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The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  27 reviews
***WINNER, Best Science Fiction, 2010 Green Book Festival

Based in scientific reality, Dale Pendell presents a powerful fictional vision of a fast-approaching future in which sea levels rise and a decimated population must find new ways to live. The Great Bay begins in 2021 with a worldwide pandemic followed by the gradual rising of the seas. Pendell’s vision is all encomp
ebook, 296 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by North Atlantic Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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This is an unusual book of a possible future history of the Earth (focusing mainly on California) over the next 10,000 years as the Earth undergoes changes stemming from and driven by the effects of global warming, unlimited corporate greed, and the effects of corporate special interests on government coupled with weaponized and natural diseases which combine to produce "The Collapse" in 2021...the dissolution of government, industry, trade, and, in short, life as we know it.

While the book is t
An interesting read. The novel covers the world, with a focus on California, after the Collapse of society. The author shows us how time has changed the people's beliefs and their habits. Because the length of time the novel addresses, 10,000 years, he uses various mechanisms to tell the reader the story. The reader follows various characters throughout their lives or, in the case of Solomon, we read a journal that shows the reader snippets of a new society as he travels through pockets of survi ...more
There’s certainly a danger here of ‘apocaphilia’, of longing for a quick disaster in order to escape the prolonged disasters of civilization. But my sense after reading The Great Bay was one of deeper insight into our current condition, but also a calming of gross fears. Such long-term visions, while they can’t offer much immediate personal comfort, reassure our cells and bones that life goes on, and all we can ever do is live well. More:
Peter Sprunger
This book tells the story of the collapse and rebirth of humanity through the eyes of those living in modern-day California after a plague in the year 2020 that decimates the population followed by a period of global warming that raises the sea level enough for a large bay to form in California's central valley. Pendell divides the book into different time periods and gives a brief description of the climatic situation at the beginning of each section. I was impressed with how realistic and pra ...more
The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse by Dale Pendell is a gripping journey into the future of mankind, when global warming, coupled with three pandemics, snuffs out civilization and leaves only a small fraction of the world’s population alive. Written in a mixed format that intersperses interviews, journal and book entries with pure narrative, The Great Bay is a collection of short stories set in Pendell’s dark and realistic vision of the future a vision that is all too possible and may hav ...more
I won this in the First Reads contest.

This was an excellent book. Many apocalypse type stories are coming out about now, and I assumed this would be along the lines of those-pointing to the Mayan calender thing. This is nothing at all like that.

The world as we know it ends in 2021 and this book is the "history" of what happened between the "Collapse" and 16,000 years into the future. It focuses mostly on California and the "Great Bay" area, but does give general outlines about what is happening
Hippy science fiction, so i loved it. More science-based than any other hippy science fiction i've found so far, so lots of kudos there (sometimes i begin to wonder why sci fi needs zombies so often, when there's a million real ways to knock off the majority of the population or otherwise disrupute BAU). Pendell either has longstanding familiarity with environmental science or did a TON of research, and it shows, yet still manages to not be preachy. Great mix of short stories over a long span of ...more
I've always been a huge fan of the post-Apocalypse genre as long as it doesn't devolve into Zombies or space aliens or anything that isn't in the least bit "possible". I found "The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse" to be reminscent of "Warday" in that it was small snippets of many people's stories. At the same time, I came away thinking that the author borrowed much of his premise from "Earth Abides" with a virus knocking out most of the population and those who were left were primarily tho ...more
Very unique book. This "novel" is more of a loose collection of stories, first-hand accounts, newspaper clippings, etc. which tells the future history of California. The author envisions a world of runaway global warming and a human population decimated by a new pandemic. As sea levels rise a Great Bay fills the interior of California. The survivors of the Collapse form loose affiliations and eke out a living, trying to salvage what they can from the industrial world. Over the centuries new cust ...more
Jaque Richards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I won this uncorrected advanced reader copy of The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse by Dale Pendell in a Goodreads. The topic seemed very interesting; "a global pandemc kills much of mankind in 2021.." and much of the world population dies. The weather gets more extreme and the seas rise a lot, and these chronicles follow the people that survive and the life after for a few thousands of years.
I'm not sure what the genre is. Documentary style fictional science for most parts? In the beginnin
Dale Pendell’s “The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse” (North Atlantic, $21.95, 275 pages) pulls no punches it is depressing description of what the future holds for the planet. Pendell starts his book in 2021, and ends it 12,020, and for that whole span of time, human beings have been reduced to prehistoric living conditions. It’s basic agriculture, an annual struggle to survive and nothing that would count as art or culture.

Pendell starts the collapse he chronicles with a one-two punch of
Pendell really put together a compelling story here for a future world in which the polar ice caps have melted enough that the global sea level has risen and many of the world's major cities are under water. The detail in this book is amazing as far as describing how various aspects of the environment affect other aspects and create a whole new global environment in which all forms of life must learn how to thrive.

I'm very impressed with how this book is put together. It's essentially a compilat
Diane Kistner
We are thrust in a world just a decade from now when society as we know it has collapsed. Unlike in the movie "2012," this is a completely believable collapse. Pendell helps people who have grown up thinking short-term and taking infrastructure and food and energy systems for granted imagine what it would be like to have the whole enchilada pulled out from under them. This is important, because it's just a matter of time before society as we know it does, indeed, collapse.

I am particularly struc
The first two-thirds or so of this book were really wonderful, but I found the last third quite disconnected and so totally different that I was really flipping pages to get to the end. I liked the premise: a virus kills a large percentage of the world's population very quickly, causing a collapse of current society. The book is a collection of historical stories from various archives existing after "the collapse."

The author has thought deeply and in great detail about what would happen to the w
Bad. Its a collection of settings notes, without narrative or real characters. I think the author must have been more interested in his politics than telling a story, and it leans heavily on some rather unlikely and uneducated ideas. Scifi is allowed to do this, but I don't have to read it. I've written better essays.
Mike Dettinger
A novel of California after a catastrophic collapse of modern society. Even if the refineries are still standing how do you make plastic or even kerosene if only a few people are still around? How many of us would know or could figure out how to keep telephones or even telegraphs working? The great bay of the title is a flooded central valley as sea level rise kicks in over the first few hundred years. In the end, because the author takes us out to 10k years from now, an interesting world/cultur ...more
Hilary Helkenn
I found this book interesting if disjointed. The premise of collapse is a familiar one, but this takes it a look at our earth and society from collapse to thousands of years forward. Parts are interesting (especially the geographical changes) but it devolves into mythological stories of the distant future and loses focus. Overall, I'm still glad I read it and enjoyed it so I'm going with 3 stars.
A grand work of speculative social and ecological future history told through textual fragments, interviews, diaries and maps.

Beginning with a catastrophic global event in 2021, Pendell folds personal accounts of life following the collapse into panoptic overviews of the dramatic environmental changes that occur in California's Central Valley over 16,000 years. Characters appear for a few pages, share a few moments and then disappear forever. Centuries pass between sections. Forests and deserts
Josh Reid
Clever idea, and a unique book. But its grossly teleological nature failed to resemble a compelling narrative of the future. This aspect really bugged me... and I wanted to like it.
I liked this book, although it was frustrating at times because I wanted to know more about a particular group/story line and sometimes the book revisited it and sometimes not. This was frustrating on one hand, but also totally in keeping with the pieced together/documentary/folklore/archive nature of the book as a whole. A better than average presentation in the "post-apocalyptic" genre.
Andy Whalen
Provocative, and terrifying, look at millennia of climate change nightmare world post-collapse of civilization. But story-telling is a bit clunky and you get the sense intent is more an airing of radical eco-communalist fantasy - greedy civilization gets what it deserves, man rediscovers spiritual roots post-consumer society - than literature.
I loved this book - it's beautifully put together, and presents a very realistic story of global warming over hundreds of years. Well worth reading.
Portrays how the various belief systems of humans would impact the restructuring of civilization after the destruction of our current way of life.
Maria Nicole
This was a required reading for my English Lit lecture, and I could not bring myself to finish it.
An interesting thought experiment, but a slightly less interesting story.
Jun 24, 2010 Alicia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Won from first reads!!
Rachel marked it as to-read
Apr 21, 2015
Dave Olsher
Dave Olsher marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2015
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Dale Pendell is the author of the award-winning Pharmako trilogy, a literary history of psychoactive plants.
He reads and distills the literature of pharmacology and neuroscience, of ethnobotany and anthropology, of mythology and political economics as they intersect with the direct experience of human psychoactive use.

He and his wife Laura currently reside in California.
More about Dale Pendell...
Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, & Herbcraft Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man Walking with Nobby: Conversations with Norman O. Brown

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