Just finished the audio book version of Starhawks “The Fifth Sacred Thing” – what a crazy awesome trip down a utopia hole.
Its about the coexistence and the clash between a religio-fascist-capitalistic culture with an eco-utopia. Set 2048 in what today would be called San Francisco. It single handedly shows how nonviolent resistance works, how permaculture can shape a country for the better, how to start a revolution that actually brings us forward. Its a book that gives hope.
The immense amount of detail is at times a lot to bear – this is no book for cheap thrills but half way through you ain’t putting it down. I could have done without some of the magic as this might throw of some readers. Yet its fiction and it shows another dimension to the human soul – one we have not tapped in modern times – one that can not be quantified. I think it has its place in there for sure it could have taken a bit a backseat to driving the story but if you can get over that read this book. Its contemporary value as a positive idea of how our future and its struggles could work out are priceless.
The world building is phenomenal and coherent and extreme in its detail. All the functions of that society and how they interact and how normal life looks like and what kind of life philosophies can get along with another. Also it shows lots of different faces of resistances and how they are not working together and therefore failing – its all there and its stunning.
The seamless contrasting of an exaggerated current culture with what could be is mind opening. Make no mistake – this is at times totally brutal. When the protagonist wanders into the neo-christian-fascists world you have to have a strong stomach. Its crazy horrific what goes on there (children that are half-artificially bred (by mothers who couldn´t pay their bills) so they can be brutally raped to death f.e.) but its not out of the realm of possibilities that we get there rather sooner then later judging the current timeline. This part is inherently important because even with all the horrors thrown at them – with the possibility that the inhabitants of the eco utopia being swallowed by the nazi mob and everything is lost – they stay nonviolent to the end and that is the greatest gift that book can give us going forward.