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Odd John / Sirius [Paperback]

Olaf Stapledon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.82
Price: 8.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Odd John / Sirius + Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Last And First Men (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Price For All Three: 20.61

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Product details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (1 Jun 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486211339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486211336
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Odd John / Sirius Two of the finest future histories ever written, each concerning a central question: If and when a superior being is introduced into a culture, how will either survive? Full description

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STEPPENDOG 6 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Until 2002 Sirius was the only thing by Stapledon I had read. Now with Last and First Men, Star Maker, Nebula Maker and Odd John, plus a good few more years, behind me, it means a lot more to me. Like his author, the dog with an equal-to-human brain is one of a kind, but the main theme is Stapledon's familiar tragic theme of the futile destruction of what intellect, mind and spirit can achieve. This is a Stapledon story with some very unfamiliar ingredients like characters and humour. It may be the strangest love story ever, but it's a love story all right, and a harrowing one. This time he is not looking directly into the mind of the Creator, but the religious professionals get it in the neck from him, in his gentlemanly way, particularly on pp 249/250. This strikes a chord with me. At a recent college reunion I attended a service for which 'unctuous and complacently servile' would have been an excellent description. If there is a Creator, to behave to him in this manner seemed to me to be verging on blasphemous, and I was relieved to get out before a thunderbolt struck. 'Find your calling...or be damned' may be an important message of this book, but the forces of futility may get you whether you do or not.
Bertrand Russell has a story that Macaulay never spoke until the age of 6, when hot tea was spilled over him at a children's party and he reassured his fussing hostess with 'Thankyou madam, the agony is abated'. The early story of Odd John Wainwright, the son of slightly eccentric and mildly talented parents, started by reminding me of this, but I knew I would soon have to take it seriously. Odd John is a superhuman and he knows it. He is not cruel or evil, but like the Star Maker he has more important priorities than, say, human life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Wonderful Novels 20 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Odd John usually gets all the attention, but Sirius is the more moving and beautiful of the two books. In some ways, it's also more daring. But I suppose it's unfair to compare, especially since both novels are well worth reading. I think that Sirius is one of the two best books ever written about a dog (the other being My Dog Tulip).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that is still way ahead of its time. 8 Dec 1997
By A Customer
Odd John is one of those books that you never forget. It is the odd biography of someone called John and his struggle to find himself. This struggle is made all the more difficult because John is not like the rest of us. Perhaps the best that can be said of him is that he is more human than the rest of us. His joys are brighter and his pain is deeper. This may be one of the first books that talk about what it means to be a "superman" and it is certainly the best. There are many hauntingly beautiful and a few terrible visions in this work that you will not forget, This book is a deep spring from which many subsequent works have sprung. It should be better known. If you enjoyed Childhood's End by Arthur C Clark or Stranager in A Strange Land by Robert Heinlien then find the source ... read this book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of genius 24 May 1999
By A Customer
Having just read these two novels for the first time, I feel compelled to add my comments. The most striking thing about these works is the insight they give, through wonderful prose, to the brilliant mind of Stapledon (an example of Homo Superior?). This is sci-fi at its most mind-expanding, with wonderful throw-away observations which make you think for hours after (Odd John describes Homo Sapiens as 'an Archaeopteryx of the spirit'). Read and wonder - sci-fi at its very best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of it's time 17 Jun 1997
By A Customer
Olaf Stapledon crafted a novel that was far ahead of it's time in both prose and ideas. When science fiction writers were still fumbling with aliens from mars, Stapledon was examining the nature of humans billions of years into the future. Odd John is one of the first appearances of the so called "second man", humans as we know them being "first men". John is the next evolutionary step and to him, we all seem like apes. Stapledon picked his hero (anti-hero?) perfectly and told it from just the right perspective. One of my favorite books ever.
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