Shevek’s mother. After receiving a work assignment which took her far away from Shevek and Palat, she never reconnected with her family, and so Shevek grows up without ever knowing Rulag. When Shevek comes down with pneumonia during his time at the Institute in Abbenay, he wakes from a fever to find Rulag at his bedside. She explains that while sorting books for a library, she came across one of Shevek’s published theories and subsequently tracked him down. Shevek can sense Rulag’s loneliness and her pain at having not known him for so long, but he does not find her particularly sympathetic. Rulag has always believed that work comes first, and when she meets Shevek she uses that fact as an explanation for why she abandoned him and Palat. She tells Shevek that she wants to be in his life, but Shevek refuses and sends her away. In the wake of their meeting, Shevek begins to realize that he, too, will always put his work first, and believes it is his fate to be a solitary “egoizer.” A member of the PDC, Rulag is present when Shevek and Bedap present their proposal to reopen Anarres to likeminded Urrasti—however, Rulag is staunch in her belief that no outsiders, and especially no Urrasti, should ever set foot on Anarres. When Shevek suggests that Anarresti—specifically himself—venture to Urras instead, Rulag remains firm, and declares that any Anarresti who leaves is not welcome to return. Rulag and Shevek’s tense relationship is demonstrative of the unique way familial relationships function on Anarres: they are a byproduct of life, not the center of it, and there is not necessarily always a deep bond between parent and child. Rulag is yet another reminder of Shevek’s conflicted feelings, caught between the pull of isolationism and that of community.