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Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
“As major agriculture and oil multinationals set their sights on emerging markets for agrifuels, Carlsson describes caravans of veggie oil powered vehicles, smelling of popcorn and French fries, taking to the streets to spread inspiration and know-how about sustainable, small-scale biodiesel production… [This book is] a timely and valuable contribution to understandings of ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by AK Press
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Apr 23, 2008 James rated it liked it
Book Review: "Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today"
by Chris Carlsson
Review by James Generic
"Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners Are Inventing the Future Today!" explores the subcultures of subtle and active resistance to the dominate US consumer culture. Author Chris Carlsson argues that today, the American working class is fragmented and not able to organize through traditional uni
Jun 08, 2008 Trane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: just about everyone
Chris Carlsson's Nowtopia is an excellent exploration of DIY culture and organizing. Carlsson concentrates on several movements and presents them as proleptic visions of the types of social forms and networks that may become the basis for a post-capitalist society based on meaningful work, direct participation, and far more localized versions of production and self-governance. The central question this book focuses on is whether and how we can alter the social systems of power so that we can tur ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Erok rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends wanting to read about our friends
Recommended to Erok by: Andalusia
community gardens, community bike shops, home veggie oil production, open source programming.

I really like the main thesis of this book. These projects have done a great deal to change the way people see the world and the US in general, and i'm sure glad that the projects and movements involved are now archived and discussed in print. I'm not just saying that because myself and many of my friends are pretty well entrenched in much of what he writes about. I suppose that if the internet is still
Jonathan Pistorino
Jan 23, 2009 Jonathan Pistorino rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People with education and no direction
Interesting book that discusses the topic of selecting work that is social responsible and also enjoyable to the worker. Although I think that the many examples given in this book are great forms of work, I think that it is somewhat naive in the fact that the great majority of workers do not get to choose the type of field they work in. Most people work out of necessity or desperation and do not have the opportunity to get an education and participate in jobs that require a higher education.

Doug Brunell
I enjoyed this far more than I had thought I would.

Author Chris Carlsson looks at how computer programmers, community gardeners, Burning Man attendees, bike riders and others are shaping their world and what their actions mean in a capitalist society that seems more work-oriented than ever before. The definitions of "work" and "class" and "identity" are examined in a very compelling way, and Carlsson doesn't shy away from inherent contradictions in what people are doing.

If the idea of being free
Aug 22, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it
Chris Carlsson has written a very nice book here that is basically all about class and revolution, but through the lenses of: community gardeners, critical mass bike riders, computer hackers, bio-diesel tinkerers, and Burning Man participants. it's a lot better than a simple book about lifestylism, this book is about working class revolt, through the creation of new forms of the possible.
Mirza  Sultan-Galiev
A dollap of "post-autonomia" idiot optimism.
A new antagonistic proletarian subjectivity is being generated by Burning Man and bike repair workshops, the new world is not only in our hearts its everywhere wage workers engage in some dinky Portland hipster like DIY project...
At least that is how it works in Carlsson's mind.
Reality is rather more grim and that is putting it lightly.
reverend dak
Mar 08, 2010 reverend dak rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've read on the modern "sub-cultures" that surround me. It has an interesting and subtle "Anarchism as a lifestyle choice" as a subtext, which isn't surprising considering it's written by one of the founders of Critical Mass and published by AK Press.
Michael Dobbie
Feb 09, 2009 Michael Dobbie is currently reading it
i met chris and got inspired by some of his visions and what's he's done
May 30, 2008 Sarah is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone thinking to chage their personal world.
I have just begun this book, but it speaks directly to me. It is a book that encourages people to change the world by doing work they like.
Apr 03, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it
Written by my friend Chris Carlsson. I'm only into the first chapter, but so far it's as interesting as I would expect.
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Chris Carlsson, executive director of the multimedia history project "Shaping San Francisco" (, is a writer, publisher, editor and community organizer. He was a founder of the ground-breaking magazine Processed World, and helped launch the monthly bike-ins known as Critical Mass that have spread to five continents and over 300 cities. Carlsson has edited and authored numerous books, in ...more
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