Last and First Men/Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon PDFThis review is only for Last and First Men as I have not yet read Star Maker.
Last and First Men
4.0 stars. WOW, this book is in a class all by itself for originality, imagination and scope. I can not believe I have not heard more about this book as being one of the true "classics" of science fiction. Written in the 1930's, this is a future history that tells the story of mankind over a span of 2 billion years (yes billion with a B) from 1930 until approximately the year 2,000,000,000. During that period humanity evolves through what Olaf describes as 18 different species of men (our present being the "First Men" of the title). Through those 18 iterations, we see everything from giant-brained "superminds" to genetically-engineered supermen to aquatic fishmen and much, much more.
The reason that the book, for all its amazing inventiveness, does not get 5 stars is because the narrative, at times, can be very, very dry. The detailed descriptions of each successive species of humanity and the trials and tribulations that befall them can become a bit tedious. Thus, there were times when I was not enjoying myself as much as I would have liked, despite being in almost constant awe of the writer's imangination.
However, despite that crticism, this is a book that I strongly recommend to all fans of science fiction as many of the ideas and concepts found in modern science fiction found their first true expression in this amazing futrue history. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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