Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future

Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future

Last and First Men A Story of the Near and Far Future Last and First Men A Story of the Near and Far Future is a future history science fiction novel written in by the British author Olaf Stapledon A work of unprecedented scale in the genre it desc

  • Title: Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future
  • Author: Olaf Stapledon
  • ISBN: 9781604443578
  • Page: 150
  • Format: Paperback
  • Last and First Men A Story of the Near and Far Future is a future history science fiction novel written in 1930 by the British author Olaf Stapledon A work of unprecedented scale in the genre, it describes the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first and most primitive StapLast and First Men A Story of the Near and Far Future is a future history science fiction novel written in 1930 by the British author Olaf Stapledon A work of unprecedented scale in the genre, it describes the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first and most primitive Stapledon s conception of history is based on the Hegelian Dialectic, following a repetitive cycle with many varied civilizations rising from and descending back into savagery over millions of years, but it is also one of progress, as the later civilizations rise to far greater heights than the first The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering, and is an early example of the fictional supermind a consciousness composed of many telepathically linked individuals A controversial part of the book depicts humans, in the far off future, escaping the dying Earth and settling on Venus in the process totally exterminating its native inhabitants, an intelligent marine species Stapledon s book has been interpreted by some as condoning such interplanetary genocide as a justified act if necessary for racial survival, though a number of Stapledon s partisans denied that such was his intention, arguing instead that Stapledon was merely showing that although mankind had advanced in a number of ways in the future, at bottom it still possessed the same capacity for savagery as it has always had.

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      Published :2019-08-07T11:27:01+00:00

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    "Last and First Men" has been a unique experience. It teaches and entertains, not by presenting the reader with facts, but by serving him and her with a broad range of possibilities that don't only open the eyes but also the mind.On a basic level, the experience was very pleasant because of the imaginative power of Olaf Stapledon. His imagination is second to none. The images he conjures up provided me with the biggest spectacle I've ever seen, and that I can hope to see in the future. A single [...]

    Rating: 1/2* of fiveI cried "uncle" on p59 of this book, which was part of a group read on LibraryThing; it was written in 1930 or so, it's true, but nothing as ephemeral as passing time can excuse the line:A century after the founding of the first world state a rumour began to be heard in China about the supreme secret of scientific religion, the awful mystery of Gordelpus, by means of which it should be possible to utilize the energy locked up in the opposition of proton and electron.*buzz* yo [...]

    Stapledon tells you the story of the human race, starting now and ending with its demise, well over a billion years in the future. People change in all sorts of unexpected ways; during some periods, they have godlike intelligence, during others they aren't even sentient any more. The book has obvious flaws, but there's just nothing else like it. Some of the images are impossible to forget.Despite the fact that it's not very well known (none of my 115 GR friends have it on their shelves), an impr [...]

    Last and First Men: The ultimate vision of man’s evolution(Posted at Fantasy Literature)Olaf Stapledon's vision of mankind's entire future history until the end is profound, beautiful, and affecting, and was written way back in 1930. It is unfortunate that this work has not found a wider audience, though it has had a deep influence on many of SF's luminaries, including Arthur C. Clarke, who indicated that this book and its later successor Star Maker were the two most influential books he had e [...]

    4.0 stars. WOW, this book is in a class all by itself for originality, imagination and scope. I can not believe I have not heard more about this book as being one of the true "classics" of science fiction. Written in the 1930's, this is a future history that tells the story of mankind over a span of 2 billion years (yes billion with a B) from 1930 until approximately the year 2,000,000,000. During that period humanity evolves through what Olaf describes as 18 different species of men (our presen [...]

    I'm not gonna lie, folks; of all the books I've tackled so far this year, Last and First Men has been the toughest challenge to my resolve to only read one book at a time. That's not to say it's by any means a bad book; it's part of the SF Masterworks Collection* for very good reasons. It's just that, well, gripping storytelling it ain't.Penned in 1930 by a philosophy professor, Last and First Men is heavy on exposition and all but devoid of character, dialogue or even plot beyond "exploring the [...]

    Eighteen distinct species of human being, that’s what you’re in for with ‘Last and First Men’ (1930). Not all at once of course, I mean it takes two billion years and 300 extraordinary pages from Olaf Stapledon to create this seminal landmark in literary science fiction. In fact this wholly remarkable work is so brave and so audacious in its scope that it leaves you dizzy at the sheer scale of the writer’s triumph of imagination. The early part of the book begins with usual geopolitica [...]

    This is truly an astounding novel, which ambition is to tell the story of mankind from the near future to the end of our species, some two billion years into the future. The beginning of this book can be easily skipped since it's an outdated projection of historical events from the time when Stapledon was writing (around the 1930's). It is when he imagines the distant future of humanity that his fertile imagination starts to take flight.The narrator of this human chronicle is actually one of the [...]

    This is famously one of the classics of science fiction. At the time of its emergence in 1930, its scope and audacity were without precedent. However, it has been thoroughly pillaged by other writers since then, and its themes and tropes are now the everyday stuff of SF. Stapledon was a prophet and perhaps a kind of genius, but Last & First Men is a victim of its own success.Also, it is very much a product of its time. Its physics and cosmology appear naive to us today. At times this works a [...]

    Exploratory, awe-inspiring, existential crisis-inducing.I have never read anything like this. This is a documentary of humanity’s career, spanning from us, homo sapiens, to the last of its descendants some two billion years later. (Actually, I had to refer to the wiki to write this review because for the love of god I cannot remember every single descendent of men – there are a lot of details in this giant book. It’s a great summary for those who want to collect their thoughts after readin [...]

    Although LSD was discovered only in 1938, while this book was published in 1930, "Last and First Men" is just about the trippiest book you'll pick up this side of the white light that ferries you to your next incarnation, unless you read Joyce's "Ulysses" backwards. Either Olaf Stapledon's brain produces endorphins and organo-opiates at an unusually high rate, or else it must be assumed that the writer and his wife maintained a substantial and quite esoteric mushroom garden. Get ready to take th [...]

    A supremely interesting book, without a doubt. Stapledon projects his imagination as far into the future as it can possibly go, beginning with his own time (late 1920s/early 1930s) and slowly taking his readers on a journey that details the rise and fall of civilisations, man's evolution through a dizzying array of ages, climates, evolutions, worldsere are wars, invasions, disasters, triumphs, incredible scientific discoveries. The whole thing is just so fascinating, because while on the surface [...]

    Thatat was hard. It is made up of the dry, textbook material that other authors would show rather than tell, or thunk heavily in a preface or appendix. It has no characters or plot as such, concentrating on the large sweeping trends that become larger and more sweeping as it proceeds, and it periodically dives into issues of national or racial character and motivations rather than actions.Stapledon's vision is undeniable, though a reader today may quibble about overgeneralizations of national ch [...]

    Where's that sixth star when you need it? I am in awe of this book and the mind that produced it. In my youth, I'd spotted this on the shelves in the local bookstore and my curiosity was piqued, but I never got around to reading it. Ah, if only I'd known what lurked inside those covers.Many later titans of Science Fiction, notably Arthur C Clarke, Doris Lessing, Stanislaw Lem, Theodore Sturgeon, cite Stapledon as a key influence. It's easy to see why. Published in 1930, when science fiction as a [...]

    Remarkable book, filled with enough ideas to generate hundreds of SF novels, which it probably has. Its obsession with racial consciousness and its insistence on psychoanalyzing entire civilizations feels dated, very 1930s, as the diction. Most of HG Wells reads like it could've been written last week, but Stapledon you have to imagine in a wool double-breasted suit, eating war time rations, and listening to the BBC on a wooden radio. And the species of human pathology and catastrophe that he in [...]

    One of my favorite books, but definitely not for everybody, Last and First Men is a future history that reads like one. That is, it reads more like a textbook than a novel. The time-scale accelerates as the book progresses, so that subsequent chapters cover centuries and then millennia in a matter of pages. There are no individual characters after the 20th century or so. Truly, it is not a novel, but a philosophical treatise in the speculative mode.There are some errors in Stapledon's science, s [...]

    now this is a tale unlike any other I have read. the scope is absolutely epic, projecting farther into the future than I have ever read. also, the story telling was unique. almost without exception, there was no real character in the story, except perhaps that narrator itself. the way the story is told more closely resembles the style of historians, and even though that makes it pretty dry some of the time, it is definitely appropriate. some of the phases are s little difficult to get into, beca [...]

    Ive been a fan of scifi for a long while now - I read practically everything but scifi is my greatest joy when written well and this one turned out to be the grandfather of them all!I had never even heard of Stapledon or this book before I came across it in my favourite book store and had the good luck of not reading it for months but decided last minute to take it on a recent vacation with me, where I was able to give it due time - and believe me this is a book that needs it. Not madly long, bu [...]

    The vast time-scale of this novel alone is enough to earn it some admiration. Across eighteen different human species and two billion years, Stapledon tells the tale of mankind, starting around the 1930s. Though some of his early ideas proved incorrect, he is surprisingly accurate in his prediction of a polarised global society, in which the cultures of the USA and China are the two rival superpowers. Seemingly by the day, this vision becomes more poignant.However, the 20th or even the 30th cent [...]

    My copy tells me to skip the first 4 chapters all of 70 pages, it's awesome from then on as any outdated repetitive history is deleted 😁Fantastic book not as great as his masterpiece starmaker but almost 😊

    An incredible odyssey, voluntarily focused on the "spirit" of successive human species (wrongly called "races" in the book) rather than particular characters. It mainly works, especially when Stapledon makes an effort to describe the culture of the species he is talking about. Many of his ideas are incredibly prescient for a man in 1932. He predicts the fall of the "first" civilization (ours) due to fossil fuels running out, he describes with a scary accuracy the current political organisation o [...]

    Written in 1930, Last and First Men is unique in my experience of reading science fiction. It is a history book, without characters. The only individuals named in the book, I think, are Socrates, Jesus, Gautama, and Einstein, all of whom live among the First Men.This is the history of the succession of species of men as they evolve over a span of two thousand million years. It describes the rise and fall of eighteen successive human species. Some were actually artificially created by their prede [...]

    One of the most absorbing and thought-provoking novels I have ever had the grand pleasure to read. This is a pure, and devastatingly potent Gnostic experience in prose form; and, without a shadow of a doubt, all copies of 'Last & First Men' should come with a clearly visible health warning: as this journey is certainly NOT for the emotionally squeamish. So, take care eager cosmonauts, as once read, your world view is likely to be altered irrevocably!!! The use of language is sublime, and Mr [...]

    The Last and First Men is considered by many to be a classic in the science-fiction genre, and now that I've finally read it, I understand why.It is an unusual read in that there are no characters to become invested in, aspect I found refreshing, novel, but which may make it difficult for some to connect to the story. It is a futuristic history of Man told from the distant future. It covers two billion years of His existence and evolution, His rise and fall, happening time and again.Despite the [...]

    A remarkable treatise on the present and aspirational fundamentals of human nature and its relation to our place in the cosmos. The scope of this 'novel' is staggering. It chronicles the evolution and relocation of the human race, over the course of 2 billion years, employing a cyclical 'rise and fall' scenario. Leaving aside the visionary and vivid imaginings of our future selves (which in itself justifies reading this masterpiece), the most thought provoking, but ultimately most depressing con [...]

    The scope and imagination of this book are unlike anything else I've read. The only possible exception is Greg Egan's Diaspora, which reads more like a conventional novel, following the paths of a few individual characters. First and Last Men reads like a history of humanity as a whole. Instead of characters, it has nations and species. Stapledon's psychological generalizations about the human race of various times and places cannot help but seem dated, but the dizzying acceleration of the pace [...]

    While reading the first portion of this book, I kept muttering to myself "I expected better".However once the yarn (and boy, it's not a typical antagonist / protagonist yarn by any means!) moved away from any recognizable time-frame, Last and First Men was just brimming with incredible ideas and imaginative extrapolation.I understand now why it is considered a classic. Very impressive.

    Fascinating book. Not so much a story as a flight of imagination on what could be. Very fertile soil for long sessions of pondering over the malleable nature of man and change. Recommended for lovers of ideas more than for lovers of stories. There are no individuals, as the primary protagonist is the entire race of men, in whole.

    I can't believe I read this in a day because it is not an easy one, basically an imagined planetary history spanning over 200 million years. Discussed on the SFF Audio podcast with Jesse.

    Oh OlafDo you ever read a great book and then find yourself thinking - "I don't know what to read next" - "this was so good" - "how will I find another book as satisfying?" The obvious and logical thing to do is to at least try something else by the same author. But it doesn't happen. And then years later, you finally do so and think - "why didn't I read this years ago?" In just such a pathetic way, I got around this summer to the novel Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon, having adored Star Ma [...]

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