On this day, in 1886, Olaf Stapledon was born. The author of such landmarks of science fiction as Last and First Men and Star Maker, he has influenced some of the masters of SF – Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter are just two who can trace their literary lineage back to him.
No less an authority than The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says:
his influence, both direct and indirect, on the development of many concepts which now permeate genre sf is probably second only to that of H G Wells
Stapledon’s work still holds fascination for readers and critics alike – the British Interplanetary Society recently hosted a conference on his life and work and he has featured many times on Radio 4.
Many of Olaf Stapledon’s books are available as SF Gateway eBooks and Sirius, Odd John, Star Maker and Last and First Men are available as SF Masterworks paperbacks, and if you’d like to know more about this hugely influential figure, you should go right now to his entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.