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Last And First Men (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 10 Jun 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (10 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185798806X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857988062
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Olaf Stapledon's first novel Last and First Men, published in 1930, has sometimes been called science fiction's Bible--a sweeping, exhilarating history of humanity's future. Its awesome timescale, stretching across five billion years, was an inspiration to the young Arthur C. Clarke, who later wrote: "No book before or since ever had such an impact on my imagination." However, Last and First Men should come with a health warning: The early chapters, dealing with near-future politics from the viewpoint of 1930, are mired in dodgy short-term speculation and have dated badly. Soon Stapledon rings down the curtain on us "First Men" as an uncontrolled nuclear reaction sweeps the world and boils the oceans--and now his imagination takes flight. The Second Men are plagued with invasions of cloud-like Martians; the bat-eared, six-fingered Third Men deliberately create the Fourth Men who are essentially huge, immobile brains ... and so on through ever-vaster gulfs of time. Individuals, nations, civilizations, even species are evocatively shown as mayflies flickering in and out of existence in an immense, chilly cosmos that goes uncaringly on forever. Yet it's not a gloomy work: even as the dying Sun promises to become their funeral pyre, the Last Men affirm that "It is very good to have been man." Another classic choice from Millennium SF Masterworks. --David Langford

About the Author

Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) was born near Liverpool and educated at Balliol College, Oxford and Liverpool University. After spending eighteen months working in a shipping office in Liverpool and Port Said, he lectured extramurally for Liverpool University in English Literature and industrial history. He served in France from 1915 until 1919 with the Friends' Ambulance Unit and then lectured again for Liverpool University in psychology and philosophy. His novels include First and Last Men, Last Men in London, Star Maker and Odd John.

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