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Visionary fiction to inspire Y2K-breakthrough work

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Into the Forest

by Jean Heglund
Two teenage sisters try to survive on dwindling supplies in their isolated rural home as the world comes apart in the distance. This isn't about Y2K, but it might as well be. Profound lessons about what it means to be a human being -- by ourselves, with each other and in the world.

Always Coming Home

by Ursula LeGuin (Harper & Row 1985, Bantam 1987)
You get to read an anthropologist's notes regarding a sane rural society in what was once Northern California, hundreds of years after the toxic fall of industrial civilization. You feel like you've lived there for ages. A thoughtful reflection on the proper role of technologies.

The Dispossessed

by Ursula LeGuin (Harper Paperbacks)
Is there such a thing as an anarchist society? In this brilliant work of social science fiction, LeGuin imagines one possibility, notes its contradictions, teases the reader with hints of other possibilities, then flings the door wide open.


by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Pantheon, 1979)
Three American male explorers stumble onto an all-female society that has a lot to teach them about the nature of civilization.

Ecotopia [and Ecotopia Emerging]

by Ernest Callenbach (Banyan, 1975)
Washington, Oregon and Northern California secede from the US to become a truly ecological society. The classic Ecotopia has unfortunately overshadowed the far better-written prequel Ecotopia Emerging, which describes in considerable detail how Ecotopia "came" into being.

Woman on the Edge of Time

by Marge Piercy (Knopf [then Fawcett Crest], 1976)
Another thought (and feeling) provoking feminist utopia, which challenges us to think about what is required to protect what we love, and what it means to be human.

The Fifth Sacred Thing

by Starhawk (Bantam 1993)
In the not very distant future, a diverse, ecological, nonviolent San Francisco Bay Area is attacked by a militarist Southern Californian culture -- and survives -- painfully, but flourishing.


by Paul Fleischman (Joanna Cotler, 1997)
This one takes place nowadays, in a vacant lot in inner city Cleveland. Through the eyes of a dozen diverse residents we watch a garden bloom, as if by accident. The sort of activities that make the communities we want.


by Daniel Quinn (Bantam/Turner, 1993)
This conversation between a man and a gorilla reveals the fundamental flaws in industrial culture and points the way towards a new sensibility about our place in the world.


by Aldous Huxley
Huxley's antidote to his Brave New World and Orwell's 1984. This utopia uses Buddhism and Hinduism to address the necessary suffering of life, and science to address the suffering that is unnecessary.