Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
In Utopia

In Utopia

Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better Paradise

J.C. Hallman

St. Martin's Press




In 2005, J.C. Hallman came across a scientific paper about "Pleistocene Rewilding," a peculiar idea from conservation biology that suggested repopulating bereft ecosystems with endangered "megafauna." The plan sounded utterly utopian, but Hallman liked the idea as much as the scientists did—perhaps because he had grown up on a street called Utopia Road in a master-planned community in Southern California. Pleistocene Rewilding rekindled in him a longstanding fascination with utopian ideas, and he went on to spend three weeks at the world's oldest "intentional community," sail on the first ship where it's possible to own "real estate," train at the world's largest civilian combat-school, and tour a $30 billion megacity built from scratch on an artificial island off the coast of Korea. In Utopia explores the history of utopian literature and thought in the narrative context of the real-life fruits of that history.


Only in us does this light still burn, and we are beginning a fantastic journey toward it, a journey toward the interpretation of our waking dream, toward the implementation of the central concept of utopia. To find it, to find the right...


Praise for In Utopia

“J.C. Hallman has thought deeply about human utopias and the impulses that originate them, and he has taken his curiosity on the road with the liveliest results. In Eutopia is impassioned, anecdotally exploratory, and alert with an insight and wit. Hallman's non-judgmental gaze registers at every turn the eternal face-off between the pure products of idealistic imagination and the implacable gravity pull of human nature.” —Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

“Who doesn't want to stand in paradise on earth? The first time I saw the likes of it, it was in its Mexican village remains of Paracho and Tzintzuntzán, where Bishop Vasco de Quiroga's utopian experiment played out in the 16th century. In In Utopia, J.C. Hallman travels to all its living historical worlds, taking notes, getting the botany, the biology, the geography, touching the divine and the dingy. An enviable journey and read.” —Dagoberto Gilb, author of The Magic of Blood and The Flowers

In Utopia is funnier, wiser, sadder, and, surprisingly, more hopeful than Thomas More's misunderstood classic. J.C. Hallman brilliantly explores the idea of utopia and its application in the real world, from hippie communes to shooting ranges to a massive floating city. We could hardly ask for a better guide: Hallman is an erudite but humble writer, with the skepticism, wit and compassion necessary for these close encounters with the distant possibility of a perfected world.” —Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family.

“JC Hallman is a superb hunter of contemporary utopias, those systematic efforts at improving humanity that still move us, despite the spectacular failures of the last century. Deep in the American psyche there lives a striving for perfection, and the dreamy traveler in this saga uncovers it with vigilant affection. From still-extant hippy communes to floating islands and multi-billion dollar new cities, this is a breathless and hard to put down adventure.” —Andrei Codrescu, author of "The Poshuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess.

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

J.C. Hallman

J.C. HALLMAN grew up in Southern California. He is the author of The Chess Artist, The Devil is a Gentleman, and the collection of short stories, The Hospital for Bad Poets.

J. C. Hallman

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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