Political /Academic /Personal Mash-up Mar 14, 2008
Ursula K Le Guin believes in the intelligence of her readers. As such, I can always count on a challenge from her work. Here, she juxtaposes a "utopian" moon against the traditional classist planet its population left behind. Because humans will seek power even within a supposedly hierarchy-less society, the scientific hegemony has effectively gagged Shevek, our protagonist. In order to spread his ideas to where they will actually be utilized, he risks his life in traveling back to the misogynist, corrupt planet from whence his ancestors fled, breaking a generations-long embargo of silence. This is a deep exploration of political idealism, of academic censorship, and of the child-like concept of "the grass is greener on the other side." Le Guin provides no pat conclusions, allowing the reader to make his or her own. Or not, as the case may be. Some situations defy conclusions.