hand, I know the author couldn't have tackled the whole gamut of two worlds without a very light touch, but it was this same light touch and frustrating lack of progress, the descent of the sense of utopia into desperate and dire dystopia, that eventually made me distrust this novel.It frankly took me two hundred pages, the first time, to even get into the novel. It requires a learning curve.Now that I'm reading this as a full adult with a lot of ideas under his belt, I eased into the read much more, expecting certain things and realizing it was primarily a novel of ideas and deep commentary. It's not just a political mirror or even a mirror between true communist idealism and anarchism. It's also a damn unique exploration of sexuality and how sexuality necessitates certain kinds of thinking, how a social structure informs it and how it can kill a real germination of ideas. I'm talking about two halves making a whole here. Men and women are just a half of it. The two political makeups of the moon and the planet aren't whole until they finally find a mix. It's Taoism and a mix of opposites and equals creating something more than the sum of its parts.And that's what is so tragic about this novel. There's distrust, revulsion against new thought, a nearly impossible wall between the sexes (and the obvious exception to that rule in this novel is noteworthy also because it occurs with the Dispossessed scientist). If people opened up their minds to new ideas, so much of this would have been avoided.During my original take, I was going to college at the time and I saw a lot of the same approbations and stifled thought in the academic arena. The Dispossessed brings up the plight of ourselves in science, the fact that certain ideas get heavily entrenched and new ones are mercilessly cut down at least until a new generation takes over.It all comes back to a germination of ideas. The call in the text to keep the flow of information going was really breathtaking, if not that unique. I think of the internet and how that has been such a boon to science now, but even in '92 when I read this, the weight of bureaucracy was immense. I'm sure things aren't all that different now. Aren't we still enamored with string theory and colliders and aren't we all getting rather upset that it hasn't been panning out as we would have liked? Well, alas, this isn't the forum for that but this book makes very good points all over the place.I ramble.The fact is, I'm increasing my rating on this book merely because it is gorgeous in conception and form. It carries on multiple narratives on so many aspects of our lives here and now and also within the fictional boundaries of political systems that don't exist anywhere except in our minds. She even goes on to conceive a world without cause and effect, where all things can and will be explored at the same time. How often can we have a cogent discussion about that, rooted firmly in the events of normal lives, and yet not have the text explode in handwavium and weird science? She keeps things real. And brilliant.I'm going to ignore my stylistic complaints and even the fact that I couldn't really get into it for hundreds of pages because the trip is more than impressive by the end. It's more of a monument to thought.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-02-21 06:09

    “You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed. 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 understand both the limits and the horizons of our species. The great SF writers (Asimov, Vonnegut, Heinlein, Dick, Bradbury, etc) have been able to explore political, economic, social, and cultural questions/possibilities using the future, time, and the wide-openness of space. Ursula K. Le Guin belongs firmly in the pantheon of great social SF writers. She will be read far into the future -- not because her writing reflects the future, but because it captures the now so perfectly.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-03-20 02:07

    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. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • notgettingenough
    2019-03-18 00:50

    Thoughts on The DispossessedOf 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’t see that at all. Not surprisingly, given where her sympathies lie, le Guin has created the best possible picture of anarchistic communism and the worst of capitalism. In creating a capitalist society which has at its apex overwhelming plenty, perched on a base of workers whose existence is miserable beyond belief – going to hospital typically means being eaten by rats if one is poor – le Guin has created a capitalist society which is not only a morally reprehensible model but a very stupid one. Capitalism has known for a long time that one keeps those making up the base of support happy by giving them enough. That principle pertains throughout our society and there is no reason I can see to explain why le Guin’s capitalist model is different from that.Contrast the anarchistic-communist model she proffers. By placing it in a poor, harsh geography, she creates the perfect setting for that model to succeed. Although superficially she is seen to consider the difficulties with the structure – when harsh becomes drought-induced-impossible, how does one decide who lives and who dies in this society – it is obvious that the real difficulties with the model arise when one considers physical ease and economic plenty. I can’t begin to see how any anarchistic-communist model then works, let alone one which has specifically been constructed on the presumption of struggle, survival, utility, function, purpose. The model she presents borrows much from the experience of the kibbutz movement in Israel. As it has failed, so too it is impossible to imagine her ideal society surviving.This is the only le Guin I’ve read. Are all her books so stilted and contrived in style? There is a point at which dispassion by the author is hard to distinguish from a boredom that is infectious. I stopped reading The Seducer to take on The Dispossessed and this has made me appreciate how well-written the former is. It has been argued that the dull tedious style is necessary to portray the poverty and utilitarianism of her utopian society. Sorry, I can’t see that for one moment. The woman hates writing, it is – unhappily for both her and her readers – a necessary medium to communicate her ideas. If she had commissions Ray Bradbury to turn her ideas into words, he would have made something beautiful without betraying the style she wishes to impose. But, then, Ray Bradbury loves writing.Look, for example, at this list:p.110 Coats, dresses, gowns, robes, trousers, breeches, shirts, blouses, hats, shoes, stockings, scarves, shawls, vests, capes, umbrellas, clothes to wear while sleeping, while swimming, while playing games, while at an afternoon party, while at an evening party, while at a party in the country, while travelling, while at the theatre, while riding horses, gardning, receiving guests, boating, dining, hunting – all different, all in hundreds of different cuts, styles, colours, textures, materials. Perfumes, clocks, lamps, statues, cosmetics, candles, pictures, cameras, games, vases, sofas, kettles, puzzles, pillows, dolls, colanders, hassocks, jewels, carpets, toothpicks, calendars, a baby’s teething rattle of platinum with a handle of rock crystal, an electrical machine to sharpen pencils, a wristwatch with diamond numerals, figurines and souvenirs and kickshaws and mementoes and gewgars and bric a brac, everything either useless to begin with or ornamented so as to disguise its use; acrues of luxuries, acres of excrement. Sorry, but my average weekly shopping list is a more interesting read. Compare this list from The Seducer:p 63 I must be allowed to say a little bit about bicyles…because bikes occupy a very special place in people’s memories – just think of the palpable thrill that runs through the body at the memory of the drag when a dynamo is flipped in against a tyre. And even more than the bike itself, what one remembers are all the accessories and trimmings. In fact, I would go as far as to say that for many people the status seeking that has since manifested itself in having as many letters and digits as possible after the name of a car had its beginnings right here. I could mention at random the different types of handlebars, not least the so-called ‘speedway’ handlebars which were all the rage for some time and which, if I remember correctly, were even banned, in keeping with the Norwegian fondness for every possible sort of safeguard, and which boasted such features as luminous handgrips with little nubs that pressed into the palm of your hand, and gears – source of such stories as, for example, how Frankenstein pedalled up the steep slope of Badedamsbakken in ‘third’, sitting down – and a speedometer, an item which in Jonas’s day was long a rarity, owned only by boys like Wolfgang Michaelsen, not to mention a lamp of the type that had two little yellow lights on either side of the big one, like fog-lights, and last but not least, the obligatory bell, which the really cool guys replaced with a beauty of a horn. Then you had the wide variety of different saddles, foremost among them the banana seat, motorbike-style, which suddenly became the in thing, and the accompanying cross-country tyres and who could forget those mud-flaps emblazoned with an ‘N’, as if one were all set to cycle across Europe? Anything else? Oh, yes, the toll kit on the carrier with its carefully stowed contents, anticipating the suitcase-packing problem in that everything had to be slotted into exactly the right place or the lid wouldn’t close. This fastened with a little padlock, available in various colours, and came complete with minute keys; which in turn brings me on to the advent of the combination lock, with a cat’s eye on the knob, and the hunt for the most baffling combination, which was engraved on a little copy of the lock itself and which, for some, represented their first encounter with the recursive element in life. Lastly, I ought to mention all the badges for sticking onto the mudguagd, and the pennant, its rod vibrating so delightfully, and then, of course, the flags and foxtails that made you feel like the Shah of Persia as you rode around the blocks of flats. But one of the most interesting features in this connection was the trimming of the wheel-spokes, first with empty cigarette packs: Ascot, Speed, Jolly, Blue Master and, above all, Monte Carlo, the menthol Virginia cigarette that came in three varieties – yellow, red and black – adorned with little paintings which today seem quite exotic, like works of art from a bygone age, and later with triangles formed out of fuse-wire, which is to say copper wire of the sort insulated with different coloured plastics.Now that is a list. A lovingly constructed list by a man whose delight it is to write. Perhaps when going through the process of making up a language, it is perforce going to make for tedious presentation. Coming to The Dispossessed as one whose science fiction days have long passed and who has never had any sympathy for fantasy, this whole process generally irritates me, it seems such an effort for nothing. Why can’t the characters be called Barry and Kevin and Patsy? Why do they have to be Shevek and Pae? Why does the toilet have to be the shittery? Having begun the book with no patience for this, I eventually came around to the idea that her anarchistic society had to create its own language and culture. Still, I’m not convinced by the linguistics side of the story but I’m too ignorant of the area to feel comfortably criticizing it. Is the way in which the language is established and developed credible? My gut feeling is not. Nicholas Tam, in a detailed review of the book to be found here has this to say:“…the linguistics in The Dispossessed adhere to a Whorfian model that is inconsistently applied. Pravic, the Esperanto-like language spoken on Anarres, was planned and designed to fit the needs of a communist utopia where property and class do not exist. Le Guin’s presentation of this is quite elegant: she “translates” the disparities between Pravic and Iotic (the language spoken in A-Io on Urras), along with the occasional code-switching, into English analogues—thereby avoiding the indulgent trap of science fiction and fantasy that Randall Munroe so helpfully illustrates:’Nonetheless, he is not altogether happy with the linguistics of it. I can’t help but feel that if one is going to all that trouble to invent a language, one might as well be careful about it. Le Guin’s ‘utopia’ has no word or concept for ‘wife’ but sure enough the girl who drops in to deliver the baby is a midwife. That doesn’t seem consistent to me, but perhaps a linguist will take me to task.Personally, I don’t understand why believability has to be achieved through the device of inventing language. Nor, if it comes to that, the concept dear to le Guin’s heart, numinousness. Good writing will create that effect any time over artificial devices, linguistic or otherwise. Again, Ray Bradbury achieves numinousness through nothing more than lovingly applied craft and a sensitive imagination. Since, however, The Dispossessed is polemic in nature, perhaps it is as it has to be.I’m also unsure about the structure of the book. I’m generally distrusting of books that split a story into two or have two separate stories going at once. My immediate response is that they don’t stack up to a straight chronological narrative layout….but again, perhaps if there is a book that needs such a form this is it.Compared with these big pictures aspects of the book – the linguistic, the politico-social – I felt more comfortable with her philosophical considerations at a micro or personal level. Scientists who have reviewed this book are very accepting of her main character, Shevek and his development. It not being my area I’m happy to take their word for it. I find him a very dull character, slow on the uptake. It takes him 40 years to understand things about his own society which seemed obvious and which his friends knew since they were teenagers. Is that supposed to be part of the point of the book? That he is brainwashed so convincingly by his society that this holds up his own personal development, even as a scientist, so that when he finally has his epiphany, the reader is left thinking, that could have been twenty years earlier if only he’d been open-minded.Le Guin espouses all sorts of personal/interpersonal philosophy I live by. It did not altogether fit in with my understanding that in this period she wrote ‘for men’. Her argument in favour of absolute fidelity in the context of partnership, and her observation that life and even mere sex are meaningless without both fidelity and partnership, are pretty much what I’ve believed since, like her stepping-out-of-teenage experimentation-characters, I realised that sex was nothing. It is only the loving partnership that makes it something. Is that really something written for men? The male reviews I’ve looked at make no comment on this side of the book.I was especially taken by a scene where Shevek, after some years of abject misery both personally and work-wise finds Takver. It takes them seconds to realise that they will be together for life. Sadly, they had met a long time earlier, but although she knew he was the one, he saw her, but did not see. Still, there is no point regretting what cannot be undone:‘It was now clear to Shevek, and he would have thought it folly to think otherwise, that his wretched years in his city, had all been part of his present great happiness, because they had led up to it, prepared him for it. Everything that had happened to him was part of what was happening to him now.’ Lately, before I read this book, I’ve been explaining the last 33 years of my life that way. This is the time when I felt like writing for le Guin is not just hard work, when she is writing about love.

  • Tara
    2019-03-05 02:52

    I’ve gotta admit, I was initially a little wary of The Dispossessed. I was worried that it might prove to be one of those godawful books whose sole purpose in life is to peddle insipidly idealistic ideology. The derisive cynic in me was prepared for the worst, ready to swoop in with some aggressively bratty eye-rolling and loud, obnoxious sighing at the first sign of trouble. I mean, is there anything worse than those agenda-pushing heaps of garbage that masquerade as literature? Seriously, who wants to be force-fed blandly pious, naively optimistic kumbaya-type nonsense, even if it’s got a super sweet science fiction candy coating? Lowlife degenerates, that's who, and NOT the good kind.Fortunately, however, I was entirely wrong in this case. The political content comprised merely one dimension of a profoundly complex, multifaceted work; there is much more being offered here. Granted, Le Guin did have a lot to say about society and politics (shock horror!), but even so, that wasn’t what the book was primarily concerned with. Above all else, her focus, her passion, was humanity. The characters she created, and the fundamental concerns they wrestled with, were overwhelmingly, honestly, beautifully HUMAN. So yeah, this book had heart. It had Compassion and Integrity and Hope and Sincerity and Goodwill Toward Men and all that shit. But don’t fret, it somehow managed to pull this off in a non-Chicken Soup for the Idiots, nauseatingly mawkish way. This is remarkably difficult to do, and it certainly impressed the hell out of me. Then again, maybe I’m just getting soft.At any rate, I’m including a handful of her most insightful, thought-provoking specimens below:On the innate separateness of individuals:“Freedom is that recognition of each person’s solitude which alone transcends it.”On the dangers of conformity:“Kimoe’s ideas never seemed to be able to go in a straight line; they had to walk around this and avoid that, and then they ended up smack against a wall. There were walls around all his thoughts, and he seemed utterly unaware of them, though he was perpetually hiding behind them.” On the ends not justifying the means:“One need only act, without fear of punishment and without hope of reward: act from the center of one's soul.” On the necessity of hope: “I thought I knew what ‘realism’ was,” Keng said. She smiled, but it was not an easy smile.“How can you, if you don’t know what hope is?” On uniqueness: “They say there is nothing new under any sun. But if each life is not new, each single life, then why are we born?” And, of course, on political revolution: “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.” Needless to say, The Dispossessed won me over completely. In addition to a well-paced, engaging plot and genuinely sympathetic characters, it also contained some truly fascinating political and philosophical discussions, and examined the human condition compassionately and candidly without getting overly sentimental or saccharine. Plus, it was actually fun to read! Le Guin handled it all so deftly and subtly that even the political ideology, such as it was, never really grated on my nerves or felt preachy. So if you’re ever in the mood for science fiction that you can connect with on both an emotional and an intellectual level, try this book on for size. Ursula K. Le Guin really knew what’s up.

  • Simona Bartolotta
    2019-02-21 05:48

    "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 thoughts. The aim of this book is to make you think, because this book is an experiment.Ursula K. Le Guin wanted to write a dystopia. But she resolved to do so in the absence of any superior form of governement, which, had it been present, should have supposedly been oppressive/abusive. As a lover of the dystopian genre, I find Le Guin's idea particularly stimulating, because it carries to the extreme a condition that we find in almost every dystopian novel and without which a totalitarian regime would be not onlt powerless, but thoroughly unable to survive, and that is habit. When people obey so efficiently, it's mainly because obeying has become customary; so much so that no one notices anymore that they are, after all, obeying. So this is what Le Guin conceived: let's imagina a society where there is no law, no religion, and where the people's submission comes from an intimate, deeply-rooted desire to live like this, to favor the society's requests (requests; never orders) to their own needs. And smarter yet it's that "society" is never truly acknowledged like a real thing, there being no true for of government -this people describes itself as anarchist. How anyone think to rebel against that?The disconcerting thing about The Dispossessed is precisely this. Everyone thinks they are doing only what they please, when they please, how they please. When put like this, in a sense, it's all very similar to Huxley's Brave New World (one of my favorite novels of all times) only in reversed circumstances.My main, big problem with The Dispossessed it's that it often felt like a theoretical book, or like an essay, more than like a work of fiction. Too many and too long descriptive passages -descriptive of the ideas, of course- and too little about what this all means in practicality. I like to see how ideas germinate, not only to be told how. In this sense, I loved Le Guin's writing style, but I do no agree with how she chose to write this book, which is why I did not enjoy it as much as I could have. It's a little disheartening, I admit. But it was really worth a chance.

  • Samadrita
    2019-03-19 03:08

    So good. Maybe I'll write a review when I manage to find some free time.

  • Aubrey
    2019-02-20 06:42

    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, improbable roads and cities of fidelity: a landscape inhabitable by human beings.It is not until an act occurs within the landscape of the past and the future that it is a human act. Loyalty, which asserts the continuity of past and future, binding time into a whole, is the root of human strength; there is no good to be done without it.I am a selfish and impractical person when it comes to many things in life, and literature is no exception. It's not enough for the book to be worthy in its own merit, whatever attributes of prose, plot, parcel of fact and fiction it brings to the table for my judgment. For I will judge, but more than that, I will steal and stow away any piece and passage that is worthy of my doing so. More than that, I will build my own string of words and fancies off the standard structure, disguising them under that formulaic word of 'review' and letting them loose on the grandest forum technology has thus far provided. Simply put, appreciation is no longer enough, if there is no room for me to create.Not a very stable concept, is it? To take a work of seeming completeness and force it into strange and subjective shapes, to be unsatisfied with sitting back and letting the simple phrase of 'This is what I thought of the book...' speak for the full experience of that particular reading. To distrust the shortcuts of words, the 'speculative fiction', the 'Ursula K. Le Guin', all those key terminology characteristics that first attracted me to considering the work worthy of my attention.Worthy of my attention? What is that? What is my 'attention', per se, one that has made a business of malcontent with institutions, ideologies, and has given up any hope of finding refuge in any one-time ready-made form, anything that does not shift and slither and mutate with every passing second, season, generation?Exactly that, really. For I am a creature bound by time and its limited infinity, its cyclical progress, its complex web where the facts are as driven by the abstract as by the scientific method, however much people would like to believe otherwise. A person who, by the matters of coincidence and consequence, will be easily won over by any piece of media that considers science as beautiful as it considers art. A simple matter, one would think, but also a lie of simplification, deceptively mundane if one doesn't mention examples of successful media. The Magic Mountain, by Thomas Mann. The works of Pynchon. Others that I cannot recall for fault of my own limited recollection, a thought as fascinating and as frightful as the void itself, for how much is holding my own opinions worth when I cannot even keep all the parameters of it within the limits of instantaneous retrieval forevermore? And this one, one that's forced me to further expand and complicate my definition of what I 'like', as evidenced by the disparity in complex depth between it and the former works.An excellent thought experiment when it comes to the 'lie of simplification', really. For this book does not attempt to achieve reality through constant bombardment of ideas, or strain the lines of connective tissue between branches of knowledge to the point of nonsensical pride and fearful rejection. Instead, you have the simple elegance of a mathematical proof, bound up in the terms of biological fact and empathetic concern, solving the factor of an ever progressing instant with an ever widening calcification of history behind it, on a ship of constants built by the dead in hopes for the living.The answer? You'd have a better chance of finding stabilized truth in the Uncertainty Principle, where change is not a means to the end, but one and the same. A theorem that, despite its incontrovertible reality, has not yet led the entire scientific community into a mass existential crisis, but has also not yet led the public consciousness to the realization that there is inherent futility in seeking a life within a label. Of course, the labels that are inherently tied up with a consideration for the unceasing flow of time and all the resulting chaos of such a concept are likely to do better. But the fact of the matter remains that, with every new self, every forward momentum of knowledge and insight, from a child on one side of the world gazing at a cave painting daubed in some unknown past millenia, to a child on the other grasping the instantaneous crossfire of the Internet faster than its makers, the labels are no more than a guideline. Easily fitted, easily discarded, easily broken down and cannibalized by those who only have use for bits and pieces of it. A constant evolution frightening for the majority of those who wish only for balance with the existing structure, and will not or cannot afford to sacrifice livelihood for the inevitability of progress.A difficult situation, for those who have equally invested their interests in the maintenance of their self and the future of humanity. A simultaneous transience, that requires an ever watchful eye on the facts of the world at large as well as the delicate clockwork of the only mind at one's disposal. An effort sustained by the thought that the effort will never be complete, with the kinder words of uniqueness and altruism inextricably bound up with those of egotism and naivety, where one kith and kind of knowledgeable insight will never, truly, be enough, no matter how much compartmentalization the simple act of socializing in theorized, standardized, economized forms demands. I read to discover, and write in full knowledge that the discovery will never be enough. I am grateful for what the world can give me, and criticize in full knowledge of my ungratefulness. I balance my consumption with my delivery, and find as much glory in the cold curves of physics as I do in the complex vagaries of philosophy. I am here, and if you try to convince me of a label, or attempt to label me, I will look, and listen, and give you as much benefit of a doubt as fits within the society defined realms of politeness and my personal realms of social behavior. Keep in mind, though, the constant give and take of truth and empathy will always be more fruitful than the demand for an unchanging acquiescence to anything at all, much as the simplistic equations of calculable chemistry disguise a fierce and frothing equilibrium at every level of growth and decay. If you insist otherwise, I will drift away, for I am a selfish and impractical person when it comes my maxim that conventions are never enough, and all my efforts to learn will always hold equal footing with my valuing of personal sensibilities of what it means to be human."My race is very old," Ketho said. "We have been civilized for a thousand millenia. We have histories of hundreds of those millenia. We have tried everything. Anarchism, with the rest. But I have not tried it. They say there is nothing new under any sun. But if each life is not new, each single life, then why are we born?"

  • Eric
    2019-02-27 04:00

    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 because I do appreciate the big ideas Le Guin brings up. The vision behind the "profiteering" cultures of Urras -- with subdivisions for the capitalists of A-Io (U.S.) and the authoritarian state of the Thu (Russia) -- and the anarchist outcast settlement of Anarres was a solid and interesting foundation for the book. But the weak characterizations, uninspiring writing, unnecessarily non-linear storytelling, lack of action, and disappointing ending all added up to a very difficult and unrewarding reading experience for me. To address those points specifically (mild spoilers may follow):- There is only one character, Shevek, who is more than one-dimensional. The rest fill out the story as needed -- corrupt bureaucrat, radical friend, loving partner, etc. As for Shevek, for as brilliant as he is, he is naive to the point of incredulity. And I don't mean just after he leaves Anarres for A-Io. It takes him decades longer than his friends to see the corruption in his own anarchist world. He is willfully ignorant of what is going on around him for someone involved in something as deep as theoretical physics.- The writing was clunky throughout the entire novel, and had no rhythm. There were tedious lists, long sections of discourse about the various imperfections in the various imperfect societies, and unnecessary word invention -- although I will grant calling the toilet a shittery is funny, if nothing else.- Another aspect of the storytelling that did not agree with me was the alternating chapters, where one chapter would be a flashback to Anarres, and the next a current day chapter on Urras. I would have minded this less if anything interesting or noteworthy happened on Anarres -- what little did happen could have easily been worked into flashbacks in the current day chapters, which could have greatly shortened the novel, and likely, my enjoyment of it.- There was one action scene in entire novel, and, if you include the aftermath, maybe ten pages are spent on it in total. There were also two other scenes that contained somewhat tense conflict. I don't need every book I read to be paced like The Hunger Games, but I need more of an action-driven plot than this, especially if you expect me to sit through endless info dumps on your imaginary dystopias.- The book ends right before another action scene -- or at least a scene with great potential for conflict -- that Le Guin either didn't know how to write her way out of, or didn't want to go out on a limb and make a stand for, which I see as a cop-out either way.- The overall feeling I was left with after reading this book was that capitalism sucks, anarchism sucks in different ways, and the only hope forward lies in benevolent aliens. This could have been improved if the ending to the novel went one chapter further, however it turned out.I could go on, but I believe my opinion is already more than clear. I will leave you with a quote from this book that sums up how I felt about reading it:He tried to read an elementary economics text; it bored him past endurance, it was like listening to somebody interminably recounting a long and stupid dream.Goodreads friends, in all seriousness, tell me what I am missing that led you to rate this so highly. I feel like I am the only one seeing the Emperor's bare ass here.

  • Stuart
    2019-02-21 02:46

    The Dispossessed: Not simply an anarchist utopia/capitalist dystopiaOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureThe 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, economics, society, intellectual endeavor, and personal relationships; the struggle to perfect a scientific theory that unifies time and space; whether human nature inevitably corrupts all political ideals; whether political utopias can ever be achieved to a meaningful degree; whether only hardship and privation can support socialist sentiment; and whether we must therefore settle for capitalism and the pursuit of possessions, money, and power.Having just read all the many insightful reviews of this towering novel, which remains humble, grounded, and refuses to provide easy answers where there are none, I don’t think I have much to add to the body of discussion and analysis The Dispossessed has generated in the almost half-century since its publication. Rather, I think it has achieved its goal of perfectly integrating a story of Big Ideas with the profoundly-moving story of physicist Shevek in his struggle to pursue his theories in the arid anarchist society of Annares and later in the capitalist societies of the more abundant Urras. It is also a surprisingly powerful love story about Shevek and his partner Takver, as they try to navigate the difficulty of living their ideals within a less-than-perfect anarchist society in which the needs of the group take precedence over those of the individual.What is really impressive about this book is that is remains gripping and thought-provoking despite a lack of almost any kinetic action or intricacies of plot. It truly rewards the patient reader who wishes to contemplate the ideas presented and examine them in terms of their own life experiences, compare them with their understanding of the political systems that govern their own society, and what aspects could realistically be changed for the better. After all, considering what happened in the disastrous US election in 2016, I don’t think anyone out there could for a moment claim that the US political system is the pinnacle of human achievement.Having said that, without any viable anarchist social experiments to point to beyond kibbutzes in the desert, it’s hard to say whether that model could ever exist on a large scale in the real world. And that is exactly what The Dispossessed sets out to do — depict a realistic, non-idealized anarchist society that functions with the full participation of its members maintaining continuous revolution on a daily basis. And by showing the flaws and inevitable creep toward bureaucracy, conformism, and petty power struggles, Le Guin is willing to put her anarchist society under stress tests that raise legitimate questions of its viability.In the end, it’s quite easy for us to see the flaws of capitalism given that it relies on greed, self-interest, consumption, private possessions, and competition between social classes, but it is another thing entirely to create a fictional anarchist utopia and put it through the ringer within the context of a compelling story of real people with complex motivations and ideals. It would be easy to dismiss such a thought experiment as hopelessly idealistic or irrelevant, but I think that would be to miss the point of this book. Le Guin’s book is not a call to arms to discard our corrupt capitalist systems and form anarchist or socialist communities with The Dispossessed as our Little Red Book. Instead, she wants us to examine our own lives and political structures and think about what ideals really should drive society, and then what aspects of our political and social systems should or can be improved upon, since we can all agree they are far from perfect.Sadly, even when such a hypothetical society is composed of people dedicated to such political ideals as Annares is, it still struggles to hold together over time. It is this willingness to accept the fallibility of all political systems that is Le Guin’s most mature sentiment, one sorely lacking among demagogues or jingo-chanting nationalists. It is the refusal to simplify things that makes The Dispossessed both intellectually-stimulating and politically-unsatisfying, since it is unlikely to galvanize us to action, but rather pushes us to reflect on our own assumptions about ourselves and our societies. It is a masterpiece in the genre and a great book by any measure, one of my all-time favorites.

  • Peter Boyle
    2019-02-26 05:42

    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 is a mostly barren planet with a collectivist community. The two worlds have a bit of strained relationship: Annares considers itself independent despite its vital trade links with Urras, while Urras thinks of its sister planet as a backward mining colony. At the centre of events is Shevek, a brilliant Anarresti physicist. He travels to Urras to share and develop revolutionary scientific theories, and through his eyes we see the benefits and drawbacks of life on each world.This is a novel overflowing with ideas but not a lot of plot. It sets up the concept of 'an ambiguous utopia' - the inhabitants of each world see their own societies as ideal. Urras, though rich and prosperous, suffers from inequality and war, while Annares is a peaceful community with uncomfortable living conditions. Le Guin examines both civilisations cogently and we come to realise the flaws of both systems. But I was hoping for more action, more excitement. Shevek is the only character who is fully developed and I didn't even find him that interesting. Nothing really happens until the last quarter of the story and by then it was too late to stir my enthusiasm. I can see why The Dispossessed is regarded as an important book and it is certainly thought-provoking. But I just didn't love it as I much as I had hoped.

  • Nataliya
    2019-03-20 08:59

    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.

  • Michael
    2019-02-27 08:43

    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 damned thing because I've been very busy. I'll be back, I have to pee.Okay, I'm back. Don't you hate how sometimes you pee but you've had so much to drink that you still kinda feel like you have to pee? I hate that. So, this book is the second one I've read by Le Guin, and I would've probably given it five stars if it hadn't taken me so long to read it. But, as it is, I have to just give it four. This is a story about a man who was born on an anarchist planet who goes to the capitalistic planet that his people originally broke off from, and he's trying to do his physics there because he wasn't able to communicate it with other planets form the anarchist planet he was from. His planet, other than anarchy, is pretty lame. It's a barren wasteland, kind of like Arizona. Except Arizona has cacti, whereas I don't think that Urras does. If it does, they aren't mentioned. Joel was expecting a lot of Urras jokes, but I don't have any. Sorry to disappoint you, Joel. I'm going to refill my wine glass. Be right back.The Left Hand of Darkness dealt with some fascinating themes about gender, and kind of blew my mind. I mean, it really brought to my attention how much gender factors into how I think about people. Before I ask myself, "Is this person an old person or not?" I ask myself, "Is this a man or a woman?" Before anything else, we think about gender. This book does something entirely different from that, but equally interesting. The major theme here is whether a society can be successful if it's anarchy. But, it's more than just that. Through what we see of Urras, we realize that anarchy isn't necessarily going to save the day. Even in this world where money is not a factor and where people aren't motivated by materialistic ideals, you still find people who are motivated by power and prestige. These can become the same kind of selfish force as money and materialism. So, the book seems to be saying that even Anarchy is only an improvement over a capitalistic society where people are suffering and prejudicial. I'm honestly at a loss. I mean, plenty of philosophies have terrific ideals, but you still have people with selfish, private motives, no matter what the political system is. It's an instinctual part of what it means to be human. It's the reptilian part of the brain, so whatever political system we establish, we're going to be struggling against our own instincts. Some of us will be able to rise above our baser instincts, and others among us, like Caris, who is a douche, won't be able to. It's unfortunate, but that is the reality of the human condition.I don't know if I'm talking about the book anymore. I should be drinking more water if I don't want to have a hangover tomorrow. It's really cool to see the way Ursula portrays her conception of an anarchist society, because it's really hard to visualize. My nose is kind of numb. I definitely need to reread this one when I have time to read a book without dragging out the process for months, because, even if I were sober, I'd have a hard time reviewing this shit. It's a shame you don't know ahead of time, and you can't decide to read mediocre books when you're not going to have enough time, and save the really good books for long weekends or times when you're ready for them. Why did I decide to review THIS book drunk? This book is philosophical as fuck, and I can't talk about politics and philosophy when I can barely find the f key. Oh, and before I forget, I should mention that the edition I have of this book SUCKED hardcore. Typos like you wouldn't believe. The cover looked like it was sharted out of an automatic sci-fi cover machine, and the blurb on the back cover actually got details about the book WRONG. Thank you, Harper Collins, for sucking butt. This didn't do much to detract from the book's excellence, however. Anyway, I may add to this when I'm sober enough to figure out what I've left out.I always try to finish on a strong note, and I can't think of anything else to say about this book, so I just want to tell all of you that I love this website. You make this website amazing, and I can't tell you how cool it is that we all have a place to talk about books with each other, other than real life. My nose is gaining its sensation back, and I'm trying to drink more water, so I hopefully won't be hung over. I hope this review isn't as inarticulate as I suspect it is.

  • David
    2019-03-13 02:07

    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 National Book Award. That was back in the days when winning a Hugo meant something.(Sorry, John Scalzi, I like you, but... Redshirts? A Hugo? Seriously?)The Dispossessed takes place on the planet Urras and its habitable moon, Anarres. Urras was the original world from whence men came, with a long recorded history and an environment much like Earth. (Goodreads librarians seem to have decided that The Dispossessed is the fifth book in the "Hainish" cycle. My understanding is that the other books do take place in the same universe, but are largely independent of one another. However, they are united by the Hainish, who apparently contacted all the races of mankind on different planets and revealed that they are all descended from common ancestors. This is a detail mentioned in this book, but not really very important.)About a hundred and fifty years ago, revolutionaries from Urras fled that planet on a rocket to Anarres, and settled on the barren, habitable but stark and hardscrabble moon. They follow a philosophy called Odonianism, after the founder, a woman named Odo. Odonianism is true anarcho-communism, and so this book is mostly an exploration of two very different socio-political systems. Urras, as I said, is much like Earth — its most wealthy nations are essentially capitalist (what Odonians call "propertarians"), but it has a range of governments (what Odonians call "archists"). When Shevek, the physicist who is the first Anarresesti to return to Urras since the Anarres colony was founded, encounters Anarres society, he of course experiences culture shock, horror at their propertarian and archist ways, but he also realizes that it is not the authoritarian hellhole that all Odonians assume it must be.He had been taught as a child that Urras was a festering mass of inequity, iniquity, and waste. But all the people he met, and all the people he saw, in the smallest country village, were well dressed, well fed, and contrary to his expectations, industrious. They did not stand about sullenly waiting to be ordered to do things. Just like Anarresti, they were simply busy getting things done. It puzzled him. He had assumed that if you removed a human being's natural incentive to work -- his initiative, his spontaneous creative energy -- and replaced it with external motivation and coercion, he would become a lazy and careless worker. But no careless workers kept those lovely farmlands, or made the superb cars and comfortable trains. The lure and compulsion of profit was evidently a much more effective replacement of the natural initiative than he had been led to believe.A superficial and ideologically reflexive reader might think that Le Guin is praising socialism, that The Dispossessed is a novel that criticizes capitalism and democracy and authority in favor of some idealistic vision of anarcho-communism. (Notice how I conflated socialism and communism there? Well, the superficial and ideologically reflexive reader thinks they are the same thing. Le Guin knows better.) But inasmuch as she portrays the Odonians in a sympathetic light, as they are the protagonists, she also takes us through Shevek's entire life and his discovery of the flaws in Odonian society, the ways in which human nature conspires to undermine every utopian ideal. And shows how Anarres is a harsh and sometimes joyless place, even without violence or authority or force or compulsion. The Anarresti consider themselves a utopia and Urrasti society to be a dystopia; the Urrasti think the opposite.Shevek, as a brilliant physicist who holds the key to what the Urrasti believe will lead to profound technological advancement (including making weapons, naturally), is warmly welcomed to Urras, where they do their best to subvert and seduce him. But Shevek came to Urras to bring the revolution back to the planet on which it was born.I had to think about why this book so impressed me, and made me give it 5 stars, despite its lack of razzle-dazzle or action or high concept plotting. Part of it is Le Guin's prose, of course — she's a skilled and artistic writer who delves deep into human psychology and sociology and yet also manages to make the advanced, esoteric physics, hand-waved as it is, sound plausible and high-falutin' and sciency. (Keeping in mind, again, that this book was written in 1974!)I came to the conclusion that first of all, this is a book that is only nominally science fiction. Or rather, while it is most certainly science fiction, it's not the "science fiction" part that dominates the narrative. The story doesn't need to be about a physicist on another planet; it just makes certain elements easier to explain that way. It's a story about how societies interact and how people interact with each other and how people interact with society. The Anarresti were interesting precisely because Le Guin put as much effort into working out the details of a global anarchist communitarian civilization - which is able to conduct advanced physics and make trains run on time - as most SF authors put into the orders of battle for their starfleets and the physics of their warp drives and the biology of their Slee'th'krin Hagaa'r aliens, etc.Lots of folks on Earth say "Well, sure, communism is an 'ideal' society in theory, but it will never scale beyond a small community, let alone for an entire planet." So Le Guin goes about showing how it might work. And it really does work — but it's not a utopia. At one point, one of the Urrasti lower classes tells Shevek "At least on your world, no one goes hungry." And Shevek corrects him: "No one goes hungry while another man eats." In fact the Anarresti do go hungry during a rather harrowing global drought. Arguably the result of the environment, and the Anarresti's hardships are largely the result of their having to settle on a barely-liveable planet instead of the lush Urras, but still, it's no utopia. Le Guin shows how a society in which no one has to do anything, no one can be made to do anything, and everyone can take whatever they like, actually works, through the mechanism of social norms and mores. People just do. And those same norms and mores also result in a slow bureaucratization, and institutionalization even in a society supposedly without institutions, and authoritarianism in a society supposedly without authorities, because people are still people.My other conclusion, or maybe a corollary to the first, is that science fiction falls into two categories, broadly: Big Idea SF, and old stories dressed up as SF.There can be a lot of overlap, of course, and I like old stories dressed up as SF. But as Star Trek was famously described as "Wagon Train in Space," a lot of science fiction is your basic war story, or rags to riches/orphan hero, or rebels against evil invaders, or crime thriller or detective mystery, etc., with androids and space travel and beam weapons or whatever. They are perfectly good stories, may even be great fiction, but they aren't really bringing anything new to the table. Enjoyable, but just another way to retell a story.Big Idea SF is what science fiction, or "speculative fiction" to get all pretentious about it, is "supposed" to do when you are waxing pretentious about genres. Namely, explore ideas, posit hypotheses, construct stories around a what-if or play with science and technology in ways we can't yet in reality. This is how you come up with mind-bending stories, worldview-changers, science fiction that expands boundaries.Most of this science fiction is built on the premise of some advanced technology, or climactic changes, or the arrival of aliens, or some other clearly fantastical element. In The Dispossessed, the advanced technology is the minimum necessary for plot purposes, the mention of offworlders (Hainish and Terrans and others) likewise. It's a novel of societal science fiction.In my slightly snobby opinion, that's kind of what we should reward novels for with Hugos and Nebulas. With the big, big disclaimer that if you peruse my reading list, you will see I read and enjoy lots of books for no other reason than they were great war stories or detective mysteries with androids and space travel and beam weapons or whatever.The Dispossessed is really a thinking book that would be, should be a literary classic, even if it must always struggle against that bright orange paperback cover that says "sci-fi."

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-03-04 08:47

    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 to experience for himself an Anarchical society is utopia for him. For the Earth Ambassador the relatively unspoilt environment of Urras is utopian, more, it is a paradise, compared with the degraded environment and harsh future that Le Guin, with fine optimism, suggests might be ours. Yet equally the social unity and mutual support of that future-maybe Earth looks utopian, Earth is Utopia to Shevek - the central character of this piece a physicist whose non-conventional physics can't win acceptance in the cautious conservatism of an anarchic community, Earth for him is a place that guarantees the intellectual freedom and respect that he wants.The paradise of Urras is a utopia for the wealthy. For the working poor the arid, meatless, alcohol free world of Anarres which has no Bosses, and no inherited wealth, is the utopia.For Shevek however the strongly conservative, socially conformist society of Anarres is restrictive. He hears in every voice mind forg'd manacles. The structure of the novel makes clear his eventual failures and the dispossession of his careful assembled illusions on on both Urras and Anarres as each story progresses in parallel towards the eventual hope of a new Utopia.Yet it is discontent that is the driver of social change. It was discontent that inspires Shevek to escape, twice. And it was discontent that formed the original anarchist movement and lead to the settlement of the bare moon that becomes Anarres. A world stuck in an effectively colonial relationship with Urras, dependant on them for hydrocarbons and new plant varieties. All of these societies are the products of their ecology. If Earth has achieved a rationed equality in this future it is because that is the only way that survival is possible given the devastated environment. Anarres succeeds in rejecting the idea of property on a planet where there is nothing to own. Urras is abundant in natural wealth that is, apparently inevitably, hoarded as property in the hands of the few whether under capitalism in A-Io or communism in Thu.This is reflected in gender relations. On Anarres there can be equality between men and women, while on Urras there can only be the kinds of gender relations familiar with us - tainted by notions of property (view spoiler)[ I have found so far The Dispossessed's handling of gender more relevant than that in The Left Hand of Darkness, men and women are familiar to me while I remain unacquainted with ambi-sexual people (hide spoiler)].The implication of this is ambiguous. If utopian dreams and discontent can produce new realities, those realities will be determined by their physical circumstances. Robinson Crusoe will create a different society on a temperate island to on a tropical island despite himself and his best intentions. If people seek to make and remake themselves they can't escape the environment and is it that relationship with the environment that will determine the outcomes? But this is a book that wants to play with ambiguity, not deal out certainties.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-21 09:00

    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 that message, she is certainly sympathetic towards, and ultimately an advocate for, Shevek's anarchist society. However, she also, through her main character, explores both the virtues and flaws of capitalism, communism and socialism through some very well drawn supporting characters. She also clearly shows the flaws of the "favored" system of anarchy through her main character and his experiences.While I ultimately disagree with LeGuin's political philosophy, I really liked how she expressed it in a well-thought out and very respectful manner. One important message from Le Guin's novel is that any system of government, even a non government system of government, must constantly be on the look out for the centralization of power in the hands of a few. I think that is something most people can agree with.Oh yeah, the book is also extremely well written, with superb world building and was a ton of fun to read. Highly Recommended!!!!Winner: Hugo Award for Best NovelWinner: Nebula Award for Best NovelWinner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction NovelWinner: Prometheus Award for Best NovelNamed to the Locus list of "All Time Best" Science Fiction novels.

  • Chris_P
    2019-02-21 06:53

    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 Ανάρες λοιπόν, ξέχασαν το τραγούδι που ενέπνευσε την επανάσταση και που τους χάρισε την απόλυτη ελευθερία, χάνοντας με αυτόν τον τρόπο την αυθεντικότητά τους και κατ' επέκταση την ουσία τους. Άκουγα ξανά και ξανά για την αποστασιοποιημένη στάση που κρατάει η Le Guin στο μυθιστόρημά της και την οποία, για να είμαι ειλικρινής, δεν είδα. Παρουσιάζει την κοινωνία της Ανάρες σαν βασισμένη στις σωστές ιδέες αλλά έχοντας χάσει στην πορεία αυτές ακριβώς τις ιδέες που είναι και ο λόγος ύπαρξής της. Από την άλλη, είναι η κοινωνία του Γιουράς, η οποία παρουσιάζεται σαν εντυπωσιακή αλλά σάπια. Σαν ένας βόθρος με φανταχτερό περιτύλιγμα που κρύβει φτώχια, μιζέρια και δεσποτισμό. Και τι άλλο θα μπορούσε να είναι μια καπιταλιστική κοινωνία; Οποίος πιστεύει ότι μπορεί να υπάρξει υγιής καπιταλισμός, δεν έχει παρά να ανοίξει ένα βιβλίο στοιχειώδους μικροοικονομίας. Η απλά να κοιτάξει γύρω του, βέβαια... Είναι σαφής η αντίθεση μεταξύ των δύο κόσμων. Δεν χρειάζεται να μας το συλλαβίσει, θεωρώ. Ο πρωταγωνιστής μας, ο Σεβέκ, νιώθοντας ότι τα πράγματα στον κόσμο του δεν είναι όπως θα πρεπε εξ ορισμού να είναι, ονειρεύεται να γεφυρώσει τους δυο κόσμους, ελπίζοντας κατά βάθος ότι θα βρει στον Γιουράς το κλειδί για την εξυγίανση του πλανήτη του. Αυτό που βρίσκει όμως, είναι υποκρισία, καταπίεση και αρρώστια. Με λίγα λόγια, η πραγματική ανθρώπινη ευτυχία βρίσκεται στα ιδεώδη της Ανάρες, αν μόνο μπορούσε να εξυγιανθεί και να βρει ξανά τον δρόμο που χάραξε η Όντο, η πρωτομάστορας της επανάστασης. Αλλά και έτσι όπως είναι τα πράγματα, η κοινωνία της Ανάρες είναι σαφώς πιο υγιής από του Γιουράς με βάση το πώς μας τη δίνει η συγγραφέας. Η αλήθεια είναι ότι χάρηκα και ανακουφίστηκα όταν είδα ότι η Le Guin δεν είναι αποστασιοποιημένη, γιατί αντιπαθώ το μέσο. Την ψυχρή μελέτη χωρίς συναίσθημα και άποψη.Η γραφή της Le Guin ισορροπεί ανάμεσα στον ρεαλισμό και τον λυρισμό. Υπάρχει μια συναισθηματική φόρτιση στις σελίδες, άλλοτε υποβόσκουσα και άλλοτε πλήρως ενεργητική. Το βιβλίο βρίθει από ιδέες και αποφθέγματα που κάνουν σαφές το πεδίο στο οποίο κινείται η συγγραφέας. Κινείται, αλλά ποτέ με φανατισμό. Δείχνει να κρατάει ψύχραιμη, αν και συνειδητοποιημένη, στάση χωρίς υπερβολές και αχρείαστες ψευτοσυγκινήσεις. Ο χαρακτήρας της, ο Σεβέκ, είναι φτιαγμένος με μεγάλη μαεστρία. Πολύ μακριά από τέλειος, με τα πάθη του και τις αδυναμίες του, βαθειά ρομαντικός και ταγμένος στη φύση του, μοιάζει να είναι ο μόνος εναπομείναντας αληθινός αναρχικός σε αυτή την "αναρχική" κοινωνία. Μαζί του, ανακαλύπτει κι ο αναγνώστης σιγά σιγά τις ομοιότητες και τις αντιστοιχίες των δύο κόσμων και δεν μπορεί παρά να ταυτιστεί μαζί του. Οι διάλογοί του με κατοίκους του Γιουράς περί της θέσης των γυναικών, της τάσης για αμπαλάρισμα και της εμπορευματοποίησης των πάντων (ναι, και της τέχνης κυρίες και κύριοι), με έκαναν να νιώθω την αδρεναλίνη μου να φουντώνει και να διψάω για οργή και κράξιμο. Στο βάθος όμως εκτίμησα την μετρημένη γραφή και την διατήρηση της ουσίας με τρόπους... ουσιώδεις.Με λίγα λόγια, μου είναι πλήρως κατανοητό γιατί θεωρείται αριστούργημα. Ο λόγος που βάζω 4 αστέρια και όχι 5 (και αυτό το κάνω με βαριά καρδιά, πιστέψτε με) είναι γιατί κάτι μου έλειψε στο τέλος. Παρ' όλο που πάντα εκτιμώ τα τέλη που δεν έχουν ανάγκη από εκρήξεις και καταιγισμούς και διατηρούν την ουσία τους σε λιτές και απέριττες κορυφώσεις, εδώ κάτι με χάλασε. Δεν ξέρω τι περίμενα. Πιθανόν να ήμουν συναισθηματικά φορτισμένος καθ' όλη την διάρκειά του και να με αποφόρτισε απότομα. Είναι ένα βιβλίο το οποίο κατά τα άλλα θεωρώ τέλειο και θα το διαβάσω ξανά πιστεύοντας ότι ίσως τότε εκτιμήσω κάτι που έχασα στο τέλος.Edit: Ε, λοιπόν άλλαξα γνώμη. Την πρώτη φορά δεν είχα καταλάβει καν ότι διάβαζα το τελευταίο κεφάλαιο. Τόσο πολύ είχα απορροφηθεί. Το ξαναδιάβασα, ξέροντας αυτή τη φορά ότι μένουν λίγες μόνο σελίδες και ναι, δεν νομίζω να μπορούσε να δοθεί καλύτερο τέλος. Και δεν χρειάζεται κιόλας.

  • Esma Tezgi
    2019-02-20 04:42

    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 eşit, herkes özgür. Urras ise tam zıddı kapitalizmin hüküm sürdüğü bir gezegen, bizim dünyamızın bir yansıması. -"Bize kimin yalan söylediğini düşünüyorsun?"-"Kim mi, kardeşim? Kendimizden başka kim olabilir ki?" Bu iki dünya arasında da Shevek adlı bir fizikçi ve onun idealleri var. İki dünyayı da Shevek'in gözünden tanıyoruz. Annaresli, insana sadece insan olduğu için değer veren Shevek'in gözünden kapitalist sistem nasıl görünüyor siz tahmin edin! Yazarın kitapta flashbacklerden yararlanması ise çok zekice idi, bu hem kitaba ayrı bir lezzet katmış hem de sizi kitaba daha çok çekiyor.Kitap 1974 yılında yazılmış ve yazar ortaya gerçekten çok güzel bir iş çıkarmış. Yazarın anarşizme olan bakış açısını paylaşmasam da kitaptan öğrendiğim çok şey oldu ve insanı bir kez de Ursula Guin'in gözünden okumuş oldum. Kitaptaki çoğu detay çok zekice, bunu aslında okudukça görebilirsiniz. Kitabın ikinci kez okumayı kesinlikle hak eden bir tarafı var, ileride bir daha okumayı düşünüyorum eminim ki kitapta gözden kaçırdığım çok detay var. Gözlerde de görkemi, insan ruhunun görkemini görürsünüz. Çünkü bizim erkeklerimiz ve kadınlarımız özgürdür, hiçbir şeye sahip olmadıkları için özgürdürler.Son olarak, hiç şüphesiz kitabın beni en etkileyen kısmı ise sahipliler-özgürler ayrımı oldu. Hepimiz kendimizi özgür sanan ama sahip olduğumuzu sandığımız şeylerin kölesi olan sahiplileriz. mülkiyet özgürlük değil tutsaklık getiriyor ne yazık ki. Bizi tutsak eden gereksiz her şeyden kurtulup özgür olabilmemiz dileğiyle, sağlıcakla kalın kitap dostları.

  • Nickolas the Kid
    2019-03-05 06:44

    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 κόσμων!

  • Althea Ann
    2019-03-18 07:49

    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 so long, I wasn't sure how it would hold up. You can see I still have 5 stars up there, though...When I was a pre-teen, I remember thinking that the book felt very 'adult.' This time, I was more impressed at how LeGuin actually manages to deeply explore profound and complex ideas through simple, elegant language that just about anyone, of any age, can understand.And - this is a book of ideas. That's the one aspect of the novel that I could see being used as a valid complaint about the book. However, I didn't feel that the characters fell by the wayside. Although they might be there, at times, to illustrate certain points, they still feel like fully realized people, who think, act, and feel in believable ways.This is, of course, the story of Shevek, a remarkably brilliant physicist (and an excellent example of a character who is much smarter than average, and who behaves and thinks in such a way as to demonstrate that, rather than the much-more-common occurrence where we're supposed to believe that someone is talented or smart because the author tells us so.) Shevek was born on Anarres, a colony world started as a social experiment, following the philosophy of the radical communo-anarchist Odo. 170 years later, after hardly any contact with the home world of Urras, rumors persist about the oppressive decadence of the 'propertarians' of the home world, Urras. However, Shevek, a bit of a misfit in his own society, is invited to visit Urras. Through the book, we see their capitalist society and contrast its pros and cons with those of Annares.As a kicker, we also get to glimpse a hint of what things are like not only on Urras and Anarres, but here on Earth, as well as among the Hainish: there are not only two social possibilities. An admission: when I first read this, I identified more strongly with Shevek and Takver. This time, I had far more sympathy and understanding for Vea - as, perhaps, most people in the West would.Essays and books could be written (and have been) about the ideas contained in 'The Dispossessed' - I've not going to do an analysis here.But I will say; I still think this is a book that everyone should read.