Anarres vs. Urras - Ambiguous Walls: “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin

Published 1994.



“There was a wall. It did not look important…But the idea was real…Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon the which side of it you were on”.


In “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin




"Call me Shevek. Some years ago, never mind how many, I set out to be the tedious, most hypocritical, unreal character in all of fiction. That I failed is of little consequence. But here, for your records is some of the bare facts of how I failed.


Manuel, Manuel, Manuel. I don't drink booze? But I got drunk at a party, ejaculated all over a woman's dress (Did Bill Clinton read my tale?) and then promptly threw up. Did you skip some of my story? I am not amused! When I saw I was causing distress on page 75 to those very different to myself, I stopped. Am I not sympathetic? I make jokes. 'You have your anarchist. What are you going to do with him?' and so on...but I won't dwell on the point. ;) And now having read the novel again after about 10 years, I am even fonder of it that I was back then. Chapter 5 is like a distilled version of “The Brothers Karamazov” and the whole is a more serious, thoughtful “Stranger in a Strange Land”.


So, yes, Manuel, Shevek is quite like me in many ways, but since I've never had a single alcoholic drink in my life, I am even more unreliable as a character!!

And so this orphan is all alone without even a cardboard character to keep me company. ;)"


If you're into vintage SF, read on.