- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Most people don't even know that Olaf Stapledon even existed as an author and those that do most often gravitate toward his more famous (and certainly more groundbreaking) novels Last and First Men and Starmaker (also available as a twofer job and well worth your time), but if they pass up these books they're definitely missing out. Far more accessible than either of his other books, mostly because if you're not ready for the almost textbook style of LAFM/SM it might just bore the heck out of you before you realize how awesome those books actually are. Here Stapledon gets to show off his narrative skills and he more than succeeds. The first story Odd John is about a bloke who basically is one of the Second Men, as advanced over the rest of mankind as we're advanced over dogs and cats. Stapledon has some fun with the idea, mostly with John's utter inability to figure us out (or he knows us too well and can't figure out our motivations), the only problem is that John himself is a bit of a hard character to like, he uses people mostly because he can and justifies every act he does no matter how bad it is based on the fact that he's far superior to us. Granted you still care about the big lug, but sometimes he's so snotty you just want to slap him. Still, Stapledon does a great job of taking some shots at humanity and pretty well rationalizing the thought processes of a guy who's just not like us. Thankfully Sirius has the compassion that Odd John lacks in parts. This one is even stranger, it's about a really smart dog who might as well be human. The fact that Stapledon manages to pull this one off without it seeming silly or far fetched is a testament to his writing genius, he makes Sirius, who could have just been a talking dog, into something three dimensional and worthy of your attention. I had thought Odd John was good but Sirius just blew me away with its emotion and depth. It's interesting to note that in Odd John, John thinks Communism isn't a bad idea (with a few modications) while Sirius hates it because he feels it crushes the spirit. Thought I'd point that out. Other side note, Stapledon writes the coolest narrators I've ever read, they come across as totally human and just regular guys who happened to be caught up in really strange events. Classics like this deserve to be remembered.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 14, 2012
No text was provided for this review.