Two unconnected, rather brief Stapledon (1866-1950) oddments which first appeared in Britain six years ago. Nebula Maker...

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NEBULA MAKER and FOUR ENCOUNTERS

Two unconnected, rather brief Stapledon (1866-1950) oddments which first appeared in Britain six years ago. Nebula Maker (dating from the early 1930s) is something like a distant progenitor of the famous Star Maker; it describes, in visionary terms, how--following the Big Bang--the exploding gas cloud condenses into nebulae which eventually achieve internal organization and self-awareness. Though the nebulae are entirely un-humanlike, with non-human senses, their development follows familiar patterns: many are solitary and solipsistic; others become social and devote themselves to esthetic terpsichorean pursuits; still others show martial tendencies and engulf the young universe in warfare. An intriguing idea, but dramatized in a manner too remote, abstract, and impersonal (only two of the nebulae even have names) to be truly involving. Four Encounters (from the late 1940s) barely qualifies as fiction and is best described as philosophical dialectic. The narrator conducts dialogues with a Christian, a Scientist, a Mystic, and a Revolutionary--who are united in their contempt for lesser beings, their rejection of personal love, and their stubborn refusal to peer beyond the limits of their self-absorbed beliefs. A disappointment for Stapledon's sf audience, though the cerebrally or academically inclined might find some points of engagement.

Pub Date: April 1, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983