Human species[ edit ] First Men. Chapters 1—6 The First Men is our own species. Beginning in the early twenty-first century, several increasingly devastating wars take place in Europe, which result in the United States and China becoming the two dominant superpowers on Earth. In the twenty-fourth century, the US and China go to war, and the war concludes with the formation of the First World State.

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The first six years of his life were spent with his parents at Port Said , Egypt. In they moved to West Kirby. Stapledon was awarded a PhD degree in philosophy from the University of Liverpool in and used his doctoral thesis as the basis for his first published prose book, A Modern Theory of Ethics The relative success of Last and First Men prompted him to become a full-time writer.

He wrote a sequel, Last Men in London , and followed it up with many more books of both fiction and philosophy. During the war Stapledon become a public advocate of J. In he became involved with the anti-apartheid movement. After a week of lectures in Paris, he cancelled a projected trip to Yugoslavia and returned to his home in Caldy, where he died very suddenly of a heart attack. His widow and their children scattered his ashes on the sandy cliffs overlooking the Dee Estuary , a favourite spot of his that features in more than one of his books.

Stapledon Wood, on the south-east side of Caldy Hill , is named after him. It is filled with protagonists who are tormented by the conflict between their "higher" and "lower" impulses.

Lewis , [15] Vernor Vinge , [16] John Maynard Smith [17] and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction. The "supermind" composed of many individual consciousnesses forms a recurring theme in his work. Star Maker contains the first known description of what are now called Dyson spheres.

Freeman Dyson credits the novel with giving him the idea, even stating in an interview that "Stapledon sphere" would be a more appropriate name. Some commentators have called Stapledon a Marxist, although Stapledon distanced himself from the label.

Last and First Men, a "future history" of 18 successive species of humanity, and Star Maker, an outline history of the Universe, were highly acclaimed by figures as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges , J. Wells in their correspondence. He wrote many non-fiction books on political and ethical subjects, in which he advocated the growth of "spiritual values", which he defined as those values expressive of a yearning for greater awareness of the self in a larger context "personality-in-community".


Olaf Stapledon



Last and First Men


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