ABSTRACT. Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia (1975) and Ecotopia emerging (1981) (the latter a prequel to the initial novel) are relevant for both the ecological paradigm and the birth of a neo-Utopian cast of mind in our age. The novels are together almost an anticipatory treatise of sorts on the question of the ongoing emergence of an ecological conscience of man forging a way towards a viable future, wherein harmony between Ecotopians and Nature is a foundation of all man-cosmos relationships. The solutions found in the version of the ecotopian project as proposed by Callenbach in 1975 and 1981 are consciously echoing every step of the way old types of native-American wisdom. The Ecotopian civilizational model imagined by Callenbach is not a perfect world, but one tarred by crass contradictions, and yet decisively based on a strong opposition against the national philosophy of America, which is fatefully grounded in the notion of perpetual technological progress – the latter itself an echo of: 1) the Romantic Revolution with its science positing the possibility of scientific “Titanism,” understood as man’s capacity to perpetually accumulate knowledge ad infinitum; 2) the First Industrial Revolution that generated the concept that “bigger is better.” Through Ecotopia’s ecosophy, which we hereby propose to explore as reflected in the two novels mentioned above, Callenbach attacks the technopolitan tendencies deriving from the so-called Second Scientific Revolution of the 20th century, with roots in the 19th century (ca. 1800 and earlier), and associated with the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, which essentially paid no attention to a quest for harmony between man and the universe, and which had as a purpose basically the attainment at all price of increasingly more and more comfort for man, but especially for the rich, by putting in the hands of the latter more and more power with which to enslave Nature, Man and finally Time itself.

Keywords: web of life; biocentric thought; decentralization; matter-spirit interface; American Indian; Mysterious Stranger; romanticism

Stroe MA (2020) Ecotopia rising: the quest for the future in two novels by Ernest Callenbach. Creativity 3(2): 55–111. doi:10.22381/C3220203

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University of Bucharest,
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department; Bucharest, Romania;

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