The Dispossessed


Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2009
Cambridge, UK
Just a thought: doesn't this book focus as well on the theme of people's lives being driven by machines? Like in the way the computer thought of the name of the baby Sadik?

I don't think that was a major issue in the book, to be honest, although it was there. The computer is more of a neutral facilitator -- at least, that's how I read it.

One thing that always stayed with me is how Sadik can't understand the army's command structure at all (he thinks it should be self-organising, much more efficient) until he sees soldiers mowing down innocent civilians. Then it made perfect sense. That and the bald women. All for bald women. But seriously, excellent book overall. It's my favourite of the books of her's that I've read (admittedly not many).


Well-Known Member
Nov 5, 2015
I just finished this, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

If I can throw my hat into the feminism discussion, I felt that the book's message on gender flows from its message on property; the society in A-Io is entirely based around property ownership, so the relation between men and women is essentially one of ownership too. On Anarres, as there is (supposedly) no power to be had anywhere, relationships between the genders are necessarily equal. In my mind the episode between Shevek and Vea at the party is meant, amongst other things, to encapsulate the commodification and 'propertisation' of sexual relationships.

I didn't find there to be a particularly strong feminist message other than that, although compared to other more macho sci-fi (especially of the period) then I suppose it does seem that way!
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