Aleš's Reviews > Last and First Men

Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
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's review
May 29, 2010

really liked it

** spoiler alert ** Its a fictional story of a history of Mankind. Told in telepathic trance by our children from 2000 million years in the future. It is a story of rises and downfalls of civilizations. Falls are mainly due to blind faith, wars with "superior" beings, natural disasters, egocentric stupidity. From all of the accounts Men rose in some coincidences by pure luck from ashes of civilization, remade it self and again and again prevailed against Universe.

Until the final hour. But still. Men tries to repopulate Universe with its own seed. It tries to communicate with the past to enlighten it of the future. As Olaf couldn't so we can't tell if he will fail.

It took me a while to chew through it mainly due to to the volume of interesting and new philosophical ideas. It was written in 1930 but is remarkably accurate regarding world order of the late 1900. At times it is difficult to read due to small print (and my eyesight is not as it was 10 years ago) and if you are a person looking for character dialog then pick up something lighter.

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Reading Progress

May 29, 2010 – Shelved
May 30, 2010 – Started Reading
May 30, 2010 –
page 1
0.31% "Slow start today ;) Headache killed the mood"
June 3, 2010 –
page 1
0.31% "Still on page 1 of the book. I was able to read all of the introductions and met the Last Men."
June 6, 2010 –
page 22
6.73% "Read what prompted decline of 1st Men. Since the book was published in 1930 it is remarkable how Olaf predicted the downfall of Russia and creation of European Confederacy which are similar to events that happened 50 years later ?!? Quite enjoyable."
June 8, 2010 –
page 54
16.51% "Slow downfall of first men. Europe tries to rebuild it self to its formal glory but it is decimated by Americans. Nothing survives. Ideological and economical differences between China and America prompt new war which rages for a quarter of a century. Each side is determined to destroy the other. Secret treaty on Pacific island between two economic leaders saves first men from extinction. Or does it?"
June 13, 2010 –
page 80
24.46% "Unity of the world races was achieved through clever scam of ruling industrial leaders, new religion called Gordpus was created. Dictatorship under the leadership of Directorate was installed. Science became predominant. Ritual flight which celebrated Gordelpus and used enormous energy resources was instrumental. And it lasted about 4000 years, but then energy resources were depleted and ..."
June 16, 2010 –
page 113
34.56% "The age of Patagonia. Slow but firm triumph over incredible odds. And then need for valuable resources and greed prompted their downfall. Earth core is decimated. Only a fracture of its population survives in a remote part of Siberia and Labrador and thrives. The Second Dark Age was overcome and a new rise is on horizon ..."
June 27, 2010 –
page 204
62.39% "War with Martians and decline of 2nd man, and rise to 3rd and 4th species of Men. One devoted its triumphs to all artistic forms from which "vital art" proved a mean to create 4th men; all brain - no body. Housed in its cone shaped tower. Slowly became 3rd species master and finally annihilated it. Created minions to replace it and begun genetic experimenting on 3rd species to improve itself. So the 5th was created."
June 27, 2010 –
page 223
68.2% "5th Men rose. Wagered war against its creators and was victorious. As with all other revolutions civilization crumbled and slowly begun to assert it self again. Long living 5th species mastered all the science and art previous species mastered. It also mastered looking back into time and started; at least it looked like it; to learn from mistakes made by its predecessors."
June 27, 2010 –
page 307
93.88% "5th species detected that Moon's orbit is beginning its decline and thus prompting migration of Men towards Venus. But spacial anomalies; after 500M years; prompted Men to migrate to Neptune and to evolve to 18th Men. Last species flourished to be eventually defeated by mere nature of life. In its final moments it told the tale to the past and spread seed of Mankind to the Stars."
June 27, 2010 – Finished Reading

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