- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Mark A. Burch; 1 edition (Aug. 11 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780978452841
- ISBN-13: 978-0978452841
- ASIN: 0978452844
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 463 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #650,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia Paperback – Aug 11 2016
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About the Author
Mark A. Burch is a Canadian author, speaker and transformational educator. He has published seven books about voluntary simplicity and sustainable livelihood including Stepping Lightly: Simplicity for People and the Planet, The Simplicity Exercises: A Sourcebook for Simplicity Educators and most recently, The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction. His short fiction garnered first prize in the Lady Eaton Short Story competition and Stepping Lightly was nominated for the Nautilus Award in non-fiction. Euterra Rising is his debut novel.
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Our present existence could use a renovation of sorts. From the disintegration of families to the breakdown of the environment, the polarization in politics to the rampant over-consumption of our earth's resources -- the hectic and harried pace of society as we know it has dragged us further and further from being soulful people who value life in all its forms.
Enter Mark A. Burch, who has written his own alternate society in his new novel, Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia. It's a fascinating story of the beginning of something better than life as we presently know it, a renovated existence where people pull together, where everyone has enough, where humans cooperate with nature, and where beauty is appreciated and cultivated daily. I was fortunate to read early drafts of the story, and my initial response to Mark was, "Where is this place? I'll be there in a heartbeat!"
It's not easy to pen a good novel that teaches without being overly preachy, but there's an abundance of fresh ideas and suspense in Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia to carry the reader through to the story's end. Chapters begin with epigraphs that seem to come from sages beyond our time. The establishment of Euterra is juxtaposed with its later existence and the arrival of an "outsider" whose appearance threatens the community's existence, making for a real page turner. And the bonus is that there's another book in the works, if readers want more!
This book deserves to become a best-seller, simply because it carries the seeds for many long-overdue conversations about the kind of world we really want to inhabit. We're used to the status quo, to feeling like we have no choice but to go with the flow, but it's past time that we begin to envision and build a better future than the one that's coming down the pipe whether we want it or not. Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia is available via Kindle or in hard copy, with the possibility that Euterra book clubs could be the launch pad for a better world (book club resources are available on Mark's website).
For more information, see www. markaburch. ca, or visit Euterra on Facebook and meet Nota Dorne, one of the book's characters.
Better yet, pick up the book for yourself, share it with friends, and start imagining and creating the world you really want to inhabit...
Dystopian scenarios and novels of the Mad Max variety are common in our time of a global capitalism and the dismantling of the social state. In this post Trump election period when dark times loom, Mark Burch provides us with that rarity, a utopian novel: "Euterra Rising: The Last Utopia".
Euterra is his name for a society set some 300 years in the future which began its slow formation after an event he calls "The Ruination", namely the collapse of modern life as we know it. There were earlier hints of turbulence but the Ruination can be dated to 2027, when the electrical grid and internet both collapsed. The essential interconnection between the two was abruptly brought to everyone's attention. The Internet of course requires power, but equally, the complexity of modern power generation is impossible without the internet and computerization.
Euterra is physically set both on and in a huge geological formation, a Massif. Imagine an Australian Ayers Rock but many times larger and set in a temperate, perhaps Boreal location. Over approximately seven generations this edifice was hollowed out and carved into about fifty levels, providing shelter for a population of, perhaps, 10,000 Euterrans.
I first read "Euterra Rising" in manuscript during a trip to India, and having just seen the astounding Buddhist caves at Elora and Ajanta. Burch's depiction of this complex cave habitus is completely persuasive. Over the time of its existence Euterra became a place of delicate artistry and sophisticated ecological adaptation befitting the mindful attention by Euterrans to the necessary mutual relation between humans and their environment.
But Euterra isn't the only surviving fragment of human life. Some eleven hundred kilometers to the East is a holdover of the old pre-ruination civilization, a community known as Mainbranch, organised as an hierarchical tyranny with a small ruling oligarchy known as the Brotherhood (think Trump Cabinet?) and underlings known as Skrala, essentially slaves.
The Brotherhood resides in a menacing black cube known as HQ and Skrala live in repurposed parkades and underground ruins. Both Brotherhood and Skrala remain locked into a parasitic mindset of plundering old pre-ruination city sites for resources, primitive monoculture agriculture, and into their master/slave relationships. But the Skrala have a dream, the faintest glimmering or recollection of, Freedom, and therein lies the narrative drama.
Mark Burch is the former Director of the University of Winnipeg's Sustainability Office and a long time teacher and practitioner of Voluntary Simplicity. The author of previous books, in this assured foray into fiction he finds another way of showing and sharing the opening to fuller individual lives and to more sustainable collective futures. The aphorisms with which he begins each chapter, from the Euterran Book of Practice and Book of Memory, are a delight and are pure Mark Burch.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The author paints a good picture of the possible future if the unfettered corporate/consumer craziness continues.
I heard an interview with the author, who has written extensively on the subject of “voluntary simplicity,” in which he claimed that more people are likely to be influenced by his fiction than his non-fiction.
I agree with the author that our current cultural climate is shallow, malevolent and designed to keep the 99% being productive drones for the 1% of the corporate “elite.”
His remedies are commonsensical “virtues:” mindfulness of the real costs and benefits of “progress,” encouraging self-reliance at the same time of fostering a sense of community, and intentional living- all under the umbrella of “voluntary simplicity.”
A very good read, with an important message. Reading Mark Burch’s works is a good Practice.
By the way, I appreciate the irony of from where I purchased and am now reviewing this work!
The unravelling and eventual demise of our current social and cultural practices is frightening to many of us. The emerging future looks more like a collapse than an opportunity to refashion our social relationships and to create a regenerative relationship with the rest of nature that is dedicated to healing the wounds and the tears humans have inflicted on the web of life. But what would this look like and how should we begin? This book is brimming with positive design elements that can serve as fruitful starting points for the kind of group discussions we will need if we are to transform ourselves and the way we live. It provides us with promising frameworks, practices, values that cover the use of common resources, the thoughtful use of human labour and imagination, alternative kin systems and governance practices, to mention a few. This tale offers a thoughtful, provocative and positive response to the coming crises driven by the need to curtail fossil fuel use while coping with the major upheavals resulting from climate chaos. The suggested solutions are not based on technological fixes. They are sociologically and anthropologically informed and make helpful suggestions about how to build local, mindful communities of care where each of us can find a way to promote our collective good while harnessing personal energy and imagination in ways that are life affirming.
If ever a book warranted a reading group or a book club, this is it. We could gather with our friends to discuss this fount of positive possibilities and begin to become the kind of community that can craft such an emergent, inspiring future. It is such a rich, inspiring, and fertile gift.