Olaf Stapledon

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Olaf Stapledon

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6 First Quotations from Olaf Stapledon

avian adj. 1931 W. O. Stapledon Last & First Men 302 The flightless yet still half avian race that now possessed the planet settled down to construct a society based on industry and science. After many vicissitudes of fortune and of aim, they produced a new human species, the Eighth Men. These long-headed and substantial folk were designed to be strictly pedestrian, physically and mentally.
group mind n. 1930 W. O. Stapledon Last & First Men (1937) viii. 168 The Martians, it should be noted, had three possible forms, or formations, namely: first, an ‘open order’ of independent and very tenuous cloudlets in ‘telepathic’ communication, and often in strict unity as a group mind; second, a more concentrated and less vulnerable corporate cloud; and third, an extremely concentrated and formidable cloud-jelly.
Homo superior n. 1935 O. Stapledon Odd John vi. 55 ‘Suppose the taste of power goes to my head, and I collar everything? I'm only Homo sapiens, not Homo superior.’ And for once I privately felt that John was perhaps not so superior after all.
non-human adj. 1930 W. O. Stapledon Last and First Men viii. 164 To describe the biology, psychology and history of a whole world in a few pages is as difficult as it would be to give the Martians themselves in the same compass a true idea of man. Encyclopædias, libraries, would be needed in either case. Yet, somehow, I must contrive to suggest the alien sufferings and delights, and the many aeons of struggle, which went to the making of these strange nonhuman intelligences, in some ways so inferior yet in others definitely superior to the human species which they encountered.
supernormal n. 1936 O. Stapledon Odd John i. 4 The great majority of these very rare supernormals, whom John sometimes called ‘wide-awakes’, are either so delicate physically or so unbalanced mentally that they leave no considerable mark on the world. Ibid. xviii. 120 The programme was determined by his telepathic researches. Distance, apparently, made no difference to the ease with which he could pick up the psychic processes of other paranormals.
transgalactic adj. 1930 O. Stapledon Last & First Men (1931) xvi. 365 Only within the last few years have we succeeded in designing an artificial human dust capable of being carried forward on the sun's radiation, hardy enough to endure the conditions of a trans[-]galactic voyage of many millions of years, and yet intricate enough to bear the potentiality of life and of spiritual development. We are now preparing to manufacture this seminal matter in great quantities, and to cast it into space at suitable points on the planet's orbit.