William Olaf Stapledon, (1886-1950) was a British author of several works of Science Fiction, including Last and First Men (1930), which influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Odd John (1936), Star Maker (1937) and Sirius (1944). Although his work predated the appearance of the word "transhuman" in 1966, the transhuman condition and superminds composed of many individual consciousnesses form recurring themes in his work. Star Maker also contained the first known description of Dyson spheres, and indeed Freeman Dyson credits this novel which with giving him the idea.
Stapledon lectured in English literature, industrial history, psychology and philosophy.
During World War I he served with the Friends' Ambulance Unit, from 1915 to 1919.