This is in response to an ongoing (every other week) livestream in which a friend and I are discussing Ursula LeGuin’s classic novel, The Dispossessed. It’s a work of science fiction set in a distant star system, on the planet Urras and its moon, Anarres. Generations ago, a group of political dissidents on Urras were offered the opportunity to become settlers on Annares and to run their society as they saw fit, in exchange for mining a valuable ore that had limited availability on the planet but was apparently plentiful on the otherwise nearly-barren moon.
The protagonist is Shevek, an Anarresti physicist who travels to Urras. He is simultaneously curious and also bewildered at the vast differences between the society in which he was raised and the one he is visiting. His own society aims to be stateless, classless, and egalitarian, while Urras is comprised of nation-states with rigid class and gender structure. Things escalate to full-out sexual assault in chapter 7, which was part of the discussion in the livestream. However, I woke up at two in the morning with further thoughts, which you can find behind the cut.