Class Distinction


The concept of ownership -- items, people, ideas -- is the heart of master storyteller Ursula Le Guinn’s 1975 masterwork The Dispossessed. Winner of the Nebula and Hugo awards, the highest lliterary awards for science fiction writers, this story transcends that genre’s boundaries. It is a story of a man Shevek, a physicist/anarchist, from the arid and socialistic planet Anarres who creates The Principle of Simultaneity -- instantaneous communication -- something that will revolutionize interstellar communication between all worlds. This is a tome about philosophical and ideological differences and how one views what is truly the best utopian society or how two neighboring planets occupied by anarchists and capitalists view/exploit Shevek's discovery.

The book's narrative timeline is non-linear, so one may feel compelled to reread certain passages or chapters, but once you understand the author's intention and cadence the rewards of the narrative will unfurl in perfect order. In fact, I reread the opening chapter several times to unlock a deeper understanding of the protagonist's predicament. When Shevek travels to the sister planet of Urras hoping to share his discovery, away from the grips of jealous and fearful colleagues, he comes to understand that utopian ideas and political systems all must deal with "ego" for better or worse. Jealousy is also an issue when ego takes over. And power most always corrupts, even in the most benevolent societies. Moreover, enslavement can be both physical and spiritual, and material possessions can just as easily enslave a society as political despots. 

Buy and read this book and her other classic novels The Lathe of Heaven and The Left Hand of Darkness. You will be handsomely rewarded.