Tag: William Olaf Stapledon

William Olaf Stapledon – The Seed and the Flower

God sowed a seed, and there came a flower. Holy is God, and the world His flower. THERE was a poor man who had a field, wherein he laboured all day. He had a daughter, an only child, and he loved her. At sunset, after his work, he looked at the field; and twilight fell […]

William Olaf Stapledon – The Road to the Aide Post

In Belgium at two o’clock in the morning, an ambulance driver stepped out of his car and yawned. It had rained since the previous night and the world was very wet. But at last the west wind was victoriously pursuing the clouds, piling their disordered companies one upon another. Suddenly the moon shone. White ruined […]

William Olaf Stapledon – The Flames

DEAR THOS, My present address is bound to prejudice you against me, but do please reserve judgment until you have read this letter. No doubt most of us in this comfortable prison think we ought to be at large, and most are mistaken. But not all, so for God’s sake keep an open mind. I […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Star Maker

ONE night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill. Dark heather checked my feet. Below marched the suburban lamps. Windows, their curtains drawn, were shut eyes, inwardly watching the lives of dreams. Beyond the sea’s level darkness a lighthouse pulsed. Overhead, obscurity. I distinguished our own house, our islet in […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Sirius A Fantasy of Love and Discord

PLAXY and I had been lovers; rather uneasy lovers, for she would never speak freely about her past, and sometimes she withdrew into a cloud of reserve and despond. But often we were very happy together, and I believed that our happiness was striking deeper roots. Then came her mother’s last illness, and Plaxy vanished. […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Odd John A Story Between Jest and Earnest

WHEN I told John that I intended to write his biography, he laughed. “My dear man!” he said, “But of course it was inevitable.” The word “man” on John’s lips was often equivalent to “fool.” “Well,” I protested, “a cat may look at a king.” He replied, “Yes, but can it really see the king? […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Last Men in London

WHEN I am in your world and your epoch I remember often a certain lonely place in my own world, and in the time that I call present. It is a comer where the land juts out into the sea as a confusion of split rocks, like a herd of monsters crowding into the water. […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Last and First Men

OBSERVE now your own epoch of history as it appears to the Last Men. Long before the human spirit awoke to clear cognizance of the world and itself, it sometimes stirred in its sleep, opened bewildered eyes, and slept again. One of these moments of precocious experience embraces the whole struggle of the First Men […]

William Olaf Stapledon – East is West

I LEFT MY LODGINGS IN WEST KIRBY IN THE MIDDLE OF the morning and walked along the Estuary shore, I arriving at my favourite bathing place when the tide was only a few yards from the foot of the clay cliffs. The sand, as usual on a fine Sunday, was crowded with parties, bathing and […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Death into Life

TEN thousand boys in the upper air. Squadron upon squadron, their intricate machines thundered toward the target, heavy with death. Darkness below; and above, the stars. Below, the invisible carpet of the fields and little homes; above, and very far beyond those flashing stars, the invisible galaxies, gliding through the immense dark, squadron upon squadron […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Darkness and the Light

IS IT credible that our world should have two futures? I have seen them. Two entirely distinct futures lie before mankind, one dark, one bright; one the defeat of all man’s hopes, the betrayal of all his ideals, the other their hard-won triumph. At some date within the age that we call modern, some date […]

William Olaf Stapledon – Arms Out of Hand

SIR JAMES TOOK UP HIS PEN FOR THE FATEFUL LETTER. He wrote the date and “Dear Councillor Saunderson.” Then his hand stayed motionless. The words that should have followed were ready in his mind, but his hand refused to move. The fingers slackened. The pen slipped from his grip, and rolled away. He tried to […]

William Olaf Stapledon – A World of Sound

THE ROOM WAS OVERCROWDED AND STUFFY. THE music seemed to have no intelligible form. It was a mere jungle of noise. Now one instrument and now another blared out half a tune, but every one of these abortive musical creatures was killed before it had found its legs. Some other and hostile beast fell upon […]

William Olaf Stapledon – A Modern Magician

THEY CONFRONTED EACH OTHER ACROSS A TEA TABLE in a cottage garden. Helen was leaning back coldly studying Jim’s face. It was an oddly childish, almost foetal face, with its big brow, snub nose, and pouting lips. Childish, yes; but in the round dark eyes there was a gleam of madness. She had to admit […]

William Olaf Stapledon – A Man Divided

VICTOR HAD REFUSED his bride at the altar! That was the brute fact which agitated the little party in the vestry. No amount of explanation could mitigate it. As best man I had been in a good position to observe events; and even I, who had formerly been fairly intimate with Victor, was completely taken […]

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