Thursday, 30 September 2010

Minor Project - Research After Tutorial - Books

When speaking to Phil , we agreed it still needed to be more focused because everyones view would be different if I went along with a future from now. So we spoke about utopias of the future that are depicted within books and art, which gives them a perspective. So I researched sources of utopoa and came up with many, they are

War Of The Worlds - Underground London

This is a utopia in which they build a city in the main drains and tunnels of the subway because they are not able to beat the intruders which roam the land above.

Islandia - The Country

The setting is Islandia, an imaginary country set in the real world of that time. Islandian civilization is technologically primitive but it is far in advance of Western culture in terms of understanding of human emotion and psychology. There is also limited access to Islandia to a bare one hundred visitors at a time.

Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston

The book is set in 1999 (25 years in the future, as seen from 1974) and consists of the diary entries and reports of William Weston, a mainstream media reporter who is the first American proper to investigate Ecotopia, a newly formed country that broke from the USA in 1980.Ecotopia's concept does not reject high technology as long as it does not interfere with the social order and serves Ecotopian objctives, but members of the society prefer to demonstrate a conscious selectivity of technology, so that not only human health and sanity might be preserved, but also social and ecological well being. You learn about the Ecotopian train system, lifestyle, politics (their leader is the female Ecotopian, Vera Allwen), gender relations, racial situation, sexual freedom, human blood-sports, and cannabis use, as well as about energy production, building construction, military strategy, agriculture, advanced (defensive) weapons industry, education, and medical system. Ecotopian citizens are characterized as clever, technologically resourceful and occasionally violent, but also socially responsible, patriotic and often inclined to work and live in racially/ethnically "self-segregated" local team configurations.

The Probability Broach (1980), by L. Neil Smith

It presents both utopian and dystopian views of present day North America, through alternative outcomes of the American War for Independence.

Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) by Marge Piercy

The story of a middle-aged Hispanic woman who has visions of two alternative futures, one utopian and the other dystopian.

Thirty-seven-year-old Hispanic woman is released from forced detention in a mental institution, begins to communicate with a figure that may or may not be her imagination. She begins to realize the figure is from the future, which is a utopian world in which a number of goals of the political and social agenda of the late sixties and early seventies radical movements have been fulfilled. Environmental pollution, homophobia, racism, phallogocentrism, class-subordination, consumerism, imperialism, and totalitarianism no longer exist in the agrarian, communal community of Mattapoisett.

She is in a pivotal position; her actions and decisions will determine the course of history. The figures utopia is only one possible future; a dystopian alternate future is a possibility. One in which a wealthy elite live on space platforms and put  the rest of the population on psychotropic drugs. Also there is harvesting of the earth-bound humans' organs. Women are valued only for their appearance and sexuality, and plastic surgery that gives women grotesquely exaggerated sexual features is commonplace.

Erewhon (1872) by Samuel Butler

It constitute a satiric romp through a hidden utopia (with dystopian elements) in the mountains of New Zealand.

Erewhon satirizes various aspects of Victorian society, including criminal punishment, religion. For example, according to Erewhonian law, offenders are treated as if they were ill whilst ill people are looked upon as criminals. Another feature of Erewhon is the absence of machines; this is due to the widely shared perception by the Erewhonians that they are potentially dangerous.

The Fifth Sacred Thing is a 1993 post-apocalyptic novel written by Starhawk.

It describes a world set in the year 2048 after a catastrophe which has fractured the United States into several nations. The protagonists live in San Francisco and have evolved in the direction of Ecotopia, reverting to a sustainable economy, using wind power, local agriculture, and the like. To the south, though, an overtly-theocratic Christian fundamentalist nation has evolved and plans to wage war against the San Franciscans. The novel explores the events before and during the ensuing struggle between the two nations, pitting utopia and dystopia against each other.

Walden Two is a science fiction novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner and first published in 1948.

In the novel, the author describes an experimental community named Walden Two. The community is located in a rural area and "has nearly a thousand members."The members are portrayed as happy,productive, and creative. The community encourages its members "to view every habit and custom with an eye to possible improvement" and to have "a constantly experimental attitude toward everything". When the members find a problem in their community they may design and experimentally test a possible solution, carefully documenting the results of their experiment in accordance with the scientific method.The rural utopia of Walden Two is contemporary, not in the future, and is accessible via a bus-and-car journey.

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy

The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up one hundred and thirteen years later. He finds himself in the same location (Boston, Massachusetts), but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the U.S. has been transformed into a socialist utopia. The remainder of the book outlines Bellamy's thoughts about improving the future.

Doctor Leete, who shows him around and explains all the advances of this new age; including drastically reduced working hours for people performing menial jobs and almost instantaneous, internet-like delivery of goods. Everyone retires with full benefits at age 45, and may eat in any of the public kitchens. The productive capacity of America is nationally owned, and the goods of society are equally distributed to its citizens. Also it introduces the concept of credit cards, warehouses and advanced medical treatment. 

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