Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Contributors | November 26, 2014

    Chris Faatz: IMG The Collected Poems of James Laughlin



    Fall has brought us a true gift in the publication of the massive The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, published by New Directions in an... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$15.99
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Hawthorne Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z
12 Remote Warehouse Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z
1 Remote Warehouse Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z

This title in other editions

The Dispossessed

by

The Dispossessed Cover

 

 

Author Q & A

In The Dispossessed, you portray the aliens as kind beings compassionate to the novel's hero. Why is it important to you that they receive help from the aliens? Do you think the first aliens we meet will be benevolent?

Do I think the first aliens we meet will be benevolent? No. Honestly, I don't think we're going to meet any aliens, nice or nasty, first or last — not any time soon. Space travel and other world beings are wonderful ideas, very useful to story tellers; you can say things about us and our world by talking about other beings and other worlds — imaginary ones — that you couldn't say any other way. But it has nothing to do with predicting an imminent possibility, and nothing to do with belief. You know, I write about dragons, too, for the same reason, but I don't think dragons exist outside the human mind. The imagination is our most useful tool, and it's most useful when it isn't taken literally!

So, the aliens being imaginary, being part of a made-up story, they are what the story needs, what fits into the story best.

Did you make a timeline of events before you began writing The Dispossessed? How do you keep track of the numerous causes and effects throughout the novel? Did you write it linearly at first and then shift the time around?

I did a lot of work on The Dispossessed before I began to write it — reading the pacifist anarchist writers, figuring out how the anarchist society of Anarres might work and what the history of both planets was, and learning a whole lot I didn't know about the study of time, both by philosophers and by physicists. So coming to the story with all that fairly heavy baggage, I had to plan out to some extent where it would all go...which meant having a fairly clear idea of the shape and movement of the book (I am uncomfortable with the word plot, I don't think most of my stories have plots.)

So I started off with the first chapter where Shevek is a baby trying to own the sunlight, and wrote happily on, expecting not to get to Urras till half way through the book....Surprise! Chapters about going to Urras, what happened on Urras, kept insisting on crowding in and getting written. I usually write perfectly linearly, a to b to c...but here came k, and q, and w, all saying, "Write me! write me!" So I argued with myself in my notebook. Wouldn't it be very artsy and self-conscious to write the book in this zigzag fashion — alternating the two time periods, two different worlds — Who do you think you are? William Faulkner? Huh? But the book was right: it had to be written that way. And I wrote it that way. Then the final surprise came from my friend Darko Suvin, who read it in manuscript, and said, "But this has twelve chapters and it has closure, it is (at least apparently) all nicely tied up in a package at the end. This is all wrong for a book about anarchism!" Of course he was right, which is why the book has thirteen chapters, and at the end everything is up in the air — it could go any number of ways — no doors of possibility are shut. That is, of course, essential to the nature of this story and its subject. The doors stay open!

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Marjorie Madonne, May 19, 2008 (view all comments by Marjorie Madonne)
I've always loved Le Guin. The Dispossessed is a true classic of the genre -- beautifully written and very moving. I recently reread it after many years, along with The Left Hand of Darkness, another Le Guin classic. Both are as good as ever, not dated at all.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(12 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
funnyc8e, May 9, 2008 (view all comments by funnyc8e)
Quintessential LeGuin. Quintessential reading for the failed, frustrated, dead-ended, but still dreaming revolutionary in you. Don't be afraid of failure. Dig in.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060512750
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Author:
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Author:
Green, Tim 3994
Publisher:
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Life on other planets
Subject:
Physicists
Subject:
Communal living
Subject:
Anarchism
Subject:
Utopian fiction
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reissue ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
Perennial Classics
Series Volume:
03-010
Publication Date:
August 14, 2003
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.93 in 16.05 oz

Other books you might like

  1. The Left Hand of Darkness...
    Used Trade Paper $6.00
  2. The Left Hand of Darkness
    New Trade Paper $16.00
  3. A Wizard of Earthsea: The First Book... Used Trade Paper $8.00
  4. The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  5. Accelerando
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  6. Neuromancer
    Used Mass Market $5.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Classics
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Sale Books

The Dispossessed New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.99 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Perennial - English 9780060512750 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.