Afri– Oops, I mean Benbili!

If given the choice to live on either of The Dispossessed’s main planets, I’d have to go with Urras.  More specifically: Benbili.

The thing about A-Io is that we never hear about a middle class, so we are left to presume that there is none, or that if it does, it is negligible.  The polar social stratification of A-Io limits its citizens to two possible lifestyles: wealth or squalor.  While wealth is the obvious choice, each is boring in its own right.  You are either born with a silver-spoon in hand (and thus inured with your own privilege), or you are at the bottom of a social ladder that is missing a dozen or so rungs.

With Thu, you are essentially choosing Cold-War era Soviet Union– an incredibly centralized government with superfluous and debilitating social structures.

With Anarres, you have the majority-rule normative forces along with the handicapping bureaucracies.  Oh, and the constant struggle to survive on a stale, barren desert-planet.

Benbili, on the other hand, is where the action is at… literally.  Benbili is depicted as the Urrasti equivalent of Africa.  The social strata are constantly changing as populations rise up against their leaders/oppressors and swallow them with violence.  You are likely to be born into poverty in Benbili, but there isn’t much you can’t change for yourself with an AK-47 (laser edition), some charisma, and a few good dice-rolls.  Or, if the power-vacuums become tiresome, you can choose to abandon your quest for influence and become a neo-Odonian.  See, since Benbili lacks the structure of Thu and A-Io, its political landscape is much more diverse.  You have your fascist regimes, your corrupt democracies, anarchistic experiments, etc… and you always have the ability to move with your own two feet, meaning you can run from the deadlier areas towards the relatively pacific regions.  Of course, your flight might be unsuccessful, but at least there is that hope of escape, of getting to somewhere better.

So yes, I would choose Benbili.  Oh, and I would try and stay as far away as possible from the Thu/A-Io conflict.  Surely, their battlegrounds do not include the entirety of the continent.

2 Responses to “Afri– Oops, I mean Benbili!”

  1. Warren Rochelle says:

    The geography of Benbili sounds like savanna Africa, not Vietnam. Interesting choice.

  2. Master Kief says:

    im pretty sure Benbili is meant to represent Vietnam, not Africa