Monday, 29 June 2009

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon


One of the most extraordinary, imaginative and ambitious novels of the century: a history of the evolution of humankind over the next 2 billion years. Among all science fiction writers Olaf Stapledon stands alone for the sheer scope and ambition of his work. First published in 1930, Last and First Men is full of pioneering speculations about evolution, terraforming, genetic engineering and many other subjects.


To be honest this tale whilst considered a modern classic is very difficult to get into. Perhaps it’s due to the times in which it was written (1930.) Whilst dated by modern standards the book is considered to be Stapledon’s best tale with the idea’s and concepts having inspired others to dream. By modern standard’s it is clunky although the idea’s are well executed in the antiquated language within. Definitely a book to try however don’t be surprised if it takes a few goes to finally hit that last page but you’ll find the effort well worth the time as you can see how other authors have been inspired by this modern great.

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