Blueprints

Letters
from a
Utopian
California

Part 1: Notes from Kim Stanley Robinson’s first utopian novel: Pacific Edge.

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How do you even begin to think about rehabilitating utopia? You start by focusing on the most (only?) interesting part of the project: getting there.

What a cheat utopias are, no wonder people hate them. Engineer some fresh start, an island, a new continent, dispossess them, give them a new planet sure! So they don’t have to deal with our history. Ever since More they’ve been doing it: rupture, clean cut, fresh start. So the utopias in books are pocket utopias too. Ahistorical, static, why should we read them? They don’t speak to us trapped in this world as we are, we look at them in the same way we look at the pretty inside of a paperweight, snow drifting down, so what? It may be nice but we’re stuck here and no one’s going to give us a fresh start, we have to deal with history as it stands, no freer than a wedge in a crack.”

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