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Stapledon and Haas

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#1 Rick Woods

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:11 AM

I just received my copy of "To The End of Time - The Best of Olaf Stapledon". I've referred to this book a few times in the past, and was finally called on the fact that it's an SF book. I read it probably 45 years ago, and I wanted to be sure I wasn't remembering it through a teenage haze. The book I was actually referencing was "The Last and First Men" (1930, one of five novels in the book). I'm re-reading it now, and I find Stapledon's visionary history of Mankind, beginning at WW I, and ending millions of years in the future at the end of Mankind, to be no less sweeping and brilliant than I did way back then.

BUT: "To The End of Time" was, I believe, the first American release of Stapledon's work. I was surprised to find several chapters omitted from the beginning of "Last and First Men" without explanation, and only a brief Editor's note describing what was in the 30-40 missing pages. I find this to be inexcusable! My personal opinion is, that it was done in the American edition (printed in 1953) in order to avoid angering American readers. This is because America, acting as a symbol for all of Western culture, is cast in a less than complementary light in the beginning (later, America disappears entirely). This seems quite cowardly on the part of the publisher!

On the web, I found an old book discussion forum thread on the book (containing a few insightful posts, among dozens of really dumb ones); but it also contained a link to the entire book online (apparently the copyrights have expired), so I was able to clip out the missing chapters and print them; I'm now going back and fitting them into the narrative in the proper sequence. So far, they seem quite germane to the story, and I can't see what was so worrisome that they had to be edited out.

Anyway, long story short: If you want to read the excellent "Last and First Men", get it as a separate book, and be sure it's all there. I mean, really!


The second book is, I just ordered Sissy Haas' double star book. Everyone seems to think so highly of it, and I like double stars, so what the heck, right?

#2 Pollux556

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:21 AM

The second book is, I just ordered Sissy Haas' double star book. Everyone seems to think so highly of it, and I like double stars, so what the heck, right?


I have this one and it is excellent ! Contain 2101 double or multiple stars classified by constellations whose the primary is Mag 8 or brighter. I like the short description of each containing the diameter of instrument and magnification.

#3 Rick Woods

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 04:03 PM

Contain 2101 double or multiple stars classified by constellations whose the primary is Mag 8 or brighter.


LOL! The subtitle is something like "over 2100 double stars". Well, I guess that's accurate.

#4 Pollux556

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:10 PM

Contain 2101 double or multiple stars classified by constellations whose the primary is Mag 8 or brighter.


LOL! The subtitle is something like "over 2100 double stars". Well, I guess that's accurate.


Absolutely, I have counted all of them. :grin: Seriuosly, when you will read de back of the book: " ... features an in-depth catalog of 2,101 double or multiple stars. And the subtitle reads: "More than 2,100 stellar gem for backyard observers"

Unless you will receive another edition than mine :question:

#5 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:58 PM

Here's a small digression:

Is Sissy Haas related to planetary observer Walter Haas?

I recently (within the last couple of years) acquired copies of Harold Webb's trio of Mars books:
- "Observations of the Planet Mars" (1936), with sketches of Mars from oppositions from 1926 - 1935;
- "Observations of Mars and its Canals" (1941), covering the oppositions 1937 & 1939; and
- "Telescopic Observations of Mars" (1949), covering 1941 - 1948.

All three are loaded with excellent amateur sketches of Mars.
The second book has sketches by, among several others, Walter Haas. His drawings (and only his) show almost no features except canals! A few faintly canal-like features appear in other sketches, but Haas was definitely an unapologetic canal man!
(The third book has a lot of terrific sketches by a young high school student named Tommy Cave, who made all his own telescopes).

I also have a map of Ganymede, made from observations by several observers (including Haas) in the late 1940's using the Griffith Park Zeiss refractor. It's actually quite accurate, when compared to a photographically-generated map using the same projection!

#6 Pollux556

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:48 PM

Very interesting digression :bow:

A book that I like the sketch that it contain is "Atlas of the planets" by Paul Doherty. Impressive.

#7 BobinKy

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:42 PM

Rick...

Looks like you picked up some good books on Mars. Thank you for sharing.

*****

It would be interesting sometime to group Mars observers during the late 1800s and early 1900s into Canal Observers and Non-Canal Observers. E. E. Barnard, according to his biography and photographs of Mars would definitely be a Non-Canal Observer.

#8 Rick Woods

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:00 PM

The Sissy Haas book came today. Very little text; lots of double star catalog. Exactly what I hoped for! :)
I like the layout; increasing RA within constellation. Perfect for a lazy guy like me.

Anybody know if she's related to Walter Haas?

#9 Pollux556

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:13 PM

The Sissy Haas book came today. Very little text; lots of double star catalog. Exactly what I hoped for! :)
I like the layout; increasing RA within constellation. Perfect for a lazy guy like me.

Anybody know if she's related to Walter Haas?


You will not regret this.. Yesterday night, my wife and I took a look on some doubles and this book was our reference. :jump:

#10 Alvan Clark

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 02:52 PM

Anybody know if she's related to Walter Haas?


Seems doubtful but you can email her and ask. Address is in S&T but I don't have it handy.

#11 Rick Woods

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 03:53 PM

Good idea. Thanks.

#12 Alvan Clark

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

Good idea. Thanks.


Did you ever find out?

#13 droid

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

Looking for " the end of time " on the net , so far hasnt born fruit, but I did find this....

http://video.search....8w8QF;_ylu=X...

#14 droid

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

Rick ; do you have a link to old book discussion group, and or the downloadable file for the book?

#15 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

Good idea. Thanks.


Did you ever find out?


Nah! Forgot all about it.

#16 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:10 PM

Rick ; do you have a link to old book discussion group, and or the downloadable file for the book?


No, sorry, I don't. But it wasn't hard to find. I think I used google, and looked for Stapledon and "Last and First Men". There were a lot of book groups, and it seems to me that several had copies of the book you could download.

#17 droid

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

http://ebooks.adelai...olaf/index.html

#18 droid

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

"Last and First Men" is one of the books thats available on he list looks fascinating, Im gonna have to see if amazon has this book.

#19 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

Make sure all the chapters are there (see my original post).

From that link:

In contrast, Stapledon's philosophy repelled C. S. Lewis, whose Cosmic Trilogy was written partly in response to what Lewis saw as amorality, although Lewis admired Stapledon's inventiveness and described him as "a corking good writer".


That's very interesting! I have C.S. Lewis' trilogy (I'm assuming it's the same one - "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength"), and I always wondered at the preachy, religious character of it, which gets more and more in-your-face with each book.


#20 Ravenous

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

Saw this and I just had to butt in. Stapledon's "Star Maker" has to be one of the most imaginative bits of sci fi ever written. (I think several of his famous readers have said the same thing.) Especially his treatment of alien physiologies & mentalities.

"Last and first men", which I read second, was disappointing by comparison. Just my opinion, but the continual rise and fall of civilisations got boring in places, though it's still worth reading for his thoughts on genetic engineering (before the term was invented or DNA was properly discovered I think). Those first chapters really annoyed me though - possibly because it's us Brits who get wiped out first! Some of the early sweeping characterisation of Brits, the French, Americans, Chinese and South Americans felt a bit naive to me. It starts to improve after most of those civilisations get wiped out or bred out though.

If you want to read both, read them in the order he wrote them. Star Maker is the natural sequel, and "Last and..." seems trivial in scale afterwards.






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