The Community: A Mountain Village Practicing Utopian Social and Environmental Ideas”
Alex Cook is a pseudonym for Clyde Burnett, a retired physics professor and current atmospheric scientist. He is an expert on the greenhouse effect and is extremely knowledgeable of recent scientific literature on climate change. “The Community” is a work of fiction set in the Colorado High Country, familiar geography to most residents of Nederland and Rollinsville.
The setting of the book is The Community of Love, an evolving social experiment designed to test the hypothesis that a community of like-minded individuals can depart from their lives of land exploitation and social degradation. The book successfully illustrates how a community can aspire to an idealized social culture, and yet seemingly be able to take decisive action when the problems of modern life arise.
The author has written a prologue to give the reader a peek at The Community through the eyes of a wandering young man, and there introduces Erhardt, the crusty Saloon owner. The Community of Love is a place where the local place of worship is the center of the town’s cultural and social activities.
Pot luck dinners are the de rigueur, and the past-age-70 crowd comprise The Council of Elders governing body. Through the upwardly mobile protagonist, Carlos Martinez, Cook shows how The Community core concepts are certainly idealistic and almost never conducive to a purely democratic society.
Carlos does not start out as Carlos. Nancy and Marie are on his radar screen, and he has something that Cellini wants. You will have to read the book to find out what all that means.
The book is written in the third person narrative style. While not my personal preference for story telling (I like first person “Gonzo”), I quickly became accustomed to the author’s gentle manner and the book’s overall comforting tone.
Cook is adept at placing the reader in the zone called The Community and allows the reader to experience it. Readers will be pleased to hear that they are provided a lively story, while subtly being introduced to the topics of social awareness and climate change.
Cook has fun with his writing and appears in cameo as Professor Burnett from Florida, a place the he is intimately familiar with. He speaks on the topic of atmospheric science and he folds this event into the flow of the book seamlessly. I was especially appreciative of the Appendix titled “Carlos’ Bookshelf.” In it, additional books and publications on climate change are listed for the reader’s interest. The reference set was familiar and current at the time of printing. This appealed to the geek side of me.
This book is for the many of us who have had the courage to seek a life course correction and have dared to question the social and cultural environments that fate has dealt us. Other books by this author include: “The Greenhouse Effect,” “Jason and the Grizzly,” and “The Family Guide to Disruptive Climate Change.” Professor Burnett has been a resident of the Front Range for more than 30 years and resides in Gilpin County, Colorado.
By Alex Cook
Outskirts Press, Inc.,
Denver, Colorado; ©2011
FICTION/Action & Adventure