Last Men in London

威廉·奥拉夫·斯特普尔顿 William Olaf Stapledon
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最后的伦敦人(Last Men in London)简介:

Olaf Stapledon's "Last Men in London" is the third and of Stapledon's Last Men stories. "Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future" from 1930 was a tremendous work providing a future history of mankind 2 billion years into the future. The book was driven by ideas and significant events which changed the species of man. In "Far Future Calling", a radio play based on the same concept, the future is told by two First Men actors who are viewing images provided by two Last Men from the distant future. It is a much shorter work, but one which is a bit more personal because of the two sets of actors through which the story is told. "Last Men in London" again takes up the idea, and this time it has a much more personal drive to the story.

The book opens with the narrator of the Last Men telling the reader more about his life and the society in the future. This is a more detailed look than what was given in the first two works combined. The discussion of the Racial Mind which the Last Men experience is a welcome addition to Stapledon's vision as is the more detailed discussion of the exploration of the past by the Last Men; discussing they historical discoveries as they worked their way back through time and the earlier races of men to discover the First Men.

The narrator has prepared a First Man, whom he calls Paul, so that his mind can go with Paul and observe history through Paul's eyes and ears. The section of the book that deals with Paul is the bulk of the story. It starts with a brief telling of Paul's childhood, and then a much more detailed discussion of Paul during the build-up to World War I, as well as the war years and then the post war years. The Last Man discusses how he influenced Paul and those around him to learn about the world and the First Men through Paul.

The last chapter of the book is also very interesting, because it is here that Stapledon experiments with the concept of a "Superman", which would become the subject of his next novel "Odd John". One can see the foundations of "Odd John" being laid here, though in this case the "Superman" is called Humpty, and the discussion is very abbreviated when compared to the 1935 novel.

This is an interesting book, and a nice complement to "Last and First Men", but it is not nearly on the same level. This book focuses mostly on the 20th Century and in particular the period around World War I. Stapledon also helps develop the civilization of the Last Men, but there is very little mention of all the time between the two. The chapter where he delves into the concept of "Supermen" is interesting mainly from a perspective of the writings of Stapledon as a whole and could easily have been left out of this book without disrupting the story. This one ranks around 3½ stars, but I am rounding it down as it isn't as good as Stapledon's four main novels.


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  • 最后的伦敦人 Last Men in London