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The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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“An imaginative and thought-provoking look at life in California 16,000 years in the future after a global pandemic and environmental catastrophe in 2021.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
"Great extinctions have ravaged the planet before, and humanity is not immune. The Great Bay is a novel set in the far flung future. Disease ravages mankind and thousands of years in the future, the world has greatly changed, with technology not as prevalent as it once was. An environmental examination of the world and how humans can live in tune with it for a better future, The Great Bay is a wonderful concept with a solid message, highly recommended."
–Midwest Book Review
“A remarkable work of ecological science fiction.”
“The days I spent reading The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse by Dale Pendell were uneasy ones… Perhaps Dale Pendell's gripping, chilling, and utterly believable fictional account of future life on earth will make all of us stop and think about what we want the future to look like. We don't want our worst nightmares to come true.”
–Read All Day
“In the tradition of J.M. Coetzee and Cormac McCarthy, Pendell's award-winning writing proves sophisticated and literary, raising critical questions for the future of humanity and the planet as it brings a startling contribution to the environmental concerns of the day.”
“This is an amazing novel…it’s impossible to read and not do a lot of thinking about the future, as well as what we need to do about it – right now.”
–David Wilk, WritersCast
“A light boat, sailing across a broad bay, with the tops of ancient skyscrapers deep below. Our western North American world, hundreds and then thousands of years into the future. Dozens of remarkable stories, in the unfolding ecologies of post collapse, post climate change. Civilizations and technologies die or are lost, but human ingenuity–families, tribes, and villages, the musicians, shamans, philosophers, and people of power–live on.”
–Gary Snyder, poet, Mountains and Rivers Without End
“The Great Bay is an extraordinary book that thrives at the intersection of dystopian imagination and planet-scale history...A wise, cunning, and important book.”
–Steve Silberman, Contributing Editor, Wired
“This is a winner of the best of Science Fiction award from the Green Book Festival and it's easy to see why. It's a book of incredible scope and storytelling...I found it completely engrossing.”
–Robert Phoenix, The Daily Farcast
“Utterly fascinating and alternately horrifying and deeply moving.”
–Gayle Wattawa, ed., Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire
“The Great Bay is the perfect light post-apocalyptic novel for summer beach reading."
“The Great Bay is a wonderful addition to the subgenre of post-apocalyptic novels set in California...Pendell manages to communicate a wry earth wisdom and pragmatic DIY optimism about the big bummer that may very well lie ahead.”
“I rate this book easily five of five stars; quite simply it is one of the best science fiction books of 2010.”
–Alternating Reality Books
"Pendell is uniquely placed to tell this tale. Of course his poetic skills make for vivid images and insights; unflinching depictions of horror mingle with tender compassion and irony in the early post-Collapse decades, while the later years give ample space for the broader strokes of his social and cultural imagination."
"Send [this] gripping global-warming-post-apocalyptic novel to your cousin Stan who just bought a Hummer."
–Carrie Sturrock, OregonianLive.com
"A kind of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the entire human species...Pendell's Great Bay has been aptly described as 'wise, cunning, ecological fiction.'"
"[Dale Pendell] has some SF chops and can spin a yarn...from a SF/utopia perspective this book is a win; Pendell did everything that he set out to do here, and he did it well. From a political perspective? I can't imagine that it's anything other than a win there too, even if it is controversial."
-Omphalos' SF Book Reviews
"Pendell draws on a wild and wide-ranging knowledge of poetry, philosophy, history, and chemistry to bring us the world of The Great Bay. We should be so lucky to have such a guide— in a fictional or actual post-apocalyptic world."
-The Canary Review
About the Author
Dale Pendell is a widely published author and poet. A consultant for herbal product development and botanical surveys, and a computer scientist, he founded Kuksu: Journal of Backcountry Writing and cofounded the Primitive Arts Institute. He lives in Penn Valley, CA.
Top customer reviews
I enjoyed this book greatly and unlike others I have read recently it NEVER gave me the feeling that I wished it would end so I could move on to something else. How someone can call it "pretentious" is beyond me. It is very down-to-earth. I could see a wonderful, hopeful movie developed from many of The Great Bay's story lines.
What I enjoyed most was the wealth of ecological detail the book lays out. What really would happen if "civilization" as we know it collapsed ? This book offers a very likely vision.
Put another way, the author awakened my sense of wonder and kept it alive from beginning to end. It is for this quality that I read speculative fiction, and I was not disappointed by The Great Bay.
Previous reviewers have touched on the assemblage-like nature of the book -- personal narratives, scientific & sociological reports, anthropological studies, folktales & legends, etc. It's an effective approach, if frustrating at times, since just as a particular story really grabs our attention, the book shifts elsewhere & seldom returns to that previous point. Those who want a strong, continuous narrative are bound to be disappointed ... and perhaps they aren't entirely wrong, as there doesn't seem to be a binding thread holding everything together as well as it might. Look at Olaf Stapledon's immense future histories, for example: there's always the sense of a subtle but firm hand at the rudder.
Even so, the book is definitely worth reading, and not just for the detailed extrapolation. One thing it does very well is make the reader look at contemporary civilization, compare it to past civilizations, and realize just how fragile it all is in the end. So much of what we value & believe will endure for ages could be easily swept away in the blink of an eye. The day will come (assuming humanity survives) when the pinnacle of Western civilization will be less than the wisps of a dream, tatters of legend, with even our language dead or altered beyond recognition. It's a sobering realization!
So, is this really where we're going? While that's impossible to say, the future imagined in these pages seems plausible, at least. If nothing else, the reader will have a lot to think about afterwards. And much of it will be unsettling, to put it mildly. But for those intrigued (or frightened) by what could come next, this is recommended reading -- I think you'll come away from it with a different perspective on what we believe is so important, and see much of that as a protective but fragile illusion. Wasn't that always the case?
Most recent customer reviews
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