Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sombre vision from a master of perspective, 18 Jun 2007
This review is from: Last And First Men (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Ever wondered where our species is heading? Onwards and upwards towards a glorious future? Or hurtling down into an abyss of our own short-sighted making?

In the dark days of the early twentieth century, Stapledon wrestled with these issues and advanced a plausible, thought-provoking and measured interpretation of our evolution over the next two billion years. This is not Star Trek and the universe of the galaxy spanning empire. Rather this is a universe constrained by physics and the sheer magnitude of the distances involved: a universe where triumph and disaster are treated as long term travel companions rather than the impostors of Kipling.

Would I recommend it? Well that depends on the reader and what they are looking for. If you're after an exciting story, perhaps it would be better to look elsewhere.

But if you're interested in the slow march of time Stapledon advances something very different and, for me, truly extraordinary here ... a view of the future that is both spectacular in its breadth and heart wrenching in its final conclusion. You won't be excited and gripped by the pace and challenge. But something else is at work here. Something subtle, perspective shifting and ultimately moving. It's a gentle opera with deep themes and the ability to place our own worldview into a very different context....

And I first read it as a child twenty years ago ... and it still echoes today. How many books can do that?
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4.2 out of 5 stars (40 customer reviews)
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