Saturday, December 13, 2008

New York times has an article on Ecotopia

Back in 1977, there were a few sci fi utopias and dystopias that had been recently published:
- Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy
- Wanderground, by Sally Gearhart

but my favorite, which I read as part of a study group with the MOvement for a New Society, was ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach.

Today the NYT has an article on it. Perhaps there might be a market for a booklength study of MNS after all. I'm headed to the official archives of the group, the Swarthmore College Peace Collection next week. It's my second visit-- I went there in October 1979 to research the 1948 anti-draft movement, in which Bob Swann was quite influential.

No one else seems to writing on MNS yet, nor to have written on them. The three scholars I've contacted think it's high time for someone to do it.

The Novel That Predicted Portland
Published: December 12, 2008
SOMETIMES a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with “Ecotopia,” a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known.

The novel, now being rediscovered, speaks to our ecological present: in the flush of a financial crisis, the Pacific Northwest secedes from the United States, and its citizens establish a sustainable economy, a cross between Scandinavian socialism and Northern California back-to-the-landism, with the custom — years before the environmental writer Michael Pollan began his campaign — to eat local.

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