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A Voyage to Arcturus

David Lindsay

Book Overview: 

A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by Scottish writer David Lindsay. It combines fantasy, philosophy, and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. It has been described by critic and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century" and was a central influence on C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. (Introduction from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .as the fact that, as far as he could see, scarcely any two plants belonged to the same species.

"Won't you help Maskull out of his difficulty?" said Joiwind, pulling her husband's arm.

He smiled. "If he'll forgive me for again trespassing in his brain. But the difficulty is small. Life on a new planet, Maskull, is necessarily energetic and lawless, and not sedate and imitative. Nature is still fluid—not yet rigid—and matter is plastic. The will forks and sports incessantly, and thus no two creatures are alike."

"Well, I understand all that," replied Maskull, after listening attentively. "But what I don't grasp is this—if living creatures here sport so energetically, how does it come about that human beings wear much the same shape as in my world?"

"I'll explain that too," said Panawe. "All creatures that resemble Shaping must of necessity resemble one another."

"Then sporting is the blind will to be. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Well, uh, hmmm. This is definitely something.

The writing style and character depictions are both subpar, but the narrative of events and allegory are something wildly original, especially for the 1920s. This book resembles a Gnostic version of the Pilgrim's Progress written by Philip K. Dick in t...more

Update after 3/2/14 re-read:

I just finished this for the second time and God. DAMN. My mind has been blown. The last 5-6 pages are one jaw-dropping revelation after another, each one more magnified than the previous until the very last page when, despite maybe the best closing dialogue ever, my j...more

So, I picked this book up because it is on my Inklings reading list – in other words on the list of books I’ve kept that, according to their own accounts, cultivated the imagination of the Inklings: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, et all. This book especial...more

Of the stranger books I've come across, this has to be strangest, and while the title and initial chapters suggest that this may be a work of dismissive Science Fiction / Fantasy, it is decidedly not.

Published in 1920, the book hails from a strong lineage of allegorical-journey stories. Think of...more

I don't think I can write properly and it may be entirely because of reading this "dizzlingly" piece of art.

I've not read anything like it before and I tend to doubt there is anything like it out there. However, like Maskull & Nightspore, I will spend my life "out there" pursuing it--whatever...more

How I first came to learn about David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus was in a strange cookbook I saw in the early 1970s written by a hippie who decided to use as the heading of each page a recommended book title. One of the books was this one, but it took me over forty years to get around to read...more

Apparently David Lindsay said once that he would never be famous, but that as long as our civilisation endured, at least one person a year would read him. I think he was probably right. This is not a well-written book, and there is very little character development - but it is full of amazing, la...more

Loses a star solely through my inability to understand what exactly transpired within and, with the passing of the years, my inability to recollect sufficiently to ponder it anew. Like everything truly excellent, it begins with a séance and an assortment of oddball characters ere the reader finds...more

"Leave the past alone, it cannot be reshaped. The future alone is ours. It starts fresh and clean from this very minute."
Το "Ταξίδι στον Αρκτούρο" κυκλοφόρησε το 1920 οπότε δεν περίμενα να διαβάσω για διαστημόπλοια και λέιζερ στο διάστημα. Ήταν ακριβώς αυτό που περίμενα να είναι, ένα μυθιστ...more

This is one of the most incredibly eccentric, surprising and challenging philosophical fantasy novels ever written!

The Scottish writer David Lindsay died in 1945. He is usually regarded as a fantasy writer. While he wrote a great deal, most of his works have been hard to find, out-of-print, negle...more

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