Star Maker (1937)

MOBI for Kindle (based on the text from Project Gutenberg Australia)

Stapledon’s two SF classics, Last and First Men and this one, have a very strong teleological streak. The science is dated or, with the intelligent stars in later chapters, it feels like Stapledon is leaving science completely behind and going the Cyrano the Bergerac route, where every celestial body has some form of life. And still it managed to impress me. It feels like a road map for every space opera thingy written in the in the last century. But Star Maker, a book written in 1937, has more chutzpa than most of them, and a much wider scope.

Last and First Men was a future history of Earth, Star Maker is a future history of the whole universe (and with the creation myth section at the end, even a future history of the whole sequence of multiple universes). The plot is, well, Star Maker could have easily been called The Quest for God. All endeavors, from the first isolated planetary civilizations to the galactic league of worlds or the united, awakened galactic minds, all strife to meet the Star Maker, to understand the big Why of everything. What they find isn’t very comforting. We are not just a speck of dust in the spatial and temporal dimensions of one universe, the same holds true for the whole sequence of creation.

As much as I like the scope of Star Maker, the many ideas that now have become so common in SF, I wouldn’t force the book on anyone. It’s a dense read, only a novel in the widest sense, and it is dated. Still, if someone reads through the whole thing, he will read one of the finest works of the last century, a bold trip through the realms of philosophy, imagination and speculation about the future.