George Orr has a problem. He has been caught poaching other people's med cards to get more anti-sleep meds than he is legally allowed. While illegal, the sentence is therapy to help him move away from this behavior. When he arrives to see the therapist and is asked why he didn't want to sleep, George tells him it's because there are times when he dreams and his dreams end up changing the world around him and he doesn't feel like he is qualified to make changes that can affect everyone like that without their permission. It quickly becomes apparent that George is telling the truth and the therapist starts working on directing his dreaming for the "betterment of society". Unfortunately, problems occur since he is trying to influence George's subconscious and that interprets things in it's own way. Soon, there are 6 million less people on Earth, then there is no more war on Earth because we are at war with aliens who have set up bases on the Moon, now there is no race tensions because everyone is grey. Things keep getting progressively worse and worse in George's opinion and he finally vows to put an end to it at which point we find out that the therapist thinks he is now able to replicate this effective dreaming technique himself, thus no longer leaving things up to George's subconscious interpretations of his ideas for creating a perfect society.
I found the whole concept fascinating and the story completely engaging. The psychology of the characters kept me enthralled from beginning to end and so many questions are open to interpretation so it made for a wonderful discussion at book club. I have definitely found Ms. LeGuin's books to be incredibly insightful into the human psyche and this was no exception.
Page Count: 194p/9,536p ytd/224,470p lifetime