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Star Maker [Unknown Binding]

William Olaf Stapledon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Methuen (1937)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017ZXCHU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,325,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book For Any Time 29 April 2010
By Dave_42
"Star Maker", by Olaf Stapledon, is an incredible novel by an author whose contributions to science fiction are unique and serve as inspiration to many of the greatest works in the field. It was Stapledon's fourth novel and was first published in 1937. Narrated by the same voice as narrated "Last and First Men" the novel is a sequel of sorts, but at the same time it has a much larger scope and thus there is no noticeable overlap between the two novels. As with "Last and First Men", "Star Maker" is not a conventional novel, so if that is what you are looking for, you should look elsewhere. It is a philosophical journey rather than a conventional story with a traditional plot and characters.

The narrator takes the reader on a journey through the universe and through time, starting on a hill near his home, and ultimately finding the creator of the universe, i.e. the Star Maker. He witnesses the entire life of the universe, and joins with many other minds from other civilizations throughout the galaxy. It is tempting to use phrases like "for its time" when describing this book, but it is a remarkable work for any time. I am sure that some of descriptions of civilizations and their scientific achievements would change if it were written today. However, the statement that the book makes would likely remain the same.

One does not need to read "Last and First Men" (or "Last Men in London" for that matter) to read this novel. The few remarks made in the narration that reference "Last and First Men" will not cause the reader any difficulty. They pass by almost unnoticed, as the reader's focus is on the amazing scope and vision which are contained in this novel. Stapledon's works are not the easiest reads, but they are well worth the effort.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars imaginitive, well written, but not involving 28 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this because it got such good reviews as an iconic book. It is about a chap who stands on a hillside contemplating our little world and finds himself projected through space and time to many different worlds, experiencing the beginning and end of galaxies, meeting the Starmaker, creator of everything. It's well written: "One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out onto the hill" - and good descriptions of the separate/close symbiosis of a longterm marriage. It's certainly imaginative: thought provoking descriptions of many kinds of intelligent beings, their societies and the rise and fall of their civilisations. Full of insight. Like travelling in a country where they do things differently: broadens the mind. But ultimately not involving, just endless descriptions and broad overviews of the evolution of many different species and of the universe itself. I got bored with the deluge of information and started skipping through it after a while.
I'll try his "First and Last Men" as I have already bought it and as it is more well known. Sometime, on some holiday.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely amazing work. Stunning. 25 Nov 2007
This is truly an amazing book. How is this man so little known? How ironic it is that this edition is published as one of the "Science Fiction Masterworks"; it is no more science-fiction than the Bible, or Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It is the profoundest book I have read this year and probably for several years.
"Star Maker" is nothing less than an attempt to unite science and religion in a common philosophy. It is categorised as a novel, which says more about the frustrations of those who love and need categories than it does about this book. It is not a novel: it is a work of great imagination, a courageous attempt at an almost incredible task - to try to describe "God". It is also very uncompromising and will leave many readers uncomfortable and perhaps even angry. But at the same time its vision is so beautiful, and so clearly touches on the incomprehensible truth of reality, that you can't help feeling grateful, humbled, and shattered at the same time.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard to treat with scepticism 11 Dec 2001
I have to say that when i first started reading this book, i wasn't that impressed by the first couple of chapters. With its slightly antiquated style and perhaps slightly overlong monologues it felt like reading something like Edward Bellamy's 'looking backward'...This was especially the case as I had just read a Phillip K. Dick novel. However, the sheer imaginative scope of this text is phenomenal, an examination of important philosophical themes such as the ability to comprehend the possible purpose of God (the 'Star Maker') masquerading as a mythological history of the universe. When people refer to any novel as influential, what they seem to mean is that the text captures in its form and function the drift of ideas and concepts at any one time and space. In its treatment of God and the potential (in)significance of humanity, Stapledon's novel certainly is that. Should probably one day be studied at school, where children will marvel at a time when writers were more ambitiuous.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Philospohical Journey 15 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This book, though for me revolutionary, has not received a lot of the recognition I believe it is worthy of. Firstly, it explores many factors now taken for granted in postmodern fiction, e.g. dislocation, divided selves and a sense of 'numbed' perception. Furthermore, like Frank Herbert and Douglas Adams he is able to weave these themes into the narrative, whilst still maintaining a sense of coherence.
He stays within the confines of the science-fiction genre, yet deals with complex and arbitrary issues which blend philosophy and a deep questioning of cultural values. Comparisons with H.G. Wells and John Wyndham are permissible, but it is his use of philosophy that makes me admire him as a great writer. I have yet to find a writer who has the ability to question so much, yet still maintain an aura of intelligibility.
Clearly, this book is a whirlwind trip and yet one worth taking since this is no ordinary author. He may have gained greater recognition for many of his other books, yet it is this book that gives so much to the reader without taking anything away. You may question what he describes to you, but you will not be able to question his ability to tell it to you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Ideas
Stapledon's imagination is amazing. Apart from everything else, this is an important novel as regards the use of telepathy and similar powers in science fiction.
Published 2 days ago by S. C. Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars ramblings of a mad man (my review that is 😁)
I read some good reviews for this book,so I bought it straight away.I have read a few of these sf masterworks.Anyway,was bit to far fetched... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr G
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome: ADJECTIVE, extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe
The synopses of Science Fiction books these days often refer to breathtaking scope, epic breadth of imagination and grand visions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ian
4.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic 'Gulliver's Travels'
I had already read this month’s book-group choice, so accepted the librarian’s offer of the second choice for personal reading: Olaf Stapledon’s much praised, seminal ‘Star Maker’. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bobbie
2.0 out of 5 stars A rambling text that could have been so much more
I really wanted to like this book, as I like novels with big ideas, and this novel promises ideas on a cosmological scale. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tommy
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative masterpiece
This book is an outstanding expression of human imagination that here reaches every corner of the universe, in any time, following the material and spiritual evolution of all its... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Barabeke
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a story but a description
A stunning book not easy to read (partly because of the translation??) but stick with it. You will see almost every sci fi story and film you have ever read or seen in here.
Published 13 months ago by Dr. Michael J. Atkins
2.0 out of 5 stars No Enjoyment
This book is a mix of science, religion and anthopology. Is imaginative scope is astounding, describing a fictional journey through the history and future of the cosmos; the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by MiB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great SciFi
This book is the antithesis of most science fiction writing being more a thought provoker than an exciting tale of derring do. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr M Lunt
4.0 out of 5 stars NB spoiler alert
The intro gives away parts of the story but if you ignore or avoid this it is a cracking read.
Published 19 months ago by Bigsis
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