The Utopia Experiment

A book by Dylan Evans

In 2006 Dylan Evans gave up his job in one of the world's leading robot labs and decamped to the Scottish Highlands to set up the Utopia Experiment. Convinced that global warming and the end of cheap oil would lead to cataclysmic changes, he invited an eclectic assortment of volunteers to join him in preparing for life after the crash. The group planned to live without modern technology, acting as if civilization had already collapsed.

But things did not go according to plan, and within a year Evans found himself in a psychiatric hospital, shattered and depressed, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. In this book, he tells the story of the utopia experiment, and of his descent into madness and gradual recovery.

This is a book about that sense of imminent catastrophe we all have, and which is part of the reason that tales of the apocalypse have always been so popular. Why are such gloomy visions of the future so seductive? Are they are really distorted ways of thinking about our own personal mortality? This is a book about what it means to think about the end of the world, and why we can't prepare for it, even when it seems the sane thing to do, because when we do, we often wind up insane.

The Utopia Experiment will be published by Picador in February 2015.