Monday, November 8, 2010

The Hugos: The Dispossessed

Praise be to Heinlein, it's 1975 and I'm finally halfway out of the blasted seventies!

Praise also to Ursula K. Le Guin, but not from me. Not for this book.  Her previous Hugo winner 'The Left Hand of Darkness' also got my 'meh' review, and I liked this one slightly better, but not a full star rating better.   I felt about the same level of 'not GETTING this at all'.  I gave them both two stars out of five on goodreads.

How can I like 'The Lathe of Heaven' SO much more?  5 out of 5, deeply moving, awesome sci-fi.  The Hainish Cycle (of which The Dispossessed is a part) is NO Vorkosigan Saga.  No outer space thrills here, just a sociology lecture.  

'The Dispossessed' takes place around the year 2300 on the planets of Urras and Anarc-who-cares and feature diatribes about culture clashes of incompatible political and economic systems, what it means to own or not to own, and the faint wish of hope for a utopia that can never be... 

BAW-RING!  Very slow pacing, nothing to hold my interest, nothing I even RECALL about this book all this time later.  Fish-out-of-water physicist Shevek has a Vulcan name but there's no Star Trek fun here.  Nor is he a quirky laugh-at-yourself kind of physicist like those delightful nerds on 'Big Bang Theory'.  

Shevek's loaded down with the crush of his angst in two worlds without compassion where no one can see the value of his work.

I swear by all you hold holy, I WISH I liked this.  Le Guin is an amazing person, deeply gifted, well worthy of the esteem of the science fiction community.  

Nevertheless, BOTH her Hugos left me cold and disillusioned, wondering what I ever liked about her Earthsea books back in the day.

It's a book about US.  About our limitations as a species.  The miseries and the lonely isolation and the cruelty. There is NO good reason not to like this book.

But that didn't stop me! 

Despite how I come across here, I STILL think, outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Because INSIDE of a dog it's too dark to read.

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