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The Mobius Strip by Andrew Knight
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The Mobius Strip

by Andrew Knight

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First off- this is in the utopian novel tradition. If you hate utopian novels, you won't like this one. Like Huxley's "Island", it's got a lot of polemics! Now I didn't mind because I tend to agree with the thesis, but it IS a novel in the utopian tradition.

The characters were a mixed bag. Some were pure cliche; some were a lot more complex. There was one guy who had his epiphany... but he was an an ass before the epiphany, and he was still an ass afterward. I liked that a lot, because it's so plausible- I mean, in "A hristmas carol", even after epiphany, Scrooge is rather an ass.

The one note that struck me as off- the serious Christian guilt. In my experience, Catholics do not wallow in guilt like that; it's more Calvanistic, or- more likely- a symptom of a personality disorder. It does not make sense to me that people will wallow in the "guilt" of one thing that happened decades ago- and not a murder or anything!- and yet proceed in being abusive to others daily. or maybe that's the problem... Just because- as several said- they are harder on themselves than the are on others- when all one can see is how abusive they are to others, it really doesn't matter if they're also abusive to themselves.

I think Knight has a good point about envy driving our society. I know when i get into it, I just make myself miserable; when I cultivate a satisfied mind, life is much happier. Aspiration is great! but pure struggle is mostly meaningless and personality-warping.

I do have a few quibbles about the "utopia" in this book: it goes on about how they can't b4e electrified, because that would mean connecting with the outer society, which would require compromise. Fair enough. However, their describ4ed life ALSO requires such compromise. The general store has a wall of tools- where did these come from? The town has a blacksmith, but not an ore mine, a coal mine, or a smelter; where does he get his iron? Who makes the wood-burning stoves that the houses have? etc. At this point, I'm not sure it's possible to have a "utopia" that has NO interaction with the outside world; the questionis, how is that handled? Brunner's "Shockwave Rider" has some interesting thoughts on that.

I will say, though- the "favor" quasi-economy is a lot of how interdependent cultures work. I just read another book- "One-Woman Farm"- in which this is a factor; she helps her neighbors with haying, and they help her out when she needs it. That's exactly what's described in the "utopia" here.

The Mobius strip of the title? It's not a spoiler to say that whether one is in heaven or hell has something to do with one's perspective... at least, when one has the basic necessities (food, water, shelter, clothing, health care).

I like reading about utopias, and this was a thoughtful one in that tradition, albeit possibly a bit long.

Note: I got a review copy of this book from the author. ( )
  cissa | Oct 16, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0966102649, Paperback)

The CEO of the nation's largest manufacturer of information systems stops showing up to work. History's most successful and notorious motion picture producer quits her high-stress job and moves to the country to pen her first novel. The powerful vice president of the world's most profitable international media conglomerate drops out of the rat race and becomes an organic farmer in a remote western town. Their tax attorney, Aaron Kimball, is debt-ridden and painfully dissatisfied, trying his best to achieve the respect of his parents, colleagues, and neighbors, and to maintain an 'acceptable' modern lifestyle for his 13-year-old daughter. The unexplained, systematic loss of each of his clients drives him to a state of unparalleled desperation in which he sells his integrity for the love and respect he's always craved.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:20 -0400)

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