When I was 14 years of age, I discovered a copy of Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men in the Grosse Pointe Woods library next to Parcells School.
It was in one of those library bindings, which was sturdy, all one color, and had absolutely no pictures of images on the cover nor the back. I think it was a teal-green color; plain, no patterns.
It changed my life.
I suppose that there is a connection between the ghastly war which changed his life forever, the novels he wrote thereafter, and how the force of his change effected my own change.
In Last Men In London, he wrote of the protagonist, Paul, based upon his own wartime experiences:
“To fight for one’s nation against other nations in a world insane with nationalism, is an offence against the spirit.”The spirit.
Never before had the concept of the Spirit seemed so real and full of electricity and life as that moment of plunging into the maelstrom of Stapledon's Last And First Men.
My life had been lived - and would continue to be lived, even up to today - within the proximities of wars and threats of wars, of genocides and apartheids, of racism and hatreds. And a billion years from now, Stapledon's Spirit still inspired the last generations of Man.
Stapledon World War I, Society Of Friends Ambulance Corps
I bought this copy in Montreal in the 60s
Cover showing a man and woman of the 7th Men, the flying race of mankind
I bought this edition somewhere and sometime...
I always liked corals, particularly Hexagonaria
I bought this edition, too, of Last And First Men and Last Men In London
First Pelican edition
The Protagonist of Last Men In London is appropriately named Paul
I must read Starmaker again soon
Like a billion year space opera!