Death Into Life
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Death into Life is a 1946 novel by Olaf Stapledon. Not strictly science fiction (the genre into which Stapledon's works are usually classified), the novel is described as "an imaginative treatment of the problem of survival after death". It deals primarily with the soul of a rear gunner who is killed in World War II, and who finds himself surviving his apparent death - first as part of a spirit bomber-crew, then as part of the spirits who were killed in the battle, and so on until finally his soul becomes part of a 'cosmical spirit'.
The book was the second to last work of Stapledon's fiction to be published during the author's lifetime. In nations with "life + 70 years" copyright regimes, Stapledon's published works will be in the public domain from 2020. Death into Life was not as yet made into a film or Television adaptation, but this may change after 2020.
he peered beyond the outermost planet, probing the constellations. Seen through mankind’s telescopes, the pin-pricked blackness became a blackness thick-laid with dust of diamonds, with here and there a larger brilliant or some great dazzling gem. But even the least was a star, a sun. Immobile, fixed, inert they seemed; but well he knew how, squadron upon squadron, the great suns flowed and voyaged. And all of them together (how well he knew it) formed a vast whirl of sparks, each solitary as a
plain, a little stream lay like a faint scribble, one among many, glimpsed through the haze. And this little stream, one of many, the spirit of Man recognized as his own home-universe of space and time, and of many-worlded galaxies. To us, in our more intimate and temporal experience, our universe is instinct with life and change; yet from the viewpoint of eternity’s foothills it was fixed, complete, with all its surging ćons equally present. Seeking a nearer view, the spirit of Man had swooped
or more the races of the solar planets perfected their societies and embellished their cultures. But in the end they too, like the original terrestrial mankind, reached stability, and entered upon a long phase of ritual living. The spirit of Man, now the mature spirit of six diverse worlds, foresaw once more the creeping death that stagnation promised. Once more he gazed outward toward the stars. All the psychical insight of the six worlds had failed to make contact by any psychic technique with
future planets. And here and there among these new worlds sprang life; and here and there, spirit. One by one the galaxies matured. More and more of the minded worlds made psychic contact with each other across the deserts of space; or rather they probed psychically down into their own nature till they reached their hidden unity of spirit. And in their diversity, and their underlying identity of spirit, the cosmical community grew ever richer in experience and more single in purpose. And in this
individual should be knit inwardly by sensitive love into the lives of some few diverse others, and by far-flung threads of comradeship into the whole life of his world, and of the cosmical community; and that the cosmical spirit should preside unquestioned in every mind, and be the single experience of the whole cosmical community, fulfilled in knowledge and in love. But the life of the cosmos could not last for ever. Even as each minded world, each man and woman, each little fly and moth, must