Listing books by Olaf Stapledon

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Full title Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author), Gregory Benford (foreword) and Doris Lessing (afterword)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publisher series SF Masterworks
Publication year 1999
Original publication year 1930
ISBN 978-1-85798-806-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 312
Images Back of Last and First Men.Spine of Last and First Men.Front of Last and First Men.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword by Gregory Benford
  • Preface
  • Introduction by One of the Last Men

Chapter I: Balkan Europe

  1. The European War and AFter
  2. The Anglo-French War
  3. Europe after the Anglo-French War
  4. The Russo-German War

Chapter II: Europe's Downfall

  1. Europe and America
  2. The Origins of a Mystery
  3. Europe Murdered

Chapter III: America and China

  1. The Rivals
  2. The Conflict
  3. On an Island in the Pacific

Chapter IV: An Americanized Planet

  1. The Foundation of the First World State
  2. The Dominance of Science
  3. Material Achievement
  4. The Culture of the First World State
  5. Downfall

Chapter V: The Fall of the First Men

  1. The First Dark Age
  2. The Rise of Patagonia
  3. The Cult of Youth
  4. The Catastrophe

Chapter VI: Transition

  1. The First Men at Bay
  2. The Second Dark Age

Chapter VII: The Rise of the Second Men

  1. The Appearance of a New Species
  2. The Intercourse of Three Species
  3. The Zenith of the Second Men

Chapter VIII: The Martians

  1. The First Martian Invasion
  2. Life on Mars
  3. The Martian Mind
  4. Delusions of the Martians

Chapter IX: Earth and Mars

  1. The Second Men at Bay
  2. The Ruin of Two Worlds
  3. The Third Dark Age

Chapter X: The Third Men in the Wilderness

  1. The Third Human Species
  2. Digressions of the Third Men
  3. The Vital Art
  4. Conflicting Policies

Chapter XI: Man Remakes Himself

  1. The First of the Great Brains
  2. The Tragedy of the Fourth Men
  3. The Fifth Men
  4. The Culture of the Fifth Men

Chapter XII: The Last Terrestrials

  1. The Cult of Evanescence
  2. Exploration of Time
  3. Voyaging in Space
  4. Preparing a New World

Chapter XIII: Humanity on Venus

  1. Taking Root Again
  2. The Flying Men
  3. A Minor Astronomical Event

Chapter XIV: Neptune

  1. Bird's-Eye View
  2. Da Capo
  3. Slow Conquest

Chapter XV: The Last Men

  1. Introduction to the Last Human Species
  2. Childhood and Maturity
  3. A Racial Awakening
  4. Cosmology

Chapter XVI: The Last of Man

  1. Sentence of Death
  2. Behaviour of the Condemned
  3. Epilogue
  • Afterword by Doris Lessing
  • Time Scales
Full title Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author) and Adam Roberts (introduction)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publisher series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2012
Original publication year 1935
ISBN 978-0-575-07224-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 208
Synopsis

John Wainwright is born several months late, a seemingly normal child who, it's quickly discovered, is anything but. His mental powers are off the charts, and he learns at a tremendous rate. As a consequence of all this accelerated mentation, his physical body's maturation is severely hampered such that by age 16 he looks like a ten-year-old.

As John learns quickly, he very soon becomes bored with whatever object is holding his attention. For instance, he soon tires of language:

It had ceased to be a new art, and had become merely a useful means of communication, to be extended and refined only as new spheres of experience came within his ken and demanded expression.

The novel follows him throughout his life, narrated by a free-lance journalist friend of his. The book proposes to be published long after the events contained in it. In fact, the end of the novel is flatly stated in the first chapter (but not to worry, I won't spoil it; I'll let Stapledon do that).

Much of the novel is spent ruminating on what it means to be superhuman (they call themselves supernormals and Homo superior). From our narrator's perspective, many of Odd John's actions seem flat out amoral, and even though John can't properly explain the situation to the narrator (for the simple reason that John's logic is superior to his), one nevertheless is left with a feeling that maybe John is right.

Review

I immensely enjoyed this novel. It's really interesting to follow John through his life, and Stapledon does a wonderful job of conveying the various parts of John's life to us, through a sympathetic and competent narrator. I have only one complaint: The latter parts of the book are about John's voyages around the world to find fellow-supernormals to populate and keep his Colony running. I wish this part comprised more of the book, as I think those chapters were the most interesting. Nevertheless, I can thoroughly recommend it!

Images Back of Odd John.Spine of Odd John.Front of Odd John.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • I John and the Author
  • II The First Phase
  • III Enfant Terrible
  • IV John and his Elders
  • V Thought and Action
  • VI Many Inventions
  • VII Financial Ventures
  • VIII Scandalous Adolescence
  • IX Methods of a Young Anthropologist
  • X The World's Plight
  • XI Strange Encounters
  • XII John in the Wilderness
  • XIII John Seeks his Kind
  • XIV Engineering Problems
  • XV Jacqueline
  • XVI Adlan
  • XVII Ng-Gunko and Lo
  • XVIII The Skid's First Voyage
  • XIX The Colony is Founded
  • XX The Colony in Being
  • XXI The Beginning of the End
  • XXII The End
Full title Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord [permalink]
Language English
Authors Olaf Stapledon (author) and Graham Sleight (introduction)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Novel and science fiction
Publisher series SF Masterworks
Publication year 2010
Original publication year 1944
ISBN 978-0-575-09942-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Online version Link
Pages 194
Images Back of Sirius.Spine of Sirius.Front of Sirius.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  1. First Meeting
  2. The Making of Sirius
  3. Infancy
  4. Youth
  5. Sheep-Dog Apprentice
  6. Birth-Pangs of A Personality
  7. Wolf Sirius
  8. Sirius At Cambridge
  9. Sirius And Religion
  10. Experiences in London
  11. Man As Tyrant
  12. Farmer Sirius
  13. The Effects of War
  14. Tan-Y-Voel
  15. Strange Triangle
  16. Plaxy Constripted
  17. Outlaw

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