young adult contemporary

read online Audiobooks Odd John: A Story between Jest and Earnest Author Olaf Stapledon –

John Wainwright Is A Freak A Human Mutation With An Extraordinary Intelligence Which Is Both Awesome And Frightening To All Who Come Into Contact With Him Ordinary Humans Were Just Playthings To John Subjects For An Endless Chain Of Experiments Their Feelings, And Sometimes Even Their Lives, Are ExpendableOdd John Has A Plan To Create A New Order On Earth, A New Supernormal Species But The World Is Not Ready For Such A Change

10 thoughts on “Odd John: A Story between Jest and Earnest

  1. says:

    Not your run of the mill superhero story, which may have had something to do with the fact that Stapledon wasn t a typical person to be writing a superhero story in the first place he was a Professor of Philosophy, and apparently a friend of both Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill It has always surprised me that this book isn t better known.Most superhero scenarios, starting with Superman, take it for granted that the guy will spend most of his time acting as a kind of elite first responder service, cleaning up or preventing the challenging train crashes, armed robberies, earthquakes and so on Now, if we take the superhero idea seriously for even ten seconds, why ever should this godlike creature think that his top priority is to rescue beings who are, to him, about as significant as mice are to us I mean, even though your average human could probably save a whole lot of mice if he put his mind to it, you find that that s an unusual career choice Stapledon, however, goes back to first principles, and asks what a superhero might find to do that wasn t essentially just rescuing mice The result is a book that s interesting, even if not totally convincing The obvious problem is that a mouse, even a very clever one, isn t going to be able to write a good book about what it s like to be human but Stapledon at least tries, and we should give him credit for that.One idea I liked, which occurs elsewhere in Stapledon s writing, is that it isn t primarily about winning conquering the world, amassing a colossal fortune, etc , but rather about living your life absolutely to the full He has a good shot at showing us how John tries to achieve that He also has a much interesting take on the battle between good and evil than is common in this genre Evil people have just, as it were, been handed the Black pieces in the cosmic chess game it s a question of how artistically they handle their resources I don t know whether I agree with this, but at least it makes you think, which is than you can say for variants on Clark Kent versus Lex Luthor.It s a shortish book and easy to read If you want to check out some SF that doesn t immediately fit one of the 12 standard SF plots, you could do worse than this.

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  3. says:

    Source of my current favorite quote A nation, after all, is just a society for hating foreigners Very much on point lately.Interesting book The strangest thing about it being that I couldn t figure out why I wanted to keep reading it It is a mostly philosophical tome about an evolved human homo superior who is kind of an ass Yet it was a very smooth read, in that vein of an intellectual white man tells the world about a thing he observed toned stories And shit, Stapledon so called WWII.

  4. says:

    A somewhat freaky human decides his superiority to others makes him exempt from following all rules of civilized behavior, so he comes up with an invention to make himself wealthy and sets about pursuing his own goals Actually that s the plot of Stanley G Weinbaum s The New Adam and it appears over and over again anytime a sci fi writer goes on a philosophical jag You might also remember the Outer Limits episode The Sixth Finger as another example.According to Stapledon s bio he was a philosopher as well as a writer IMO he wasn t much of a writer He s much too dry, flat, and boring Reading him is a struggle In Odd John he picks up on this same old superman plot as espoused by Nietzsche It s neither new or interesting Weinbaum s version isn t all that great either After all there s not a lot you can do with the scenario But at least Weinbaum can write Odd John is available at Gutenberg Canada if you want to check it out.

  5. says:

    another one that I read many times when I was young fond, vague impressions lingerI had never heard of Olaf Stapledon before and I never heard of him again until I bought The Great Courses How Science Fiction Works, and there he was again I had remembered his name and this one book, Odd John, for decades Now I want to read it again, just to see why I kept some part of it with me for all that time On a related subject, I do believe there must be others like me who read many favorite books again, or even many times I think that is a good thing to do, and I wish it counted toward how many books we have read on our lists here I read Heart of Darkness fifty times Elements of Style twenty five The John Carter of Mars series, seven times and onReading a great book once is like looking at the Mona Lisa once, for lack of a better comparison You can t understand a book on the first reading the way that you can on the second reading that s my opinion, but it s logical, too Hints and foreshadowing are among the many elements of literature that just aren t fully visible on the first reading More importantly, the depths and pleasures of a great work cannot be fully enjoyed or plumbed, emotionally or mentally, on one reading Then again, I mean no offense to those who read a book once and happily jump to the next I do that, too I guess I read most of the Agatha Christi books that way, just for fun And no offense to those books either It s just that some books call to me personally, and others may call to you That s good, isn t it Books are a way of life with many different trails one can follow.

  6. says:

    Olaf Stapledon s Odd John is an odd book It is science fiction in its loftiest form a novel of ideas.Stapledon uses this tale of a youth who is an example of a new superior species emerging from conventional humanity as a way to examine the human condition from the outside John s account to the narrator of the failings of our species and why we are, he feels, doomed to self destruction really cut to the quick And the fact that John operates according to moral principles so very different from our own is something which also can stimulate uncomfortable questions about the bases of our values How would we feel about sacrificing the lives of members of a less developed species in service of the survival of our own We do it all the time But it doesn t seem quite so acceptable perhaps when we are that lesser species.Of course having a narrator who is a member of homo sapiens rather than the new homo superior means that much of what John and his fellow supermen and superwomen do and think can only be hinted at But Stapledon does an amazing job of hinting at some kind of liberated universal consciousness and the communal living it makes possible All of this is made easier by the fact that the new species is telepathic, even being able to travel telepathically into the past and commune with those who are now dead.I suppose this raises the question as to whether this is really science fiction or fantasy John comes up with a number of new technologies which play a part in the story, but even the method of propulsion on his boat and airplane involve the psychic manipulation of atomic forces Then again, if the behaviour of particles is effected by their being observed as quantum physicists say, maybe telekinesis does have a place in science fiction Apparently, Stapledon wasn t aware that there was such a genre as science fiction until after he was being hailed as one of its leading lights He was certainly ahead of his time This book was published in 1935 and John s description of where the world is heading includes a very accurate picture of the progress of fascism and the horrors of what would be the Second World War The book is also free of many of the sexual prejudices of the time.

  7. says:

    sometimes it gets boring cause it s too obvious the way OS inserts his philosophical views into the narrative not adding very much to the story s better written than AEVV s Slan, I think nevertheless, i m starting to struggle with this golden SF not because of what the genre in itself implies offers but because how was written so far, i ve read a couple though.btw it s about THE 1st Superman story ever and apparently where the idea of a Prof X and or X men came fromhttps x men ex n

  8. says:

    Odd John is a proverbial feast for thought and is filled with many an intelligent nuance In exploring what it is to be super human, Stapledon holds a mirror up to what it is to be just merely human.Odd John has several shocking moments and is clearly aimed at an adult audience I haven t researched the topic but I can t help but think that certain passages caused it to be received as controversial for the time or even caused it to be censured or downright banned in some quarters.In writing about Homo Superior, Stapledon shows why he s an Author Superior Misc Stapledon was obviously influenced by The Hampdenshire Wonder by J.D Beresford He references it 3 times p 2 How pathetically one sided the supernormal development may be is revealed in Mr J D Beresford s account of the unhappy Victor Scott p 4 His glance, however, had none of that weirdly compelling power recorded in the case of Victor Scott.p 16 His vocabulary was of course very inadequate, so he proceeded in the manner of Victor Scott, and read through from cover to cover, first a large English dictionary, then

  9. says:

    Borderline racist, Odd John reads like a list of generally unimaginative descriptions of the maturation of a hypothetical super human The book mostly relies on the trick of portraying all humanity as either so simple or stupid that a child with the mind of an adult dictator is meant to seem than human Not sure what the overall point of the novel was, possibly it is that communism is basically faulted but as close as humans can get to the utopia which only post human individualists with telepathic powers can imagine Or maybe the point is simply that humans are hopeless idiots who will eventually destroy the planet on account of our inability to be robotic rationalists with super powers The prose is a real yawn fest too.

  10. says:

    I read this first in grade school While no genius is struck a chord with my lonely childhood and made me think I also started writing a book with this tale as a role model for it Such has this book impacted my life I cannot recall how many times I read this book Despite all my moves I still have that very book, though now tattered It has been years since I have done then pick up the book from my shelf and read it I almost fear it would no longer be relevant or deep to me Or maybe that it still would be Whatever the orginator of my fear I would say this book is directed toward teens.