Last and First Men
Penguin Science Fiction
First published 1930
Published in Pelican Books 1937
Reprinted in Penguin Books 1963
Cover design by Geoffrey Martin
Cover price: 3’6
From the back cover:
This ‘history of the next two thousand years’ remains one of the milestones of science fiction, despite some of the early details which will inevitably strike a modern reader as odd.
Last and First Men received extraordinary acclaim when it was first published in 1930. J. B. Priestley called it a masterpiece, and Arnold Bennett said: ‘There have been many visions of the future… but none in my experience as strange as Last and First Men. Mr Stapledon possesses a tremendous and beautiful imagination’
The infinite and icy perspectives of a surrealist painting give form to Stapledon’s vision of the future. As cataclysm succeeds cataclysm there is always a new race of men to take up the torch from the last, down to ‘the last syllable of recorded time’ and the destruction of the solar system. It rest with the Last Man to pronounce: ‘It is very good to have been man.’
This, indeed, is one of the great books that have helped to shape the science fiction of today.
Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950)
Sirius: A Fantasy Of Love And Discord
Cover by Pelham, David