The Dispossessed: what resonates on re-reading

The Dispossessed cover art

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin is book of the month. We will be discussing this book at our next Utopian Book Collective meeting on Monday 6th May.

I re-read The Dispossessed this month in anticipation of our upcoming book group meeting. I can’t wait to discuss it. In this post I simply want to highlight a few quotations that stood out for me on re-reading. I’m sure other people will have their own moments in the novel that carry meaning for them. It’s such a rich text. Please let me know in the comments or at book group if you happen to be able to make it.

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Finding other ways of being at Gors Fawr stone circle

Gors Fawr stone circle in West Wales with the Preseli hills behind

I originally wrote this piece with Stone Club in mind. But, as it hasn’t appeared over there, I thought I would post it here.

Now, on the face of it, my visit to a stone circle doesn’t have anything to do with utopia. But actually, it did give me a new perspective on ways of being and engaging with the environment. And the possibility of a different relationship to the environment, whether that’s real or imagined, in the past, present or future, is a utopian possibility.

At Gors Fawr I caught a glimpse of a more embodied, spatially aware and landscape-savvy way of being a human in this world, as you will discover in my field notes.

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Just Utopias New Year news!

As we start 2024 I have Just Utopias New Year news for you. News of a new publication, a new start behind the scenes for this website, and a new book of the month.

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Fictional utopian languages: Part III – Asa’Pili, Láadan

Part III of this three part series, in which Nathan Taylor-Gray explores fictional utopian languages and the utopian ideals of their speakers. If you missed them, here are Part I – Utopian, Houyhnhnm and Part II – Speedtalk, Pravic.

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The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: Book of the Month October 2023

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress cover art against a bold geometrical background

This month’s book of the month is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.

Many of us are drawn to utopia because of problems we see with the prevailing consumer capitalist culture. As a result, many utopias (and utopians) are left-leaning. They explore societies that function without capital, without traditional family structures and within ecological boundaries. This bias has been noted, and as a corrective this month’s book is a right wing utopia.

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Fictional utopian languages: Part II – Speedtalk, Pravic

Part II of this three part series, in which Nathan Taylor-Gray explores fictional utopian languages and whether they reflect the utopian ideals of their speakers. If you missed it, you can catch up on Part I here.

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Triton: Book of the Month September 2023

Bartleby, the co-op member who had been there the longest, loaned him books, weird books he had never heard of, that spoke of other realities, other times, stranger than this one. Joanna Russ, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler’

‘And The World Was New’, Chana Porter
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The Seep: Book of the Month August 2023

Cover art from The Seep: a still life painting of flowers against a dark background that distorts and smears at the bottom of the picture

In The Seep by Chana Porter, utopia has been brought about by means of an alien invasion. What follows in this novella is a loving pastiche of contemporary utopian tropes. The emotional processing, sensitivity to ecological connections, and community-mindedness. Its diversity in terms of race, gender and sexuality. The abolition of money and the police. And the complete mitigation of human-induced climate change.

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