Star Maker was a book written by Olaf Stapleton. The book concerns an Englishman's interstellar journey. The story was written, and the events of Earth set, in the time between World War I and World War II.
The main character, whose name is not given, starts out the story on a hill, considering his life, in relation to the cosmos. Particularly, how his atom of community relates to the rest of the cosmos. In so doing, he contemplates the Star Maker, and his works.
It is at this point that the story actually begins in earnest. The main character is taken off the hill, and given the ability to explore the universe; past, present, and future, as a dis-embodied viewpoint.
The beginning of the story recounts how the main character goes to Other Earth, and find he has the ability to enter into other minds, which allows him to explore the culture of Other Earth.
Afterwards, the main character, and the mind he entered, leave Other Earth, for other planets, which they explore. After some time, they come across other explorers, who they group up with.
During this portion of the book, the explorers observe many worlds who are in the same level of advancement as Earth. This is one of the most interesting, or boring, part of the book, depending on what you like. The main character describes all the worlds he visits, explains what the society is like, and the specific problems of that type of people. Many of these descriptions are actually very important in the end of the book, but some are just there to contemplate. Some people, like me, will like this, but some will find it boring.
This is the point in the book where Olaf Stapleton explores the idea of the communal mind. He explains how the main character is part of a communal mind, where he is both an individual, and just a part of the mind. I and We are interchanged, to emphasise the idea of the communal mind. This idea is one of the most prominent in the book.
The idea of the communal mind is explored in the most depth during the end of the book. The explorers have explore the universe though out time, and the main character recounts how most worlds would come across a major crisis, and either fail or succeed. This for Earth is World War I or World War II. If they succeed, they go on to form a communal or world mind.
During the latter parts of the book, most of the surviving worlds are communal minds. There is then a major war, which is stopped by a symbiotic race, who had been in a separate part of the galaxy, watching. They stop the war.
This is the point where the galactic mind is formed. This is a collection of all the world minds in the galaxy.
The stars then attack the worlds, and are eventually added to the galactic mind.
After that, the entire galaxy realizes it is running out of energy, because the stars were dying. The galactic mind begins to explore some of the other galaxies and add them to a cosmic mind. Somewhere around this time, the perspective of the book shifts to being the cosmic mind. This is somewhat annoying, since you get the feeling that the narrator, for some reason, has actually become the cosmic mind. Although this is not true he is in fact only a part, the feeling continues for the rest of the story.
The cosmic mind desperately tries to stay alive, and then, in a supreme moment of revelation, sees the Star Maker, and then is forced back down.
The main character then describes how we are neither the first or last cosmos the Star Maker has created. These descriptions are like the descriptions of worlds seen earlier in the book, but much less detailed.
The cosmic mind then goes on to try to stay alive, but fails, and eventualy dies.
One interesting point is how the author has both a pessimistic and optimistic view about the future. He feels that as a race, Humans will fail. But, he also feels that as a cosmos, we will succeed in our goal of meeting the Star Maker. But, he also sets this supreme moment of enlightenment at the end of the cosmos's life, giving it little time to contemplate the revelation.
In conclusion, the book is interesting, and poses some interesting ideas, like the communal mind, among others. But, it does so among many, at times annoying, descriptions. These descriptions both add and subtract from the story as a whole. Also, the authors romantic language can detract from the story as a whole.