Utopia and dystopia go hand in hand, and LibriVox obviously knows this. They’ve got the audiobooks to prove it. One retro Science Fiction story and a proto-Science Fiction book. First up is Sir Thomas More’s foundational Utopia – a book which has probably influenced more SF than even Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Second is a short story from mainstream great E.M. Forster. First published in 1909, it is a dystopia that predicts computers, television, the internet, instant messaging, videoconferencing, google and even pizza delivery – at least sort of. If you’ve got a portable MP3 player be sure to use the handy podcast feeds!
By Thomas More; Read by Jenilee
1 Zipped File of MP3s or podcast – Approx. 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 2007
“This book is all about the fictional country called Utopia. It is a country with an ‘ideal’ form of communism, in which everything really does belong to everybody, everyone does the work they want to, and everyone is alright with that. This country uses gold for chamber pots and prison chains, pearls and diamonds for children’s playthings, and requires that a man and a woman see each other exactly as they are, naked, before getting married. This book gave the word ‘utopia’ the meaning of a perfect society, while the Greek word actually means ‘no place’. Enjoy listening to this story about a country that really is too good to be true.”
The Machine Stops
By E. M. Forster; Read by Erin Tavano and Jenilee
3 Zipped MP3s or via podcast – 1 Hour 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 2007
Almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as ‘unmechanical’ and are threatened with “Homelessness”.