The SFFaudio Podcast #228 – READALONG: Last And First Men by Olaf Stapledon

September 2, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #228 – Jesse and Jenny talk about the Last And First Men by Olaf Stapledon.

Talked about on today’s show:
the near and far future, not a novel, an imagined planetary history, the scope, Penguin Books, philosophy, the introduction, The Iron Heel by Jack London, a future history, human civilizations, two thousand million years (two billion years), universes => galaxy, man is a small part of the universe, Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon, Doctor Who, 2001: A Space Odyssey, what the plot would look like if there was one, the eighteen periods of man, evolution and construction, it’s set in 1930, is there ever an end to humanity?, Last Men In London by Olaf Stapledon, Last And First Men was popular in its day, Stapledon served in the ambulance service in WWI, plotlessness, period themes, the flying theme, the depletion of fossil fuels, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Venus, Mars, Neptune, the Martians, the Venusians, the genocide on Venus, Luke Burrage (the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast), racism, a Science Fiction mythology, the poetic musical ending, deep time, to the end of the Earth and beyond, Stapledon as an historian, civilizations always fall, there’s no one thing that ends civilizations, humanity as a symphony, the returns to savagery, establishing the pattern, Arthur C. Clarke, The House On The Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, The Night Lands, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft and cosmicism, the Wikipedia entry for Last And First Men, Fritz Leiber, Forrest Ackerman, scientificion, matchless poignancy, S. Fowler Wright, Lovecraft’s love of the stars (astronomy), one of the species of man is a monkey, another a rabbit, no jokes but perhaps humour, a cosmic joke, monkeys have made human their slaves, Planet Of The Apes, an ability to hear at the subatomic level, intelligence, a fourteen foot brain supported by ferroconcrete, obsession with gold, obsession with diamonds, pulping people, it’s written like a history textbook or essays, the Patagonia explosion, the upstart volcanoes, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, chiseling knowledge into granite, Olaf loved coming up with different sexual relationships, the 20 year pregnancy, suicide, euthanasia, an unparalleled imagination, groupthink, telepathy, oversimplification, we must press on, the baboon-like submen, the seal-like Submen, the divergence of man into other ecological niches, the number of ants in New York, ecosystems, nuclear weapons, robots are missing, where is the robot man?, the over-emphasis on fossil fuels as the only source of energy, if you could see us now, post-humans, ultimately a love letter to humanity, not aww but awwww!, Starmaker as a masterpiece, Sirius, uplifting a dog, a fantasy of love and discord, dog existentialism, who am I and where is my bone?, Olaf Stapledon in the PUBLIC DOMAIN, influential vs. famous, a very different read.

Last And First Men by Olaf Stapledon

Olaf Stapledon illustration by Neil Austin

Posted by Jesse Willis

Anthony Boucher’s All Stars: 52 best SF books (+6 More) and 12 Fantasy books

April 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction - October1958

The “All Star Anniversary Issue” of Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine (for October 1958) featured famed editor Anthony Boucher’s regular “Recommending Reading” column – but with a twist. In celebration of the magazine’s 9th anniversary Boucher challenged himself to create a list of “Fifty Review Copies I Would Not Part With.” He failed in this herculean task – he just couldn’t pair down the list to fifty (even by restricting what would qualify in a number of ways). Instead, he ended up listing 52 Science Fiction novels or collections that he had no hand in publishing, another six that he did, and twelve Fantasy titles that were absolute must keepers as well. Of them Boucher wrote:

“These are novels and collections which have, from 1949 through 1957, given intense pleasure to a man professionally, obligated to read every s.f. book published in America; and I venture the guess that any reader, novice or habituĂ© of our field, will find stimulation and delight in a high number of these titles.”

That’s good enough for me! I have reproduced as Boucher listed them (in alphabetical order by author). But I’ve added links to extant audiobook editions:

Boucher’s 52 best SF books:
Brain Wave by Poul Anderson |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
Earth Is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION]

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|

What Mad Universe by Fredric Brown
The Lights In The Sky Are Stars by Fredric Brown
Angels And Spaceships by Fredric Brown [COLLECTION]

Cloak Of Aesir by John W. Campbell [COLLECTION]

No Blade Of Grass / The Death Of Grass by John Christopher |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Prelude To Space by Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth by Arthur C. Clarke [COLLECTION]
Against The Fall Of Night (and The City And The Stars) by Arthur C. Clarke

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

The Wheels Of If by L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]
Rogue Queen by L. Sprague de Camp

Nerves by Lester Del Rey

Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

The Third Level by Jack Finney [COLLECTION]

The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein [COLLECTION]
The Green Hills Of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein [COLLECTION] |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|BOOKS ON TAPE|CAEDMON|

Bullard Of The Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson

Takeoff by C.M. Kornbluth
The Explorers by C.M. Kornbluth [COLLECTION]
Not This August by C.M. Kornbluth

Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber
The Green Millennium by Fritz Leiber |WONDER AUDIO|

The Big Ball Of Wax by Shepherd Mead

Shadow On The Hearth by Judith Merrril

Shadows In The Sun by Chad Oliver
Another Kind by Chad Oliver [COLLECTION]

A Mirror For Observers by Edgar Pangborn

The Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

The Other Place by J.B. Priestly [COLLECTION]

Deep Space by Eric Frank Russell [COLLECTION]

Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley [COLLECTION]

City by Clifford D. Simak [COLLECTION] |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|
Strangers In The Universe by Clifford D. Simak

Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon [COLLECTION]
The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Slan by A.E. van Vogt |BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA|
The Weapon Shops and The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. |AUDIBLE MODERN VANGUARD|

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley Weinbaum [COLLECTION] |LIBRIVOX|

The Throne Of Saturn by S. Fowler Wright

The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|
Re-Birth/The Chrysalids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Excellent titles that had origins on the pages of Fantasy And Science Fiction:

Bring The Jubilee by Ward Moore

Tales From Gavagan’s Bar by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]

The Sinister Researches Of C.P. Ransom by H. Nearing Jr. [COLLECTION]

One In Three Hundred by J.T. McIntosh

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein |FULL CAST AUDIO|
The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Boucher’s best dozen Fantasy books:

The Devil In Velvet by John Dickson Carr

Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier [COLLECTION]

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison |MARIA LECTRIX|

The Circus Of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney

The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner by James Hogg

Fear by L. Ron Hubbard |GALAXY PRESS|

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [COLLECTION] |BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA|

The Ghostly Tales by Henry James [COLLECTION]

Pogo by Walt Kelly

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Further Fables For Our Times by James Thurber [COLLECTION]

The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien |RECORDED BOOKS|

Posted by Jesse Willis