Last and First Men [William Olaf Stapledon] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is a. Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is a science fiction novel written in by the British author Olaf Stapledon. A work of unprecedented. Last and First Men a story of the near and far future. Olaf Stapledon. This web edition published by [email protected] Last updated Monday, May 25, at .
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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. Clarke of Last and First Men. This masterpiece of science fiction by British philosopher fiirst writer Olaf Stapledon — is an imaginative, ambitious history of humanity’s future that spans billions of years. Together with its follow-up, Star Maker, it is regarded as the sta “No book before or since has ever had such an impact upon my imagination,” declared Arthur C.
Together with its follow-up, Star Maker, it is regarded as the standard by which all earlier and later future histories are measured. The protagonist of this compelling novel is humanity itself, stripped down to sheer intelligence. It evolves through the ages: From the present willima five billion years into the future, this romance of humanity abounds in profound and imaginative thought. Paperbackpages. Published May 19th by Dover Publications first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Last and First Menplease sign up. Can anybody recommend a good Kindle edition? Several reviews of different Kindle versions report that this or that version has innumerable typos, or has truncated lines, or even, the Millenium edition, has been reedited staplledon make it easier to read!
See 1 question about Last and First Men…. Lists with This Book. It teaches and entertains, not by presenting the reader with facts, but by serving him and her with a broad range of possibilities that don’t only open the eyes but also the mind.
On a basic level, the experience was very pleasant because of the imaginative power of Olaf Stapledon. His imagination is second to none. The images he conjures syapledon provided me with the biggest spectacle I’ve ever seen, and that I can hope to see in the future. A single ” Last and First Men ” has been stalpedon unique experience. A single paragraph sometimes contains more wealth than the complete oeuvres of our most celebrated authors.
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To an author, this book must read like a succession of story settings, and it’s not surprising to see many claim it has been a source of inspiration to their own work. And yet while this book is rightly praised for this abundance of imagination and the mind-blowing proportion of it, this praise falls short of expressing what made ” Last and First Men ” such a magnificent read to me.
A love for life seeps from its pages, rooted in common sense but also in the romantic. It’s a symphony of reason and emotions, of smallness and vastness, and its conclusion left me enriched, happy and deeply moved. A fear I have while writing this review is that my admiration for it won’t do this book any justice, nor any favors.
That it will imperfectly shape expectations of anyone reading this review, that it will put so much emphasis on my experience of it so that it doesn’t leave room for you, the reader, to form an opinion that completely disregards what might be perceived as the opinion of a wide-eyed fanatic. Or that people not having liked the book will use my possibly emotional arguments against the very thing I hold so dear.
But I have to take my chances. I do want to share it, given that at times my heart literally was beating faster while reading, and that my eyes could simply not believe what they were reading. I repeatedly double-checked if this wasn’t in reference to something else, a symptom of the lack of belief that characterized my eyes at the time of reading. One of the things I liked aside from the bedazzling scope of the author’s imagination is the way the fourth wall was broken through the idea that the author himself was but a vessel of communication between a very distant future human life form and the reader.
The account of all the iterations of mankind’s evolution and the richness in detail and nuance make it read like a convincing historical account, convincing enough to even entertain the idea proposed by the author that the future speaks to us through these pages. This leads me to react on two criticisms I have read here repeatedly.
The first is that the near-future predictions were wrong. While I guess this is true when it comes to certain details, protagonists, scientific discoveries and so on, I think no justice is done to this book by considering it a “historical account of the future”, a creative exercise in future forecasting. It’s more than that. It’s more than anything I know, and categorizing it is a mistake.
Even science fiction is too narrow a field to contain all that is within this book. In any case, running your finger along its lines and double-checking it with reality is futile and senseless, and completely besides the point.
In fact, even in his supposedly wrong predictions of the near future, Stapledon touched on some very true traits of human nature. In my version of the book the foreword by Gregory Benford laat recommends not reading the first chapters because wiloiam their factual errors. Please do not follow this man’s advice. Don’t skip anything in this book, or at least not anything Stapledon has written. A second b I read is on the way the “story” is presented.
There is a lack of a constant character to relate to and the birdseye-view or Flying Man’s view prevents any bonding between reader and story.
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
I can’t but disagree. First of all, the civilisations are presented in a way that is detailed and passionate enough as to allow the reader to feel right at home among them, whether they’d be on Earth, Venus or Neptune. Sometimes though rarely Stapledon also zooms in on individuals, providing the reader with yet another way of engaging with the millions of characters that are within this book.
And ultimately, I myself couldn’t help but feel like a character within it. How’s that for immersion? This story tells the story of humanity, so the leap is not that big to make. This book is deeply philosophical. And here we come to the main reason why I don’t just like this book, but love it. It asks life’s biggest questions without falling bh the trap of falling on one’s knees and shout out an exasperated “WHY?!
Rather, it’s written by someone with a tender yet firm, a questioning yet reassuring voice. It’s always very collected, dispassionate when exploring possibilities, when describing the search of so many people, the defeats they endure, their disappointments and their small victories. It’s an ode to humanity, without forgetting the baseness and evil that sometimes characterizes us.
And despite the theme, it doesn’t present humankind as the center of the universe, though it does stapledob consider the possibility that it is its most beautiful flower. This consideration is blissfully left open without a conclusion. It’s an ode to light despite all the darkness that surrounds it.
It’s an ode willian the temporary in an eternal setting. It’s an ode to the cosmos despite not knowing what the hell it is. It’s telling me that life is ultimately beautiful, despite its insignificance in the vast expanse of time, space and possibilities.
That the universe is a wonderful riddle, regardless of whether we can solve it or not. That being able to recognize the mystery that surrounds and pervades us is a gift in stapledoon, a spark that can take humanity a far way.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. I won’t judge you if you don’t like it, I can’t offer the guarantee that you will, but I can only say I’m very glad I can count myself among those who really do.
I won’t claim this book is an easy read. There were days where I didn’t feel I had the mental capacity to fully get what was written and move forward. But it’s a fulfilling read.
Be patient and give yourself the time to find the right moment to read it. I’m surprised this book isn’t a worldwide, timeless success, given its scope. There’s something in there for everyone and it’s surprising to me that it’s not part of mass culture, but this surprise makes me all the more grateful that I got the chance to discover it.
I’ll see what I can do in making other people get acquainted with it as well, hoping fifst not expecting them to like it as much as I did. Maybe I can start by convincing you? View all 31 comments. Dec 19, Richard Derus rated it did not like it.
Last and First Men – William Olaf Stapledon | Feedbooks
A century after the founding of the first world state a rumour began to be heard in China about the supreme secret of scientific religion, the awful mystery of Gordelpus, by means of which it should be possible to utilize the energy locked up in the opposition of proton and electron.
Stapledon, and thanks for playing our game! This is supposedly a novel! That shapledon of snore-inducing prose is not even excusable in a textbook, though it is explainable there; in a novel, an entertainment, this tone is just about as far off the mark as any I can imagine.
I can’t fairly comment on the plot, since there isn’t any that I can discern. The story unfolds as a being from our remote future lectures us on what we did wrong, with special emphasis on the horrors of America oof, how very outmoded that sounds and China as co-controllers of civilization. Now I can’t fault Dr. Stapledon for prescience, since he pegged the two dominant countries of the future so solidly, but there are no characters to make us care about the story and there are no passages of graceful prose to make us forgive the lack of characters.
All in all, even given that I was skimming most of the book, it was a waste of a lovely Sunday afternoon. View all 42 comments. Dec 13, Manny rated it really liked it Shelves: Stapledon tells you the story of the human race, starting now and ending with its demise, well over a billion years in the future.
People change in all sorts of unexpected ways; during some periods, they have godlike intelligence, during others they aren’t even sentient any more.