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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future

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Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future

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Author: Robert Crossley
Publisher: Liverpool University Press, 1994
Syracuse University Press, 1994
Series: Liverpool SF Studies: Book 1
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Synopsis

This is the first critical biography of William Olaf Stapledon, who is best remembered for the extraordinary works of speculative fiction he published between 1930 and 1950.

As a novelist, he was known as the spokesman for the Age of Einstein and has influenced writers as diverse as Virginia Woolf, Arthur C. Clarke and Doris Lessing. This book draws on a vast body of unpublished and private documents, interviews, correspondence papers and archival documents, to reveal the internal struggles that shaped Stapledon's life, and reclaim for public attention a distinctive voice of the modem era.

A pacifist in World War 1, an advocate of European unity and world government, one of the first teachers in the Workers' Educational Association, and an early protestor against apartheid, Stapledon turned utopian beliefs into practical politics. With roots in the shipping worlds of Devon, Liverpool and the Suez Canal, he was transformed from a self-described provincial on the margins of English literary and political life into a visionary idealist who attracted the attention of scientists, journalists and novelists, and given his left-wing affiliations, even the FBI.

Some of Stapledon's novels - "Last and First Men", "Star Maker", "Odd John" and "Sirius" - have gathered a passionate following and they have seldom been out of print in the last 25 years. But the personal experiences and the political commitments that shaped this creative work have until now, barely been known.


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