Odd John
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Odd John

by Olaf Stapledon
Release date: 1935
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

In Odd John, a quarter-century before the debut of Stan Lee's X-Men, Olaf Stapledon invented the designation Homo superior.

Goblinish, huge-headed John Wainwright, having "finished" mathematics by age five as beneath his interest (a slight that must make mathematicians roll their eyes in frustration) concentrates on becoming as near as possible a normal English boy. He is, except for his genius, his forays outside law and custom, his secret scientific experiments, and his fascinated exploration of the foibles of Homo sapiens, the well-meaning but pitiable race from which he sprung.

Odd John is the story, told by his faithful biographer Fido (modeled perhaps on Stapledon himself) of John's struggle to establish himself as a being worthy of survival, and of his hunt for his own kind among a half-comprehending humanity.

(updated 2010-09-07)

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