The Utopia Experiment

3.38 based on 351 ratings & 51 reviews on

Publication date: 12.02.2015
ISBN: 9781447261339
Number of pages: 0


As read on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week.

Imagine you have survived an apocalypse. Civilization as you knew it is no more. What will life be like and how will you cope?

In 2006, Dylan Evans set out to answer these questions. He left his job in a high-tech robotics lab, moved to the Scottish Highlands and founded a community called The Utopia Experiment. There, together with an eclectic assortment of volunteers, he tried to live out a scenario of global collapse, free from modern technology and comforts.

Within a year, Evans found himself detained in a psychiatric hospital, shattered and depressed, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. In The Utopia Experiment he tells his own extraordinary story: his frenzied early enthusiasm for this unusual project, the many challenges of post-apocalyptic living, his descent into madness and his gradual recovery. In the process, he learns some hard lessons about himself and about life, and comes to see the modern world he abandoned in a new light.

'A gripping, slow-motion car crash. You can't take your eyes off it' Julian Baggini, Financial Times

'It radiates an intense intelligence and a candour that is never less than touching and, sometimes, downright heartrending' Daily Mail

'Extraordinary . . . both frightening and compelling' GQ

In the media

Evans always maintains a wry humour even as numerous uncertainties build into a breakdown. Never less than an engaging read, this book is a reminder of why the best utopias are those of our imaginations.
Sydney Morning Herald
A fun read - and a scary one
BBC Focus
This is not in the end a matter of Schadenfreude. There is nothing much that is comic about the Utopians' misfortunes; and nothing at all about Evans's. But it is useful: not only do we see just how difficult it would be to return to the primitive life but we see the kind of mental state that can make it unhealthily attractive
Evening Standard