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Odd John and Sirius Paperback – June 1, 1972
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About the Author
A preeminent figure of British science fiction, Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) wrote several influential novels. Praised by H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Virginia Woolf, Stapledon's works introduced such innovative concepts as genetic engineering and terraforming.
Top Customer Reviews
John is a terribly precocious and at first frighteningly amoral child born to only modestly intelligent parents. With time, he learns to master his superhuman intelligence and develop telepathic powers which allow him to find others of his kind. By the end of the book, he and his band of superhuman mutants are trying to create a new civilization on an isolated island.
This is an early novel, and to some extent it shows. A lot of Stapledon's views of what a highly intelligent creature would be like and do with his time seem awfully cliched today; there are odd parallels with Stapledon's thinking and some current-day "New Age" thinking. But it may be that _Odd John_ created those cliches! Stapledon was an immensely influential writer in 1930s Britain.
Wonderful Trivia: The copyright for Odd John is held by George Pal . . . the filmmaker who brought us the movie versions of "The Time Machine" and "War of the Worlds." Forrey Ackerman told me that Pal had hopes and plans to film _Odd John._ Oh, what might have been!
_Sirius_, written during World War II and published in 1944, is a far more mature and insightful work. It is also a really _sad_ book . . . a genuine tragedy.
As the title suggests, it's about a dog; a mastiff / alsatian / border collie mix with a brain enlarged by _in utero_ hormone treatments. Sirius is as smart as an above-average human, but with the senses and instincts of a dog.
Sirius' life is not easy, despite having loving "step parents" and siblings. The novel follows his childhood and education in Wales, his experiences as an anonymous social observer in 1940s London, and his career as a sheep farmer.Read more ›
Bertrand Russell has a story that Macaulay never spoke until the age of 6, when hot tea was spilled over him at a children's party and he reassured his fussing hostess with 'Thankyou madam, the agony is abated'. The early story of Odd John Wainwright, the son of slightly eccentric and moderately talented parents, started by reminding me of this, but I knew I would soon have to take it seriously. Odd John is a superhuman and he knows it. He is not cruel or evil, but like Stapledon's Star Maker he has more important priorities than, say, human life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'll leave the story details to other reviewers and will say that why you should read Stapeldon and what you should know about him is that he influenced Stanislaw Lem. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Glowacki
I was directed to this book when some found out I was an avid SF reader.
I don't get it.
The book almost seems to be a writing exercise for an English major. Read more
I have, since my teens, been a big fan of Stapledon's cosmic novels _Last and First Men_ and _Star Maker_ - the scale of the latter being the grandest of any novel I have ever... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
The book is well written for that time era, which I like, however the story of Odd John is boring. Philosophical for sure but not my taste. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David E. Aeh
Here is another bitchy review by Doug's wife Wendy Busby. These were the same book. The same theme, the same philosophy,the same story line.I am a Dog lover. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Wendy Busby
Stapledon wrote in the 1930's and 1940's, so his writing is somewhat dated, but good of its kind. However, it's not quite up to his masterpieces, "Last and First Men" and... Read morePublished on January 14, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The editors of this volume have had a brilliant idea; both stories may be read as a pair of Plutarch's "Parallel Lives".
They have many traits in common. Read more
In this pair of novels Stapledon treats two related sci-fi ideas: a mutant superman, and an animal endowed with human intelligence. Read morePublished on March 4, 2010 by Charlesbalpha