Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

EcotopiaEcotopia by Ernest Callenbach

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ten Reasons why I don’t like Ecotopia:

1. It reads like a how-to manual for your VCR. The world, unfortunately is not like a VCR.

2. Consistency. Consistency killed the cat, killed the characters, and put a dull green wash on the earth.

3. The society was an ideal society. This wouldn’t be a problem if the book were simply an idea of a book. But, things as they are, the book was real. And the pages were put to sleep—I have an “idea” of what went on, but I experienced nothing during the surgery.

4. Let’s say Ecotopia didn’t have a name like “Ecotopia.” Let’s pretend that the name didn’t happen.

5. I hate journalists. Especially when they write about their own tiny plastic dioramas. Especially when they write about a large designer boots smashing their tiny plastic diorama. Especially when that tiny plastic diorama begins to animate itself according to it’s own tiny plastic logic.

6. (The Surrealists are weeping—wiping their tears with guilt-white tissues)

7. Say you have a good scientific cauldron. Wing of bat, giraffe eyelashes, and a sturdy set of architectural blueprints. Now try sneaking in a love story—the whole thing goes to shit.

8. You want to talk about the word “alive?” Ok. Yes, the trees are alive. Yes, the women—armed with contraceptives—are alive. But the second the blood comes, the moment your hands wrap around a spear, you’re down for the count, you’re inarticulate.

9. Did we even have to read it? Of course the schools were productive. Of course the air was more breathable. Of course the love of your life was the love of your life. No question about it. No reason to question it. Was there any color, word for word, page for page, that didn’t paint this big warm country in good light?

10. Take dystopias for instance, now there’s an idea I can sink my teeth into—Yes, the world will go to shit. Yes, we’re hurling whole populations into the machine. Yes, disaster is my next door neighbor—the one with the rose garden. But the moment someone prescribes something better, the moment you try to prove another possibility, I get skeptical. Maybe, the notion of “proof” rubs me the wrong way. The book depends upon a kind of logic that reinforces the old regime. If Ecotopia can be “proven” within this kind of ideological framework, is it the kind of change I really want?

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