Ursula K. Le Guin: The Eye of the Heron (Paperback, 2003, Starscape) 5 stars

In Victoria on a former prison colony, two exiled groups—the farmers of Shantih and the …

Social sci-fi about non-violence

5 stars

(em português: )

Ursula K. Le Guin often writes some of the best science fiction books on specific themes: “The Dispossessed”, about anarchism; “The Left Hand of Darkness”, about gender fluidity; and “The Eye of The Heron” (1978), about non-violence.

In the latter, two groups are exiled from Earth as a kind of scum: people convicted of crimes and pacifist activists who refused to participate in society in nations at war. The convicts arrived a few generations earlier. They had been expelled from a self-destructing Earth with no more prison capacity, on a one-way trip to the prison planet. So they recreate an authoritarian and hierarchical society.

The activists, on the other hand, were adherents of non-violent direct action and gave rise to an essentially anarchist community. I'm not going to comment any further because the revelation about their history and how their exile came about are among the greatest moments.

The plot revolves around the social tension between the groups, the clash between brutality and non-violence as the basic ethical principle of a culture.

It will especially delight those who loved The Dispossessed.