The Dispossessed

A planet named Urras is host to a habitable moon known as Anarres. Some seven generations ago, a group of communist settlers left Urras to build a colony on the moon, after which communication between the colonists and the planet all but ceased. The novel begins as one of the colonists, a young physicist, is about to return to the planet—the first colonist to do so. In the ideological battle that follows, Le Guin unequivocally favors the settlers, but not without also leaving them open to criticism. The book’s reading line refers to it as “an ambiguous utopia”—but of course, all utopias are ambiguous.