Last Men in London

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Last Men in London
First edition
Author Olaf Stapledon
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Science fiction
Published 1932 (Methuen Publishing)
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)

Last Men in London (1932) is a science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon.

The narrator is the same member of the eighteenth and final human species who purportedly induced Stapledon to write Last and First Men. Last Men in London is the story of this being's exploration of the consciousness of a present-day Englishman named Paul, from childhood through service with an ambulance crew in the First World War (mirroring Stapledon's own personal history) to adult life as a schoolteacher faced with a "submerged superman" in his class nicknamed Humpty. The inadequacies of Paul's character, the various dilemmas he has to face during his life, and the occasional influence of the advanced being who shares his experiences, provide Stapledon with a semi-autobiographical platform on which to expound his philosophical and moral beliefs.

The book includes a piece of satire on sexual morality. An unspecified future human species (one of the Eighteenth Men's predecessors on Neptune) is presented as having an attitude to nutrition analogous to the First Men's sexual puritanism. Hence they invent mouth aprons and food privies, while having sex in public.


  1. The World of the Last Men
    1. Holiday on Neptune
    2. Men and Man
    3. Biographical Note
  2. Exploring the Past
    1. The Portal to the Past
    2. Difficulties and Dangers
    3. Influencing Past Minds
    4. Hovering over Time
    5. Descent among the First Men
    6. In the Streets of London
  3. The Child Paul
    1. Paul and his Neptunian Parasite
    2. The Child Paul
    3. Early Experiments on Paul
    4. Paul's Changing World
  4. Paul Comes of Age
    1. Paul and Sex
    2. Paul Devout
    3. Paul Faces the Facts
  5. Origins of the European War
    1. The Neptunian Attitude to the War
    2. The Philosophical Lemurs
    3. Prehistoric Origins of the War
    4. The Historical Period
  6. The War
    1. Europe before the War
    2. Europe Chooses War
    3. Europe at War
    4. Paul in the War
  7. After the War
    1. The New Hope
    2. Paul Gathers up the Threads
    3. Paul Comes to Terms with Woman
    4. London and the Spirit
  8. The Modern World
    1. Paul Undertakes his Task
    2. The Research
    3. Fruits of the Research
    4. Paul Settles Down
  9. On Earth and on Neptune
    1. Submerged Supermen
    2. Paul and Humpty
    3. Back to Neptune
    4. Epilogue by the Terrestrial Author of this Book

In popular culture[edit]

  • Mistaken references to the title of this work as Last Man in London may have given rise to the persistent myth that George Orwell was influenced by it when naming his novel The Last Man in Europe, which was later retitled and is now known as Nineteen Eighty-Four.[citation needed]

External links[edit]