- Paperback: 438 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1968)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486219623
- ISBN-13: 978-0486219622
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 180 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Last and First Men and Star Maker : Two Science Fiction Novels Paperback – June 1, 1968
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The Millennium Edition does warn readers about this rewrite in a small preface, but I didn't see the warning until after I'd bought the book. I hadn't thought I would need to check samples of the book to make sure I was getting what I wanted. I realize that I wrote a glowing review of The Night Land: A Story Retold, but there's a difference. The Night Land's original style was almost unreadable. (I tried. I tried so hard.) The Night Land: A Story Retold warned you *right in the title* of what you were getting. And The Night Land: A Story Retold may have removed several of the author's philosophical points, mostly having to do with Edwardian beliefs about gender roles persisting so far into the future that the Sun had gone out, but it didn't take a socialist writer's work and rewrite it to say that human civilization essentially collapsed because people refused to attempt to economically succeed on their own and fell into a leisure-induced society-wide coma, which is the impression one gets from the rewritten first chapter.
Long story short, I'd have appreciated more warning of the rewrite and what it entailed.
One thing that surprised me is how specific some of the answers to these big questions get toward the end. It's not just some vague notion of the "unified spirit," it's much more detailed than that. I suspect that not all readers will like these answers, but I found them to be compelling and fascinating possibilities.
I also think this is a must read for any sci-fi fan. It was first published in 1937, at the dawn of sci-fi's Golden Age, making the ideas expressed all the more impressive and important. The final pages of the book tie its themes back to what was happening in Europe when it was written, which I found brilliant and poignant at the same time.
One technical note: apostrophes appear as "f"s and quotation marks appear as "g"s and "h"s in the Kindle version. This was not a problem for me once I got used to it, but if that sort of thing bothers you, you might want to get the paperback.
It's a mythical auto-biography by the ultimate Explorer of all time and all places. An Explorer who's been there, done that and seen it all. Marc O'Polo, James Cook and Neil Armstrong never left their cribs in comparison. But they were real explorers and Stapledon is not. He is surreal, Franz Kafka & Philip K. Dick on galactical steroids. Dante cubed. Stapledon has gone places where nobody before him or after him, ever has visited.
The story is narrated in first person but seen thru the "eyes" of millions of cosmic creatures, the cosmical mind. The narrative is about an agnostic traveler who in the end meets god, a dark lord, the Star Maker, and come back dumbfounded, disheartened and disillusioned but at peace. At the time, the traveler tells his story, he has lost his cosmical powers of observation and understanding and bewildered stammers out the mythical tale of his cosmic explorations. It's amazing and stunning.
This book is not for the faint-hearted or easily tiring reader. There is little or no conventional action, it's no page turner. It is still 5-star.
This is a purely a descriptive tale with a plot; rather, there is a progression to the ever more complex that represents Stapledon's attempts at grasping the consciousnesses of an infinite being who has the powers of tweaking basic laws of nature.