Monday, December 29, 2008

The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin

The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin

Utopia is anarchy. Or at least that is what we are led to believe at the outset of Le Guin’s tale. A terraformed moon houses an isolationist anarchy, while the planet it orbits has a two-class male dominated government. At first I thought this was going to be a thinly disguised treatise on the merits of Libertarianism, but as the story progresses we find that both communities have their problems. What the message actually is tells us that any society needs constant challenge to remain healthy. We see a class riot on one world, and a near lynching on the other; both instigated by one scientist that is trying to break down barriers that have kept these two apart. In tone it is closer to Atlas Shrugged than 2001; a fascinating read, but not hard science-fiction either.

First Sentence:
There was a wall.

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