Olaf Stapledon (1886 - 1950)
William Olaf Stapledon was born near Liverpool in 1886. He read history at Oxford, where he obtained a BA and an MA. During the First World War, he served as a conscientious objector with an ambulance unit in France and Belgium. After the war he was awarded a PhD in philosophy from the University of Liverpool. A full-time writer from the early 1930's, Olaf Stapledon produced a concentrated body of work that had - and continues to have - an extraordinary influence on the genre of science fiction. In addition to inspiring or influencing writers such as Brian Aldiss, Stephen Baxter, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanislaw Lem, Stapledon's work gave the field such enduring tropes as hive minds, Dyson spheres, genetic engineering and terraforming. It is arguable that only H. G. Wells has made a more significant contribution to the field. Olaf Stapledon died in 1950.
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