The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin – sci-fi

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed revolves around a physicist named Shevek who is from a utopian moon that borders a hierarchical caste like system planet. On the moon, every one is looked at equally, whereas on the planet, there are servants, rich, intellectuals, etc. Shevek is intent on enacting change that would end the isolation of his own world and reconnect the two together again.

I have to say that this turned out to be my second favorite Le Guin book so far. I think The Lathe of Heaven might always be my favorite, but I really did enjoy this one. I didn’t want to put it down, which is always a good sign. I also didn’t want it to end. I really enjoyed Shevek as a character. He was endearing and I loved reading his backstory of how he grew up in a more socialist environment.

Le Guin attempts to contrast two societies that spawned from one. The anarchists live in a more utopian world, where women and men are seen as equals - something our society (or some people in it, at least) is attempting to do now. There is always a disconnect between men and women becoming equal, I think, due in large part to biology. Men, for the most part, are physically more capable than women. This book tries to push these ideas (women, in Shevek’s world, might be a tad weaker physically, but work longer). Whereas, on Urras, women aren’t really seen in the same light. They don’t go to college or are seen as intellectuals. They are simply child bearers and rearers.

I think Shevek really had an uphill battle in trying to unite these two places. When people are set in their ways, it is difficult to be the catalyst of change. There would have to be revolution on one side, I think, for them to come together. And who is going to revolt against their ways? Which side is the right side? I found it all very relative to the current times and the book really did make me think, which is always a good thing!