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Odd John (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 8 Mar 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (8 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575072245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575072244
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The book that gave the world the term Homo superior.

From the Back Cover

Introduction by Adam Roberts

John Wainwright is a freak, a human mutation with an extraordinary intelligence which is both awesome and frightening to behold. Ordinary humans are mere playthings to him. And Odd John has a plan - to create a new order on Earth, a new supernormal species. But the world is not ready for such a change . . .

Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950)

Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and Liverpool University, Olaf Stapledon worked for a shipping office in Liverpool and Port Said before returning to lecture at Liverpool University. His books included the SF classics Last and First Men and Star Maker.

'Stapledon is the great classical example . . . the ultimate SF writer' Brian Aldiss

'Olaf Stapledon was one of the most creative thinkers of our time' Greg Bear

978 0 575 07224 4
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scientific experiments gone awry, cosmic accidents, super aliens from Krypton or Valhalla - these seems to be the standard superhero formulae. But what about genetic or evolutionary mutation? "Yea, that's called 'The X-Men', you knuckle- head." OK fair enough. But still. Their superpowers remain for the most part of the garden-variety comic book type, since that's where they come from. It takes a novel to see further. A novel like this.

John Wainwright doesn't look like a superhero. He has bulging eyes, a big brow and the features of a foetus. People who look at him are both repulsed and fascinated. He uses his looks as a test of character, other people's character that is. He is beyond testing.

John Wainwright doesn't act like a superhero. He kills a policeman among others. He has affairs with both genders and with his own mother (probably). He bullies others to learn about them and himself, like a scientist conducting experiments with rats. He isn't weighed down with an overwhelming sense of responsibility because of his great gifts. His most usual response is to laugh.

John Wainwright doesn't think like a superhero. He is a maths prodigy, an inventor, he uses his brain. He philosophises; he cares about 'spirituality'. He does not care about homo sapiens, either to rule or destroy us. He is 'homo superior' and only cares about his own kind.

John Wainwright doesn't have powers like a superhero. Oh yes, there's the telepathy, the telekinesis, and assorted psi abilities. But before all this, he has total control over his own psychological and physiological responses. He reads books like other kids drink milkshakes. He can learn a foreign language in two weeks. He composes music that no-one else can appreciate...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The other reviews describe this book very well, so I won't go over the same points.

I am working my way through the SF Masterworks collection and this is up there with the best of them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written and an interesting story to boot. This predates the X men and yet it features homo Superior! Olaf Stapledon is a consummate professional in writing good quality sci-fi that although it was written more than half a century ago still has themes and ideas that can captivate the reader. Great Book!
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Format: Paperback
Anyone familiar with the notion of Darwins theory of evolution, in that improvements to species depend on mutations, will enjoy this novel. Also, anyone familiar with the recent X-Men First Class film will find similarities. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that this is the very first X-Men story and John can be seen as a prototype Professor Xavier. In this and his other books Stapleden is asking where man as a species is heading. How will he evlove? What will he achieve? This story attempts to focus on what would happen if evolution gave rise to a superior being and how that person(s) would regard the lesser specied of Homo Sapien.
John sees us as we see the chimps in the zoo. He has a fondness for individuals but is unable to see himself as part of the race. This leads to acts of violence which we would see as morally wrong but he sees as justified in order to protect himself and his own kind.
His own kind... yes, he does find more. This becomes his calling and after putting his incredible intelligence to work to build a nuclear powered yacht and plane (well, sort of nuclear) he travels the globe seeking beings with similar powers. Like Professor X he is a telepath and uses this to track them down - just like Prof X does in the film. I do think there is a bit of plagarism going on here but I have been entertained by both so I am not bothered.
This is a good book to read if you are an X-Men fan or simply interested in mans next step along the path of evolution.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stands the test of time.
Well written and imaginative. Cleverly thought out.
Leaves lots for the reader to fill in.

Enjoyed this thoroughly.
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