“They had had no kings, and no priests and no aristocracies. They were sisters, and as they grew, they grew together — not by competition, but by united action.”

This is how Charlotte Perkins Gilman described the utopian all-female community “Herland” in the book of the same name, published in 1915. Gilman, best known for her book “The Yellow Wallpaper,” was a trailblazing feminist, suffragist and publisher.  But even Gilman couldn’t have foreseen that 100 years after she wrote her sci-fi novella about a feminist paradise deep in the jungle of a distant continent, the hive-mind of the internet would decide to bring it to life.

“It wasn’t just ‘Oh, here’s a book. Let’s pretend we’re in the book.’ It’s using the book as sort of a design document,” says Kate White. She’s a pioneer of Herland, a Facebook group of over 5,000 members interested in creating an eco-commune in South America inspired by the “land without hims” that Gilman described.

For PRI’s The World [a co-production of the BBC]

[For a complete archive of my stories for PRI’s The World, click here.]