25 of the best fictional planets to visit

KRYPTON (Photo by: SYFY)
KRYPTON (Photo by: SYFY) /
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fictional planets
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17. Urras and Anarres (The Dispossessed)

To tell you the truth, there isn’t much visual interest to Anarres. It’s a desolate world with tough soil and grit-filled winds, not to mention the occasional near-famines that wrack its populace. Even then, you might still want to visit Anarres and, for contrast, the nearby world of Urras. Why? Politics.

Given that this is fiction, courtesy of Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed, it is perhaps a little easier to enjoy politics than if you were stuck in the middle of it for real. Even if you’re not a political science nerd, the history of Urras and Anarres has plenty to grab your interest.

In the beginning, everyone lived on Anarres. Life is a bit easier there, or at least it was in the beginning. At some point in the increasingly distant past, a philosophical, anarchist called Odo began a revolution. As her followers, called Odonians, grew in numbers, the governments of Anarres became more and more nervous. After all, what established societies, capitalist, socialist, or otherwise, welcome anarchists?

The big move

After much strife and growing conflict, the Odonians pull a Hubert Farnsworth and decide that they don’t want to live on their planet anymore. Luckily, Anarres is part of a double planetary system. The Odonians move to nearby Urras and establish their much anticipated anarchist collectivist society.

Lest you think that Le Guin is starry-eyed about the philosophy of Odo, the new settlers have a tough time. Like any other intelligent species, they can’t help bickering from time to time and occasionally hurting each other. Le Guin also shows the dark side of collectivism. While it’s a vital way of life on such a harsh world, it can also tamp down individuals who might stand out too much.

It’s these kinds of divisions that lead Shevek, a brilliant physicist, to leave Urras for Anarres. He thinks his looming breakthrough in interstellar communications will make more of an impact there. But is he so sure?