Greetings, salutations and the assorted lyrics of Hello, Goodbye by the mop-headed foursome from Liverpool to you all. I am, once again, your inimitable host and master of ceremonies, Timothy the Talking Cat esquire, who shall be taking you on a journey into the foundational texts of modern scientifiction.
Today we examine Ursula Le Guin’s fascinating story of anarchism and physics, entitled “The Dispossessed”. You might think from the title that there will be spooky ghosts but no, there are no spooky ghosts and this was nearly as disappointing as discovering that my much-cherised vinyl LP of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells would no longer play. I asked Camofluaged Fellertron and he explained that we not only don’t own a record player but that we have never owned a record player. I used a pair of scissors to cut the LP down to a size that would fit into the CD player, only to discover that we don’t own one of those either. I’m no prehistoric Luddite, I’m up with advances in technology and I deduced that I could take a digital daguerreotype with one of my several telephones and then simply play the resulting file with my trusty copy of Winamp. Sadly my plan was foiled due to technical limitations which Calisthenics Frenchfries rather cruelly summed up as: “that was never a vinyl LP of Tubular Bells, it was just an old photo of Richard Branson from a Virgin Airways Inflight Magazine”. We live and learn.
I should also add, this isn’t a story about the bailiffs coming round to your palatial mansion and making you move out because you took out a third mortgage without telling anybody so you could buy a decommissioned Russian nuclear submarine. Oh how we all laughed about that afterwards as the doctor stitched up the claw wounds on the bailiff. Happy times and the caravan in the waste ground behind the pub is much comfier. Plans proceed afoot to scare away the new owners of Felapton Towers by pretending that the mansion is haunted. I’ve convinced the house poltergeist to dress up as a ghost to frighten them away. Straw Puppy says that this is an excellent idea and the eldritch monster from the hell-dimension that lives in the basement has agreed to help by wearing a sheet over its head and saying “boo”.
So what this book is actually about is a guy who is on a moon and then he is on a planet and then he is on a moon and then he is on a planet and then he is on a moon and then he is on a planet and then he is on a moon and then he is on a planet and then he is on a moon and then he is on a planet. Finally, he gets his act together and he is on the moon. “Woah!”, he says, “I was on a moon and then on a planet! I think I’ve got a new theory of physics now!” Everybody lives happily ever after. I think it is a bit like that book Laughter House Five by Urt Vonnegut where the main guy is just all over the place and is all like “So where is this laughter house then because I don’t see nobody laughing” or at least he should say that because there is a serious lack of jokes in that book. Maybe I shouldn’t have cut off the spine but I was going through a phase where I thought books were molluscs and could live in a shell. It was the height of the 70’s and catnip and wild parties were the norm and I had some strange ideas. A cat must sow his wild oats as they say but the seed catalogue was right out of “heirloom oat variety” and we sowed mustard seeds instead.