Odd John -- a Story Between Jest and Earnest by William Olaf Stapledon

By William Olaf Stapledon

Peculiar John: a narrative among Jest and Earnest
by William Olaf Stapledon

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But he's not human in the full sense, even according to the standards of Homo sapiens. He's not really grown up. And so, though he doesn't know it, the poor man is all at sea when he comes up against really grown-up people. For instance, in spite of his modern pictures, he hasn't a notion what art is after, though he thinks he has. And he knows less of philosophy, real philosophy, than an ostrich knows about the upper air. You can't blame him. His wings just wouldn't carry his big fleshy pedestrian mind.

After all, he had good reason to trust his own judgment rather than mine. And he gave evidence that he had gone into the subject thoroughly, both by reading the financial journals and by ingratiating himself with local stockbrokers on the morning and evening trains to town. He had by now passed far beyond the naive child that had interviewed Mr. Magnate, and he was, as ever, an adept at making people talk about their own work. "It's now or never," he said. "We're entering a boom, inevitable after the war; but in a few years we shall be in the midst of such a slump that people will wonder if civilization is going smash.

Of course, I know all Communists are not religious, some are merely—well, like that bloody little man the other day. But this fellow is religious. And so was Lenin, I guess. It's not enough to say his root motive was desire to avenge his brother. In a sense that's true. " I queried. "The Reverend Gentleman? Oh, him! Well, he's religious in about the same sense as firelight is sunshine.

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