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After the Deluge
City Lights Foundation: 2004
The Processed World Anthology
Verso Books: 1990
City Lights Books: 1998
Bicycling's Defiant Celebration
AK Press: 2002
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2844 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
A teenage arsonist threatens a partially submerged mid-22nd century San Francisco. As a Public Investigator "tryout" seeks evidence across the utopian city full of canals and veloways, political and social conflicts erupt. When there is no such thing as property, what is crime, and how does a utopian society protect itself from bad behavior? Should scientists be as free as artists to create? What is a "free market" for work without and money and commodities?
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A provocative and speculative journey
to the Bay Area of 2157... more an imaginary treasure map than utopian-by-the-numbers
blueprint... This book might show much more in common with Starhawk's
Fifth Sacred Thing if Carlsson weren't so precisely and persistently
allergic to the kind of earth religion Starhawk promotes. After The
Deluge is for atheists and agnostics and activists who don't need
the goddess to get their revolutionary groove on.
As a great American writer and champion
of the rights of working people, Carl Sandburg, once wrote: Nothing happens
unless first a dream. After the Deluge is a dream of an intelligently
organized America in a coming century. Yet far from a dry polemic, the
work presents its arguments through a mystery story both intriguing and
revealing, and delightfully full of humorous touches. Here are compelling,
flesh-and-blood characters with often contradictory points of view, culminating
in a final chapter as effective and arresting as any I have read in decades.
Many tackle the apocalypse, but not since
Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia has a writer envisioned its Left Coast
utopian aftermath. In Carlsson's highly imaginative sci-fi thriller, an
alienated teen and an arson investigator reveal the fissures in San Francisco's
revolutionary new society. After The Deluge deserves a wide readership
for its vivid blueprint of a sustainable direct democracy set among the
still-familiar human cultures and neighborhoodsenhanced by greenways
and canalsof the City by the Bay.
Set in a just plausible future in San
Francisco, Chris Carlsson's first novel explores
right and wrong in a too perfect world when human passions, for better
and worse, cannot be predicted, controlled, or even gently channeled into
willing, mutually beneficial compliance. We may never see the world we
dream of, which lies just underneath the city we love and the lives we
lead. We need fiction like this to show us the possibilities we might
dare to imagine.
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