William Olaf Stapledon (1886¿1950) was an English novelist and philosopher whose "histories of the future" are a major influence on contemporary science fiction. He received a Ph.D. in philosophy and psychology. In 1929, he published A Modern Theory of Ethics and seemed destined for an academic career. However, after the success of his novel Last and First Men, he turned to fiction. His popular books include The Last Men in London, Odd John, Philosophy and Living, Star Maker, and Sirius.