The Winter 2015 issue of the Journal of Futures Studies will carry a special issue devoted to the intersection of science fiction (SF) and futures studies (FS). For this issue, I chose to write about W. Olaf Stapledon, author of Last & First Men (1932) and Star Maker (1938).
“W. Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) was a visionary author who occupies a uniquely foundational position in the genres of both SF and FS. The mythologist, Joseph Campbell called Stapledon “the dean of visionary science fiction writers;” and about Stapledon’s two principal SF/FS works, Arthur C. Clarke said of Last and First Men (1932) that “No book before or since has ever had such an effect on my imagination;” and of Starmaker (1938) that this is “the finest work of SF ever written” (Clarke, 1983).
An expanded preprint of the shorter version of my essay to be published on “Olaf Stapledon: Personal Reflections on Cosmic Inspiration from a Pioneering Visionary” can be seen here.