Voyage from Yesteryear is a 1982 science fiction novel by the author James P. Hogan. It explores themes of anarchism and the appropriateness of certain social values in the context of high-technology. The inspiration for the novel was the contention that the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland had no immediate practical solution, and could only be solved if the children of one generation were somehow separated from their parents, and hence did not learn any of their prejudices.
©1982 James P. Hogan (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This is one of the few stories available out there which touches the topic of Embryo Colonization to other stars, and it does a remarkable job in exploring the possible social consequences of this approach and the unique way in which the new colonizers would be free and clean of any Earthling influence or any of their emotional baggage. This idea has always intrigued me, and Hogan's book was a delightful discovery. His writing is unique, precise and catching. I don't know how, but he has a way of perfectly explaining the small gestures and moods of people as they talk and interact. His writing style is so good, that I found myself wondering why did this man wrote science fiction at all. It's almost too good to be true.
Hogan has also a thing for prediction. I had to remind myself many times throughout the book that this was written in 1982. The author must have had some kind of crystal ball to peer into the future, because he just knew what kind of technologies would be important and which ones would be not in the days to come. People in his book talk greatly and ominously about fusion reactors, interstellar spaceships and artificial intelligence, as we do today, and yet they regard as mundane things like touch screens, the internet, hacking and video surveillance, as we also do today.
Much can be said about his "predictions" of what would happen if you raised a society free from historical baggage and submerged it in material abundance. I will agree with many that his ideas ring many times as naive or short-sighted. The Chironian society in the book seems to rely heavily on keeping a mono-culture and a post-scarcity economy, both of which are possible human achievement yes, but perhaps they just sound "too good" to be true to be able to be swallowed so easily by the reader, or without skepticism.
Nonetheless, the "eeriness" feeling from Hogan's technological predictions repeats itself as he describes how the Chironian meritocracy works. I couldn't help but thinking about Kickstarter and the digital economy as he related how money and politics became obsolete in Chiron's unique situation. The thought that Hogan may really be into something lurks on you as you go along, and while I doubt he will convince anyone that this is the way the world will be, I'm also sure he didn't convinced anyone that in the future people would have handheld computers and not think too much about em.
Special mention should be made about Ed's French narration, which was mind-blowing perfect for most of the characters in the book. His ominous accent and low pitch makes this story to feel just right. Bravo Mr. French! You raised this book to new levels with such great narration!
all scenes involving missionaries
The missionaries in this book are completely foreign to any real missionaries I have known. Those portrayed in this book are the sort that Christopher Dawkins would like to debate because they would be so two-dimansional and easy to overcome.
This book was awarded the Prometheus "Best Novel" of 1983
I experienced both and the audio rendition was faithful to the novel. I would be hard-pressed to choose the better.
It would be the same as my Headline for this review: Utopia is NEVER an option... on Earth.
It couldn't happen on Earth... a society where the only spendable commodity and measure of wealth is your reputation of doing your work well.... a society that is technologically advanced and independent... a society where all major conflicts have NOT been banned, but do not happen.... a society where the inability to think rationally and reasonably is considered to be a mental illness... a society where no one has any need or desire to rule over anyone else nor to be ruled over... in other words, a viable and working Utopia.
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