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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book For Any Time
"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...
Published on 29 April 2010 by Dave_42

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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 creation of a utopian galactic society; a meeting with the creator of the universe and the purpose and nature of that creator. The vocabulary used in the book is vast and descriptive...
Published on 21 April 2013 by MiB


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5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering scope and imagination, 14 Sept. 2014
By 
M. Brookes - See all my reviews
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After reading and thoroughly enjoying Last and First Men I had to read this other rated classic by Olaf Stapledon and I was not disappointed. If the scope of the first book was staggering then this book blows that away by several orders of magnitude. In this book he turns away from the history (both past and yet to come) of the human race and examines the possibilities for life on first an interstellar, then galactic and finally on a universal scale.

On scope and imagination alone this is a fascinating read, but delving deeper there are some brilliant ideas which kept me glued to the pages. Unfortunately it's not an easy read. While it does contain the character of the narrator and encounters with other individuals this isn't story that simply follows the events of the plot. This is more an exploration of ideas, although I would say that it's a little less dry than the author's earlier work.

It suffers from a few other issues. The most obvious is the gulf of understanding that has changed since this book was written. Some of the science is very outdated (as you would expect) and while it is noticeable it doesn't undermine the scope of thought the book invokes. Although I did find the repeated assertions that something was beyond human understanding a little tiresome.

Another issue for me was the last section. I'm actually in conflicted opinion about this section as it stands very different from the bulk of the book. On one hand it's an excellent modern (ish!) take on Paradise Lost (which is my favourite story of all time) while on the other the nature of the Star Maker is at odds with the more scientific leanings of the earlier chapters.

It's a difficult book to rate as I can see why people would struggle with it. However based on the ideas that it inspired in me while I was reading and the outstanding journey it took me on I would say that this easily deserves its classic status. It's one not just for science fiction fans but anyone that holds an interest in life and its place in the universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome: ADJECTIVE, extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe, 4 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
The synopses of Science Fiction books these days often refer to breathtaking scope, epic breadth of imagination and grand visions. It's almost a cliche and doesn't really mean anything because this kind of reference has just become a generic term used to make a novel sound good. I think this novel is truly deserving of such a description, because it attempts to take a look at the meaning of life itself.

The perspective of the writer is from the build-up to the second world war and he tries to explore societies to understand their warring behaviours. Then the novel moves beyond this petty behavioural characteristic and moves on to try and understand the nature of people, societies, worlds and beyond as subjects of their environment, psychologies and biologies. He explores concepts of motivation and its relationship with evolution, self improvement, exploration, introspection, community, symbioses and specialisation.

This novel is quite hard going as it is so rich with challenging concepts. I read the first third, and then completed the novel by using a free trial to Audible and listened to it on my phone. I would really recommend consuming this book in that way. It went from being a novel that I knew was good, but found difficult to find time to read, to an audio book that I listened to at every available opportunity.

Definitely one to read before you die. Also, the questions it asks and explores are truly valuable to ones own daily life and considerations of ambition, friendships, motivation, challenges, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride, 3 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Having greatly enjoyed Stapledon's Last And First Men, I had high expectations for this novel, generally regarded as its larger, more sophisticated sequel. Well, needless to say, I was not let down!

Where Last And First Men takes the reader on a temporal journey - from Olaf's present day, through the evolution of the human race, right into its far flung future - Star Maker adds a spatial dimension, as the protagonist's disembodied being hurtles through galaxies at beyond the speed of light, only to stop by strange (but more often than not, weirdly recognisable) planets, where he observes the inhabitants' various societies and ways of life. His aim, however, is to discover something greater: the source of the universe itself - the Star Maker. As noted by other reviewers, the conclusion, where our protaginist takes great joy in describing the Star Maker and his creations, is one of the most powerful, awe inspiring passages you're ever likely to read, and is well worth the purchase price alone.

This is so much more than Sci-Fi. The book teems with philosophy, biology, quantum physics, psychology, spiritualism, sociology... it is an absolute treat, and although some of Stapledon's 'predictions' of extra-terrestrial life might now seem clichéed (much like his cringeworthy prediction of late 20th Century politics in Last And First Men) this by no means detracts from an utterly excellent novel, jam-packed with imagination and poignancy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars imaginitive, well written, but not involving, 28 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a proper electronic edition of the book - it looks more like a hastily done scan & OCR job, 27 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Star Maker (Kindle Edition)
The one star rating is not for the book itself, but for the quality of this ebook. This is not a proper electronic edition of the book - it looks more like a hastily done scan & OCR job. The paper page numbers are embedded in text, the formatting is completely off, and you can even see Calibre logo on a title page! I find this absolutely disgraceful, and fail to understand how a publisher could such a release.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most idea rich books I have read, 29 Nov. 2012
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This is a book of ideas about intelligent life and humanity; the tiny pettiness of individuals and what we could be. Stapledon writes beautifully, in my opinion, however I can see how many find his style and use of lexis difficult (especially if you aren't fascinated by his ideas). He has a PhD in philosophy and this comes across in his writing, this is not a a fast paced action novel and certainly doesn't read like a standard novel (neither does his other great work "the first and last of men"). He uses the freedom of writing fiction to keep the ideas coming thick and fast without becoming bogged down in justifying them.

I cannot recommend this book more highly, it is not just a sci-fi novel, it's a book which will really make you think about the infinite, fragile, futures of humanity. There's a reason why so many of his so many of his contemporaries (many who have made huge cultural impacts) rate him so highly, you owe it to yourself to find out why.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ORIGINAL space odyssey, 19 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This , if not the best book I've ever read, is certainly the most breathtakingly imaginative. Stapledon's vision of a galaxy populated by sentient stars, and a psychically linked galactic community was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever read. The only book that I can think that matches it for sheer imaginative force is Iain M. Banks' "Feersum Endjinn". It's like a kind of epic poem. A wonderful book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening book., 19 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Star Maker is the best book I have ever read. And with only three (four after this one) reviews here it must be the least recognised of the great works.
Star Maker is fascinating. It is a modern myth of epic proportions, covering the entirety of everything, yet it remains lucid and comprehensible.
When I finished reading Star Maker for the first time, I felt Enlightened. It is the seed for much of my ponderings, and evidently was the seed from which much of modern science fiction has grown.
Olaf Stapledon has enriched us (humanity) with his work. Star Maker comes with my highest recommendations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do you lack a sense of perspective?, 15 May 2015
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This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Maybe life seems pointless, worthless. Maybe the current political and social debates seem meaningless and fleeting. Is there a God? Is there meaning to the universe? If there is a god, why is there evil in the universe? If you think these debates are a bit hackneyed, a bit stale, then you could very well be ready for the glorious roller-coaster ride of thrills spills and excitement that is Olaf Stapledon's STAR MAKER...

Guaranteed to give you a sense of perspective, a view of the infinite universe in which Earth and human existence is nothing but an infinitesimal speck--and yet, that doesn't matter! we're all part of the cosmic mind!--and then tell you it's nothing but a crude myth.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, 4 Aug. 2001
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Good old Olaf only wrote brilliant books and this is the 'brilliantest'! It's impossible to overstate the importance of this book's influence on science fiction, or the sense of wonder it imparts to its readers. The man should have had a Nobel Prize for this; instead he wallows in obscurity. Read it, and read everything else he wrote too, before it goes out of print for another ten years.
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Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Star Maker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Olaf Stapledon (Paperback - 11 Nov. 1999)
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