Saturday, 27 August 2016


I said he was eerie and he speaks with " eerie hiss." (Operation Luna, p. 353)

Ginny negotiates with Mimir by quoting Shakespeare! In exchange for advice, he wants an eye such as Odin gave. Ginny replies that she asks less than Odin and that an eye would have to mean an eye alone without any blood. She also arouses Mimir's interest by serving him coffee.

"'This they quaff not in Valhalla!'" (p. 358)

Her gifts to Mimir are from outside the Nine Worlds, Native American carved images and an unfamiliar kind of rhyming verse:

"'Mimir who dwells by the Well
"'Is the wisest twixt Heaven and Hell.
"'Since his head lacks two hands,
"'A heart and some glands,
"'It more thoroughly thinks, I can tell.'" (p. 357)

IN CS Lewis' That Hideous Strength, evil scientists link a guillotined murderer's head to machinery and keep it functioning but the intelligence that speaks through the head is a demon, not the murderer. One of Olaf Stapledon's future human races creates its own successor, a race whose members consist of giant disembodied brains, each housed in an entire building. The idea is that this race will practice thought undistracted by bodily needs. However, these "men" lack feeling and insight. Thus, it becomes necessary to create yet another embodied race although with larger brains than before. When I overcome breakfast indolence, I will go upstairs to consult Last And First Men and check which races of Men we are talking about. (They were still on Earth, not yet on Venus or Neptune.)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Do you remember Larry Niven's stories featuring corpsicles and organlegging? Well, there actually are people who had themselves frozen at the immediate moment of death in the hope of being revived later when a cure for their illnesses was found. Some go so far as to not bother with the bodies but have only their HEADS cryogenically frozen. Real world Mimers!


Lee said...

In Last and First men, the disembodied brains were the Fourth men, who for a time enslaved their creators the Third Men by telepathically controlling them. They created the Fifth Men as successors to themselves--large brained but able to move around in the world and interact with it. The Fifth Men were the last human species on Earth. It was this species that had to relocate to Venus.

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you for this update on Stapledon!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Lee!

Alas, I've not read Stapledon's FIRST AND LAST MEN, only his SIRIUS and ODD JOHN.


Paul Shackley said...

LAST AND FIRST MEN, not FIRST AND LAST... The narrator, one of the Last Men, mentally time travels to our period, that of the First Men. He inspires one of the First Men to write a history of the future. This author thinks that he is writing fiction and indeed distorts most of the information that he receives. As I have said recently, the narrative process can be extremely mysterious.