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Olaf Stapledon

 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Olaf Stapledon Reply with quote

From wiki:
Quote:
William Olaf Stapledon (10 May 1886 6 September 1950) known as Olaf Stapledon was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction.
I'm enjoying the general writing style I've found in my survey of the psionic books of Silverberg, Bester, Brunner, Sturgeon, yadda yadda. I read Stapledon's Odd John, because it was mentioned by Silverberg. I like Stapledon's style, even if the book wasn't developed enough to be among my favorites. I saw his Last and First Men at the used store, and it looked interesting enough. A search here brings up this post:
Loremaster wrote:
hue of bone wrote:
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon

Best science fiction book ever.

Only 20+ pages in at the moment, but it's certainly enough to know it is, indeed, good. A human from the veeeeeeeeeery distant future (I don't yet know how distant, but "aeons" is used) gives an account of the changes in humanity between WWI and that very distant future. Published in 1930, so it's immediately inaccurate, since Stapledon didn't know about WWII. But what he follows WWI with is thought out in very interesting and detailed ways.

I'll keep you posted, but wondered who else might have anything to say.
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Fist and Faith
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, obviously, it took me a long time to read Last and First Men. That's not anything close to a reflection on the quality of the book. I'm a slow reader, and I have sleep apnea. Some days it's harder to read than other days. This book has, literally, no dialog. Zero. There are only a few, maybe three, characters mentioned. Each is quoted for about a paragraph. There is no action on any personal level. In short, it's like a text book, describing the history of humanity.

The history of humanity from a few hundred million years in the future. In a few hundred pages, everything from Einstein's time to the Last Men is given a very brief overview.

So it's not the type of thing that will keep a slow, exhausted person going very easily.

Let me tell you, though, it's a fantastic book. I cannot recommend it enough. He somehow manages to give a surprising amount of depth to hundreds of millions of years. You actually get a pretty good feel for the various species of humans, starting with us, the First Men. The rise and fall of so many civilizations and species; the psychological makeup of each (I understand why Loremaster gives the book such high praise.); the reasons this or that happened... Honestly, it was a joy to read even at the speed I managed.

One note. Our history has already developed different than what's in the book. It's several decades old, after all. And I really can't imagine certain things would not have happened by then. But hey, it's the way it happens in the book. Just read it!

It's free at Project Gutenberg Australian, on this page: http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-n-z.html#letterS
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if anyone's interested, the University of Adelaide, which seems to be in Australia, has a bunch of Stapledon's books available. It looks to be legit.
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/stapledon/olaf/
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