September 20th, 2013


Book Review: The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin

A science fiction novel that speculates equally upon physics and sociology.

The Dispossessed

Harper Voyager, 1974, 387 pages

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

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Verdict: In my slightly snobby opinion, this is the kind of speculative fiction we should reward with Hugos and Nebulas. Rather than, you know, deconstructions of Star Trek. There is nothing wrong with pure action and adventure and nuking of aliens, nor with space romances, when you are in the mood for that, but The Dispossessed is one of those books to hand to people when you need an example of how something can be science fiction and literature. It's a novel of ideas, and like any novel of ideas, you the reader are not required to agree with them, but they are worthy of deconstruction.

My complete list of book reviews.