The Dispossessed

an ambiguous Utopia

Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

English language

Published Dec. 1, 1994 by Eos.


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5 stars (4 reviews)

The story takes place on the fictional planet Urras and its moon Anarres (since Anarres is massive enough to hold an atmosphere, this is often described as a double planet system). In order to forestall an anarcho-syndical workers' rebellion, the major Urrasti states gave the revolutionaries the right to live on Anarres, along with a guarantee of non-interference, approximately two hundred years before the events of The Dispossessed.[2] Before this, Anarres had had no permanent settlements apart from some mining.

The protagonist Shevek is a physicist attempting to develop a General Temporal Theory. The physics of the book describes time as having a much deeper, more complex structure than we understand it. It incorporates not only mathematics and physics, but also philosophy and ethics. The meaning of the theories in the book weaves nicely into the plot, not only describing abstract physical concepts, but the ups and downs of the …

33 editions

The Dispossessed

5 stars

This book answers the age-old Cold War era question that is burning on everybody's minds... what if there were anarchists on the moon? So so well written and really captures your attention while making you imagine how a different would could look. The ending had me wishing that it was twice as long, and that is a sign of a good book.

One of the books I want to keep returning to

5 stars

I first read this book 20 years ago in a German translation and liked it a lot, but I didn't get a lot of it. Now, reading the English original and having had more of a political education, at first I was: "Is this book as good as I remember it?", but then, I enjoyed it even more.

I love that it's not an unbroken utopia and the ending leaves some things open. I also liked how it shows how power-laden relationships and positions can inadvertently creep back into a society that's not supposed to have them.


  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction - General
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  • Fiction - Science Fiction
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