Ed's Reviews > Star Maker

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
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Jul 25, 12


I got this from a list of books on io9 that were "books everyone talks about and no one reads." It was apparently very influential, and I can see why.

First the negative: Like most old fiction (1930s here), this book has a problem with pacing. For the most part it reads like a history textbook, with occasional personal interjections and foreshadowing along the lines of, "Pay attention, these guys will be important later."

That said, it's interesting enough to overcome that issue and keep you (me) reading. The book starts out as an interstellar travelogue and becomes a meditation on the nature of reality. The travelogue part was fascinating, and the meditation part seemed pretty prescient, at least with respect to certain current pop science ideas. The author clearly makes an effort to get the astronomy right, but since this is 30s astronomy, some parts are laughably wrong.

The book also has an interesting historical context, in that it was written during the depression in the lead up to World War II. This clearly influences the story, explicitly so in some cases.

So yeah, good book, somewhat awkwardly written, and no wonder it's been influential. It's so full of ideas you could write thirty different books based on the cosmos described here.
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