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Literature / Star Maker

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Star Maker is a 1937 Science Fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon, and a sequel of sorts to Last and First Men. When he decided that the former book — which chronicled the entire (future) history of humankind — had not been nearly ambitious enough, Stapledon followed it up with a history of the entire universe, culminating in a brief glimpse into the nature and history of God himself (the titular Star Maker).

Like Last and First Men, the story's viewpoint grows broader and broader as it progresses, though this time it is a broadness not only of time but of space. After examining several individual alien societies in some detail, the book's perspective gradually pulls back from a planetary to a galactic scale, then to a universal scale, and finally to a viewpoint that encompasses the Star Maker himself and all of his various created universes.


Also like its predecessor, it's told through the framing device of a man (Stapledon himself, presumably) being given this "guided tour" of reality telepathically by advanced beings from the future.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometries: Not all of the Star Maker's creations are Euclidean. There are even some that are made of sound, some have time but lack space.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause
  • Art Evolution: The Star Maker's motivation to create a new universe after he is done with the previous one.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The stars, as well as the Star Maker.
  • Creation Myth
  • Dyson Sphere: The actual origin of the concept (Dyson himself said they should have been called "Stapledon spheres"), though it's mentioned only briefly.
  • Genius Loci: Later space civilizations eventually create sentient planets.
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  • God Is Evil: Or at least remarkably callous toward the suffering of his creations.
  • Heavy Worlder: The beings designed to inhabit the white dwarfs, after there are few "living" stars left.
  • Hive Mind: Several of the species the author visits have this. A single specimen is just an animal, but a shared consciousness of a swarm is an equivalent of an individual.
  • Hollow World: The artificial planets as well as all the "dead" stars eventually.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The entire history of humanity from the first to the last men leaves absolutely no impact on the history of the galaxy, let alone the universe.
  • Mental Fusion/Assimilation Plot: A simbiotic race eventually replaces physical simbiosis with a mental one. Later civilizations have species-wide telepathy that grants them a shared consciousness. This later spreads to most of the universe.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Having become a part of the multigalactic overmind, the protagonist remains unaffected by the suffering of civilizations and individual beings, reasoning that their suffering ultimately serves a higher purpose. Yet he is horrified to find out that the Star Maker himself is just as indifferent to his own suffering for the very same reason.
  • Starfish Aliens: Literally. The Echinoderms are intelligent beings that evolved from a starfish-like creature. In general, the book describes a great many very bizarre life forms, including intelligent stars and nebulae.
  • The Empire: What some of the advanced civilizations end up as.
  • The Federation: What the other civilizations become.
  • The Multiverse: Some of the Star Maker's later creations consist of more than one universe.