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4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, interesting, but the plot rambles.
This is a novel well worth reading because it makes you think. As always, Hogan is trying to think outside the box, and he tries to make the reader to do the same. In that, he succeeds in this very worthwhile novel.
The time is the late 21st century. There has been a third world war, and America and the world has more or less recovered from the aftermath. But...
Published on Nov. 10 2002 by Roger J. Buffington

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2.0 out of 5 stars Found it Irritating
Though the book had some good plot points, I found the overall tone offensive. Mr. Hogan is apparently an atheist or agnostic, and believes in evolution. In his book he consistently bashes religion, making anyone who is religious appear to be either a fanatic or inclined towards greed and other base emotions. None of the protagonists ever mentions God or His place...
Published on Aug. 2 2000


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4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, interesting, but the plot rambles., Nov. 10 2002
By 
Roger J. Buffington (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This is a novel well worth reading because it makes you think. As always, Hogan is trying to think outside the box, and he tries to make the reader to do the same. In that, he succeeds in this very worthwhile novel.
The time is the late 21st century. There has been a third world war, and America and the world has more or less recovered from the aftermath. But America is transformed into a near-fascist state. There are hints that the Asians are practicing liberal democracy and that the Europeans are more or less junior rivals to America.
The novel involves a race by the three powers (America, Europe, and Asia) to re-establish contact with a colony established on Alpha Centauri's main planet--the colony had been jointly established prior to the war. The Americans arrive first, and the clash between the Americans and the colonists is the central theme of the book.
The main notion of the book is that people and nations carry their prejudices from generation to generation, and that it may take some form of "fresh start" to eliminate these prejudices. Hogan notes that America represented such a fresh start when it was founded, and Americans have shaken off much in the way of class structure and other undesireable components of European culture. Likewise, in his novel, the colonists have made a "fresh start," and have abolished racial prejudice (or even racial awareness), as well as any concept of a market economy or of the anglo-saxon justice system.
Hogan's basic premise makes sense--that a fresh start such as took place in America might help eradicate ancient prejudices. As he writes elsewhere, if we could somehow get one generation of the folks in Northern Ireland away from their parent's prejudices, this ancient quarrel would doubtless end for all time.
Unfortunately, some of Hogan's speculation fails to hold water. His replacement for a justice system is having people shoot bad guys out of hand. Only trouble with this is that it is exactly what people used to do a couple of centuries ago. This caused feuding and an endless cycle of family reprisals. So we invented courts. Here, Hogan has us going backwards, candidly probably due to his lack of historical knowledge in this regards. Similarly, Hogan postulates that the Centaurian colonists would abandone money and a market system because everyone would work their fair share and take their fair share--the notion is that productivity is so high with modern technology that there is no need to ration resources. Nonsense, as the fall of socialism/communism has shown. Human greed is limitless and there will always be a need to somehow ration labor and resources. Here, Hogan makes a nice try that falls flat. These are not major quibbles, by the way.
As a novel, Voyage From Yesteryear is so-so. The characters are not well developed, the storyline is murky, and the book rambles. In one sense you always know where it is going--a clash between the Americans and the colonists. But other than this broad theme, the book rambles erratically. You might think that these flaws render the book mediocre. That is not true. This novel's strengths are its ideas and speculations about both science and human societies. It is quite readable and does constitute a good read.
This is an interesting book with interesting ideas and speculation. It is well worth reading whether or not you agree with all of Hogan's speculation. This one gets 4 stars. That ain't bad.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Found it Irritating, Aug. 2 2000
By A Customer
Though the book had some good plot points, I found the overall tone offensive. Mr. Hogan is apparently an atheist or agnostic, and believes in evolution. In his book he consistently bashes religion, making anyone who is religious appear to be either a fanatic or inclined towards greed and other base emotions. None of the protagonists ever mentions God or His place in the universe.
I also found his arguments for Chironian society riddled with flaws. The most glaring - that Chironians place no value on stable family relationships, have no sense of commitment to a spouse, and there is never any jealousy or contention among family members or society in general. Just because the original Chironians came from computer programs and were raised by robots does not eliminate human's genetic leaning toward violence and confrontation.
I read another of Mr. Hogan's books recently and found the same anti-God bias. I will not be wasting my money on any more of his books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars inspiring account of a gift culture, Sept. 20 1999
September, 1999. Madison, WI. Voyage From Yesteryear is one of my favorite books. I've read at least 4 times and will read it again. Several things struck me after my last reading.
The culture described is similar to the culture of open-source software programmers. This culture has been described by Eric Raymond (an open-source software guru) as a 'gift culture' as opposed to an 'exchange culture'. A gift culture is one where a person's worth is judged by how much he or she gives away. An exchange culture (the conventional Amerison/western economy) values a person by how much power and money he or she possesses. In a money economy it is easy to do bad things: just give them more money or power. Pimping, murder, politics, spying, down-sizing, advertising, etc. (All these professions would still exist, but much less.)
After this last reading I recognized that Hogan is speculating on 2 cultural developments: 1. A society that didn't inherit all our hang-ups and conditioning. 2. A society with limitless energy and material resources.
I share the doubt of another reader that the Chironian culture could function beyond some natural limit (200,000...2M ?) While goods may be be freely available to people, land will become a limited resource. What happens when all the Centauri planets are terraformed and filled up? They will need to invent a method to move huge numbers of people to other star systems.
Each time I read Voyage from Yesteryear I speculate on how the Congreve and crew will manage when it returns to a shattered and hate-filled Earth. I try to 'think like a Chironian' and see the path. As yet, I'm still tripping over my American conditioning before I get very far. I shall keep on thinking, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure science fiction, Jan. 28 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: VOYAGE FR YESTERYEAR (Mass Market Paperback)
One of the foundations of SF is examining the consequences of science and technology on society. Here Hogan creates two diametrically opposed societies - those of Earth founded on limited resources and those of the newly colonized planet Chrion having unlimited resources. You won't find deep character development in this book, the focus is on the effects of technology on society - what we can become. Telling the story from the viewpoint of solders on the second colonization starship traveling and landing on the planet Chrion, Hogan explores his vision of what humanity can be. Chrionians value and trade respect, possessions are in abundence and free from automated factories. On the second colonization starship traveling from a militarized Earth, imagine the consequences to those powers to be when character matters! Unlimited resources you ask? Hogan postulates, the mind is a unlimited resource.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read again and again, Sept. 6 2002
By 
Robert van Rijswijk (Vlaardingen, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
A few years ago I bought a second hand copy of this book. During this time I must have read it at least once a year. I like it that much.
It is a book about what humanity could aspire to become if we can put away the mistakes of the past and present.
The arguments I've read that this is a unrealistic fantasy.... this is a book of fiction that portraits the thought and maybe the wishes of the author. You can agree with them or not.
This is one of the few books that I would recommend to a beginning SF reader. It is not too difficult and a pleasure to read, and unlike many other books you are not left with a feeling of light depression because every main character died or had some other terrible fate happen to them.
If you are interested in other works of Mr. Hogan I would recommend 'The Giant Novels' and 'The Genesis Machine'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favorite scifi-utopian novels of all time., Feb. 3 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: VOYAGE FR YESTERYEAR (Mass Market Paperback)
I loved this book, and have read it many times. I especially love the quasi-utopian society it depicts. I really think that a society like that could work, at least in basic principal. The Chironians are all very decent, logical, interesting people. I do think their habit of always carrying guns, and being very free in their use of them, although only for self-defense, is a bit troubling. That would be something that would definitely require a major change in the characters of our society's individuals. But that, along with the idea of trading in respect, rather than money (as long as their are sufficient commodities to satisy everyone--and that too would take some modifications in character, which would require teaching people through media and education), I think could and would be a very good thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, June 2 2002
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I find this book a great story, easy to read, diffiuclt to put out.
Of course, there are some flaws, technology moved since the book's been written, but the story does not suffer from that!
I've read it several times and still come back to it from time to time.
The author's beliefs in evolution and mentioned ani-God bias may tweak the noses of some (mine too a bit) but let us be honest - that's how many people see "The Institutions" ot the state and the church. And the ideal society of Chironians - ;-) ... it is good to see that some people still believe we humans can escape from our "bad nature"
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3.0 out of 5 stars Minor political satire dressed up as SF, Sept. 11 1999
By A Customer
VOYAGE FROM YESTERYEAR depicts a libertarian utopia coming into contact with a sort of neo fascist, conservative American dream gone awry. Hogan sets up his premise with a fairly standard SF storyline, and uses this platform to explore this political drama. I was disappointed, however, because too little time was spent in this exploration. Instead, Hogan's story ends up as a fairly uninspired SF actioner with a wholly predictable ending. Still, entertaining if not engrossing. Somewhat reminiscent of L. Neil Smith's PALLAS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yesteryear, Dec 25 2001
By 
David (Kenosha, Wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: VOYAGE FR YESTERYEAR (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read this book several times since it was first published and find it enjoyable each time I read it. The chacarters he builds in this book are great. It's a book to read when you wish to lay back and dream about how good "US" humans are .......and how fanatical some of "US" can be. If you enjoy Mr. Hogans books you will greatly enjoy this good story. I have read all of Mr. Hogan's books and enjoy them all. I can't wait to see where his next story will take me.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This book could have been good., June 20 1999
By A Customer
The book starts out well, but the author's explanation of social evolution contradicts the biological evolution Hogan likewise promotes in this book. This story could have been good other than the author's scientific and semi-moralistic inserts. At some points I had the feeling that he was trying to rationalize his own beliefs by authoring them in the book almost separate from the story.
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VOYAGE FR YESTERYEAR
VOYAGE FR YESTERYEAR by James P. Hogan (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 12 1986)
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