Thanks to finally opening up on my Twitter account about my book blog (sorry, I’m not comfortable linking my twitter handle here just yet), one of my followers recommended the book Walden Two to me. After a few false starts and distractions, I finally buckled down and took the book out for a half hour per night until I finished it. It’s certainly not a book I would have picked on my own, which is perfectly fine. After all, expanding my horizons by reading outside my comfort zone is something I’m working on all the time (well, not all the time, but at least little by little).
Walden Two, by B. F. Skinner, is a terrible novel. If you are looking for something with good plot, engaging dialogue, and fully realized characters, do not pick up this book. Though set up as a novel, it is more of a novelized version of Skinner’s treatise on the optimal Utopian society based upon behavioral science and behavioral conditioning. I kept reading, thinking that someday, sometime, the exposition-via-dialogue would end and Skinner would show us how Walden Two (the fictional utopian community) worked instead of telling us. After all, the book started promisingly enough, with our introduction to Professor Burris pretending he remembers two of his old students, who have returned from war and hope to find a place to live not dictated by the ever-shifting ever-hazardous environments created by warring politics. It was humorous, intriguing, and just the hook that I needed to be drawn into what I thought would be engaging lessons via prose.
Alas, it was not to be.
This review shall be split in two parts: critiquing the novel, and critiquing the ideas presented. Continue reading “Walden Two”