What's the Human Future?

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, May 4, 2017


Week 2 of AudiobookSYNC 2017 features a pair of audiobooks that take us into possibilities for the future of humanity. Both have been popular in audio since they first became available, and every new listener can quickly understand why.


David Aaron Baker, John Beach, Anne Twomey, and Tara Sands comprise the full cast performing M.T. Anderson’s FEED, for Listening Library. Since its publication in both print and audio more than 15 years ago, FEED’s status has only grown in the worlds of both teen lit and sci fi. There is an important audio element here in addition to the voice acting of its stellar cast: that chip implanted in the head of each human in this future provides ongoing instruction—and static. The use of such an enhancement to deliver what the print book can only describe in words, revolutionary at the time this title first was made, speaks to the power of the audiobook medium. 

Another speculative investigation of the human future is brought to us through the acting of well known British comedian Stephen Fry, who delivers the cult favorite by Douglas Adams, THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY in this Random House Audio production. The wonder of the author’s imagination and carefully crafted passages emerge through Fry’s reading, with color, light, and action all made vivid in words alone. This performance will delight Adams’s fans, and it offers listeners new to this corner of the galaxy everything they’ll need to become fans as well.

The future, as these two audiobooks suggest, has a lot of problems humanity is likely to face. But these titles also provide important reminders that heart, ingenuity, and humor aren’t going to disappear, and that these human qualities will remain important as we face that future head on. We’re in good company for that with Titus, Violet, and the rest of the characters in FEED, and the array of sentient beings peopling THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. 

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