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Tayler, J Lionel

Entry updated 2 February 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1874-1930) UK medical doctor, teacher, minister and author whose remarkable Future History, The Last of My Race: A Dream of the Future (1924), has perhaps suffered through its being structured as a dream. Without its debilitating conclusion, the narrative reads as a worthy precursor of the cosmic histories soon to be composed by Olaf Stapledon. After awakening from Suspended Animation (see Sleeper Awakes), the twentieth-century narrator finds himself, three hundred millennia hence, in a world whose multiple transformations are grounded in unending Evolution. At first he is beguiled by the Androids who serve him, and the animate house that caters to his needs; but he is soon instructed by a Superman – who describes himself as an example of true Homo sapiens and the narrator as the last surviving example of Homo ignorans – that the inexorable improvement of species has so transfigured the outside world that its psychological effect on the narrator, if he stepped outdoors, would be fatal. Representatives of Homo sapiens, though multiply diversified, are themselves gradually being displaced by Homo minimus, large-headed, fragile but implacably aware entities whose appearance (though not their behaviour) seems to derive from the Selenites in H G Wells's The First Men in the Moon (1901). Sadly, Tayler stopped there. [JC]

John Lionel Tayler

born 1874

died 31 January 1930

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