A controversial part of the book depicts humans, in the far-off future, escaping the dying Earth and settling on Venus - in the process totally exterminating its native inhabitants, an intelligent marine species. Stapledon's book has been interpreted by some as condoning such interplanetary genocide as a justified act if necessary for racial survival, though a number of Stapledon's partisans denied that such was his intention, arguing instead that Stapledon was merely showing that although mankind had advanced in a number of ways in the future, at bottom it still possessed the same capacity for savagery as it has always had.
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About the Author
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.