"The Dispossessed" Is Getting A Television Adaptation - Comic Years
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Ursula Le Guin Novel “The Dispossessed” Is Getting A Television Adaptation

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BY October 18, 2021

The adaptation train continues to roll onwards, picking up novels from acclaimed authors from the sci-fi and fantasy canon. The latest book to see adaptation is The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. It will soon become a limited television series from 1212 Entertainment, in partnership with Anonymous Content.

This Could Be The Beginning Of The Hainish Cycle On Television

Ursula K. Le Guin The Hainish Cycle Image via Harper Collins

The Dispossessed was originally published in 1974, it is one of the author’s early science fiction novels after the success of her fantastical Earthsea series. The novel is also part of Le Guin’s space-faring Hainish Cycle. The books in this series largely stand alone. However, they are all tied together by the Ekumen – a planetary coalition of the future. Other books in this cycle include Le Guin’s well-known title The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Telling. Although The Dispossessed is the fifth book in the cycle, it is actually the earliest in chronological order. Bringing this book to screen may indicate that the rest of the Hainish Cycle will also see adaptation in the future.

Le Guin Dispossessed Adaptation Image via Harper Collins

A synopsis from Harper Collins tells us the following about The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin.

“A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds. Including its mother planet, Urras— a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

To visit Urras — to learn, to teach, to share — will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist’s gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.”

An Anarchist Utopia For The Future

The Dispossessed contains many elements of Le Guin’s work that have made her so beloved in the science fiction community. The story is a critique of war and capitalism while also being a meditation on individualism and collectivism. The main character of Shevek is actually based on J. Robert Oppenheimer – the father of the atomic bomb. And the importance of math and science in the story reflect Oppenheimer’s own intellectual pursuits. The planet Anarres is also meant to be the ideal of an anarchist utopia, according to a forward by Le Guin. But like any good utopia, there are often fundamental issues just waiting to arise.

Ursula K. Le Guin Author Ursula K. Le Guin | Photo by Marian Wood Kolisch via Wikimedia Commons

Joshua Long and Roberto Grande of 1212 Entertainment spoke about bringing The Dispossessed to life in a press release.

“Beyond all her other works, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed has a visceral connection to the present and so accurately matches the world we’re living in right now. There are few works of science fiction that have had a greater impact on the genre. We’re proud the estate has trusted us with the task of adapting this masterpiece into a new medium.”

Le Guin’s Son Will Oversee The Adaptation

Ursula K. Le Guin sadly passed away in 2018. However, her son Theo Downes-Le Guin will work on the television adaptation. “Almost a half-century after its publication, The Dispossessed continues to offer timely propositions for how we might rethink the corner into which we’ve painted ourselves,” said Downes-Le Guin in a press release. “I am delighted to collaborate with 1212 Entertainment and Anonymous Content to help my mother’s words and ideas reach an ever-broader audience.”

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

Adaptation NewsAdaptationsScience FictionThe DispossessedThe Hainish Cycletv seriesUrsula K. Le Guin

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