Ursula Le Guin The Dispossessed

ISBN 13: 9781857988826

The Dispossessed

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The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous communication. It is the life work of Shevek, a brilliant physicist from the arid anarchist world of Anarres.

But Shevek's work is being stifled by jealous colleagues, so he travels to Anarres's sister-planet Urras, hoping to find more liberty and tolerance there. But he soon finds himself being used as a pawn in a deadly political game.

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Review:

Most of Le Guin's science fiction is set in a human galaxy where the distance of time and space imposed by relativity is mitigated by instantaneous transmission of information through a gadget called the ansible. The Dispossessed, famous for being Ken Livingstone's favourite science fiction novel, was the book in which she told us of Shevek, the ansible's inventor, and the ironies of his career. Shevek is a loyal citizen of a poor anarchist world, Anarres, which finds frills like research hard to afford; he travels to the neighbouring world of Urras, to find that unbridled capitalism is not much fun either. "Nio Esseia, a city of four million souls, lifted its delicate glittering towers across the green marshes of the Estuary as if it were built of mist and sunlight...Was all Nio Esseia this? Huge shining boxes of stone and glass, immense, ornate, enormous packages, empty, empty." At once one of the greatest of SF novels about political ideas and idealism, and a stunning novel of character, The Dispossessed has at its centre Shevek, scientist and near-saint, a flawed human being whom we come to know as we know few characters in modern science fiction. --Roz Kaveney

Review:

The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin (Roddy Doyle THE TIMES)

An extraordinary work ... [Le Guin] created a working society in exquisite detail ... a fully realised hypothetical culture [as well as] living breathing characters who are inevitable products of that culture (Baird Searles)

A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again (THE TIMES)

A deeply imagined work of art (Encyclopedia of Science Fiction)

Le Guin's book ... is so persuasive that it ought to put a stop to the writing of prescriptive Utopias for at least 10 years (NEW YORK TIMES)

[Le Guin had] the heart of a poet who knew all too well the difference between miracle and eureka, revelation and revolution (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

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