The Dispossessed

an ambiguous Utopia

Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

English language

Published Dec. 1, 1994 by Eos.


View on OpenLibrary

5 stars (10 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 …

34 editions

A political thought experiment

3 stars

The cover blurb for The Dispossessed makes it sound like a thrilling exciting narrative, filled with tension and action:

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, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

But that's not what it is, and it's certainly not Le Guin's focus. This is clear in the way she avoids what might be the more dramatic elements of the story, or distances us from them in how they are portrayed. The story is bookended by two examples of that. The opening …

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.

Review of 'Los desposeídos' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Una obra que vuelve a usar la ciencia ficción como entrada pero que es un análisis y una reflexión sobre la sociedad, desde la luna Anarres, donde la sociedad se organiza en un modo anarquista/socialissta al planeta Urras, donde tras un conflicto estos últimos fueron expulsados y donde el planeta se organiza en base a oligopolios y un capitalismo salvaje. Como nexo entre ambos mundos el protagonista intenta establecer un diálogo, intentando propiciar el desarrollo de ambas sociedades con la colaboración científica. Un libro que no deja de ser una reflexión y un golpe sobre la mesa sobre la política, la sociedad y el papel de la ciencia y los científicos.

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.

avatar for

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Ssquiggle

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Flops

rated it

5 stars


  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction - General
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Fiction / Science Fiction / General
  • General
  • Literary