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The Dispossessed

by Ursula K. Le Guin

I read this book straight after reading The Left Hand of Darkness by the same author.

The book tells the story of the invention of the ansible, which allows for instantaneous communication (but not travel) across solar systems. It covers three different civilisations spread across several plantes. These are the anarchists on Anarres, the propertarians on Urras, the Terrans (surviving on Earth earth afte climate collapse reduced their population from 9 billion to 500 million) and the Hainish, which at several thousands of millenia is the oldest civilisation.

It is a very insightful critique of different political systems such as capitalism, communism and anarchism without actually taking sides. They all have their faults and all have their benefits. The book also encourages you to think about how these systems could interact going foward as purposefully it does not come to a clear conclusion.

I particularly liked that part of the ending with the Hainish commander Ketho being curious to visit the young anarchist civilisation on Anarres. Despite warnings from Shevek that his safety could not be guaranteed he insisted on visiting, not because anarchy was something new to his civilisation, far from it. But because his civilisation was 100s of millenia old and whilst it had tried anarchy, he personally had not experienced it. As he said:

The there is nothing new under any sun. But if each life is not new, wach single life, then why are we born?

The way I understand it he basically wanted to experience a youthful civilisation, given the age of his own, Hainish, society.

Summer in Plovdiv

The forecast looked like this for our usual summer visit to Plovdiv:

Unfortunately for us it was slightly wrong as it was hotter than forecast! This meant staying inside after midday. It also meant our vague plans to go anywhere never really materialised as it was too hot to think of anything and by the time we had planned to cool down in the mountains their weather forecast was thunderstorms for the next week.

So we hung around in Plovdiv which was also relaxing. The city had organised a few events in the evening. Which was nice, even in the evening heat. One was this stand up comedy just next to the Dzhumaya mosque.

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Voting

These are the ballot papers for both the UK and Belgium 2024 general elections. No wonder voting is compulsory in Belgium! 🀣🀣🀣

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