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100 sci fi women #33: Odo

Before we get to the main business of this post, another list. This one is the Twelve Greatest Living Science Fiction Authors. It is clearly focussed on longeivity to some extent, and I do tend to agree with a couple of the comments who ask where is William Gibson or Neal Stephenson – but I think they would have to die to make it onto the list. Fortunately, there are a couple of women featured, though only a couple. However, it is to the creation of one of those women that we turn tonight. Also as a first, this is a character who is long dead before the book begins, but nonetheless is intrinsic to the world created.

Odo  The Dispossessed Ursula Le Guin

Odo is a thinker, an anarchist philosopher whose thoughts change a world. I loved The Dispossessed when I first read it at 15 or so, and even more when it was part of the Anarchism and Libertarianism course I did as an undergraduate. Odo develops the philosophy of Odoism which her followers use to create an anarchist society on the desolate moon Anarres. Her followers are anarchists in the true sense, seeking to establish a society which is free from rules and oppression, a place of mutual sharing and cooperation. They are reacting against the greed and corruption they see on the home planet of Urras. Largely her followers, the Odonians, succeed, and, if over the 200 years of Anarres society things develop and change and aren’t exactly perfect, this is not the fault of the visionary Odo. A female visionary and political philosopher is not something we often see in any sort of representations, and for this reason, despite the fact that she has been long dead before the start of the action in The Dispossessed, I think her place on this list is well deserved.

To make a thief, make an owner. To create crime, create laws.

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