by Olaf StapledonLast & First Men: A Story of the Near & Far Future is a future history sf novel written in 1930 by British author Olaf Stapledon. A genre work of unprecedented scale, it describes history from the present onwards across two billion years & 18 distinct human species, of which our own is the most primitive. Its conception of history is based on the Hegelian dialectic, following a repetitive cycle with many varied civilizations rising from & descending back into savagery over millions of years, but it's also one of progress, as later civilizations rise to far greater heights than the 1st. The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering & is an early example of the fictional supermind; consciousness composed of telepathically-linked individuals. In 1932, he followed Last & First Men with the less acclaimed Last Men in London. His other great novel, Star Maker (1937), may also be considered a sequel, but is even more ambitious in scope, being a history of the entire universe.
Last Men in London (1932) is a sf novel by Stapledon. The narrator is the same member of the 18th & final human species who purportedly induced him to write Last & First Men. Last Men in London is the story of this being's exploration of the consciousness of a present-day Englishman named Paul, from childhood thru service with an ambulance crew in the WWI (mirroring Stapledon's own personal history) to adult life as a schoolteacher faced with a "submerged superman" in his class nicknamed Humpty. The inadequacies of Paul's character, the various dilemmas he has to face during his life & the occasional influence of the advanced being who shares his experiences, provide a semi-autobiographical platform on which to expound philosophical & moral beliefs.
|Title||Last and First Men/Last Men in London|
|eBook format||Paperback, (torrent)|
|Publisher||Penguin Books, Inc. (Baltimore)|
|File size||6 Mb|
|Book rating||3.86 (7 votes)