Olaf Stapledon

Has anyone read any of his books - Last and First Men, Starmaker, Odd John or Sirius?

I recommend them to anyone aspiring to write SF. His prose can be leaden - but his ideas? Wow! Literary LSD.

Yes, I read Sirius - that was the one about the dog, wasn’t it? Really enjoyed it. There was a TV programme recently which talked in glowing terms about Stapleton and how full of ideas his work is, suggesting he’s the equal of Wells, at least in science fiction.

Seconding Sirius as a brilliant book which has multiple levels of metaphor. If I still had a copy, I would probably take if off the bookshelf and browse through it, if I had not lent it to a friend who never gave it back. (I think.) One of those books I have come back to again and again. I don’t find the prose in it wooden at all. It has a lot of resonance to me in that a friend compared my love situation at the time to the relationship between Sirius and Plaxy. It would make a great movie, as long as they kept the period setting. An adaptation could tread the line between touching and disturbing with the relationship. I think that keeping it in the early 20th century would provide just enough distance. Someone pay me to write the script.

I find Last Men in London under-rated and Last and First Men too dated and tedious so that I gave up on it.

Nebula Maker has a series of imaginary monologues by people of different belief systems that still has something to say today.

Star Maker I have read a lot about but not read in more than bits and pieces and I have no comment on Odd John because I have not read it.

Arthur Clarke greatly admired First and Last Men; may have been his first influence - I’m not sure.