This is a book about scientists who are also kind people, or maybe kind people who happen to be scientists, living in an anarchist utopia written in the seventies, with all the political and emotional baggage that the context entails.
It is all written in a very earnest fashion, deadly serious even when it talks about “young people going away to copulate”, the phrasing of which made me chuckle. It might be because I'm just out of teenagerdom, or because using over-precision in sexual and eschatological questions as a sample of Anarrestis' healthier ways is really a tad ridiculous. Shevek lands on an beautiful planet from the moon -people, the moon
- and instead of wondering about, say, gardening, ponders the final destiny of feces. I concede that it’s a central function of the human race, and I’m fairly certain that we could bond over the ages with our great sons and grand fathers through it, still I’m not sure it deserved all the love it gets in the Dispossessed.
Ursula has such an organised imagination. All that ridiculous precision, the careful pacing, the annoying asides about a made-up made-up (inception!) language, create a very solid, deliberate universe. The characters are theoricians, but they are not cold. Like in all of Ursula’s writing, there is a deep will to make the world all better. It’s so entirely endearing. I want to be Takver; I want to meet Shevek, I want to decorate an empty room with an Occupation of Unihabited Space, circles with a common center, going over one another in careful balance, like this novel.