Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon

Patrick Mahon

Would-be author
Feb 15, 2006
Verdict: 5/5 - an extraordinary tour de force

I've had 'Star Maker' on my 'to read' list for some time, having noticed that it was one of the Gollancz SF Masterworks series (in the UK) - I've read several other novels in this series, and found all of them worth the effort.

The reviews reprinted on the first page are glowing, but Stapledon doesn't disappoint. In 250 pages, he managed to write a convincing history of the entire Universe, from the earliest moments of creation through to the final death of all life long after every star has come to the end of its life. And in the process, our narrator - an ordinary man from Earth who somehow manages to detach his mind from his body and travel through space and time - travels our galaxy, searches for other planets, eventually finds other intelligent lifeforms, and then becomes part of a group consciousness travelling the Universe and watching events unfold.

The scope of the narrative - and it is all narrative: amazingly, there's not a single line of dialogue in the whole book - is huge, and in lesser hands, it could easily have become remote and uninteresting. Stapledon's gift is to make each phase of his story personalised to a particular individual, race, planet or consciousness, in a way which makes you identify with them and their situation. And given that this was written in 1937, it has dated remarkably well.

There is so much contained in this novel that I will have to put it on one side, to re-read again very soon. Thoroughly recommended.

Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Aug 7, 2007
I'd have to agree with you, Patrick.

Star Maker is a wonderful, marvellous book.

Scifi fan

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2008
Yes, it's true. I have always wondered why there weren't future histories like this one, as in, why stories are always based on personal adventures as opposed to impersonal histories.