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Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss
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Non-Stop (1958)

by Brian Aldiss

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1272711,263 (3.73)37
Curiosity was discouraged in the Greene tribe. Its members lived out their lives in cramped Quarters, hacking away at the encroaching ponics. As to where they were - that was forgotten. Roy Complain decides to find out. With the renegade priest Marapper, he moves into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down ... Non-Stop is the classic SF novel of discovery and exploration; a brilliant evocation of a familiar setting seen through the eyes of a primitive.… (more)
  1. 00
    Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (jigarpatel)
    jigarpatel: "Non-Stop" (1958) is a well-developed successor to Heinlein's fix-up "Orphans of the Sky" (whose components were first published 1941). I recommend "Non-Stop" for plot and characterization, "Orphans of the Sky" for those interested in the development of science fiction. Both are excellent.… (more)
  2. 00
    Captive Universe by Harry Harrison (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Similar premise
  3. 00
    Chill by Elizabeth Bear (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are very baroque, dark, novels set in generation starships
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» See also 37 mentions

English (23)  Danish (2)  Croatian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Non-Stop is a short book by today’s standards: only 160 pages in a pocket edition. Yet it manages to cram quite a lot of content in its small space: a nice analogy for a book about a generational starship.

Some claim giving that away is spoiling it, but the knowledge is out in the open on page 21, and the book was published in the US as Starship.

Non-Stop/Starship is the debut novel of Brian Wilson Aldiss, and one that left me wanting to read more of his work.

The book is not entirely without problems. It’s partly 50ies pulp, especially in the character department. Today’s readers might complain about a lack of depth or character development. Yet to do so would be the result of superficial reading. Indeed, there’s only 160 pages, and Non-Stop generally focuses on plot, so drawing complex characters wasn’t Aldiss’s main intention. There’s simply not enough room for it. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. Consider the very first two sentences – great, great lines by the way.

Like a radar echo bounding from a distant object and returning to its source, the sound of Roy Complain’s beating heart seemed to him to fill the clearing. He stood with one hand on the threshold of his compartment, listening to the rage hammering through his arteries.

It’s in passages like this, often almost hidden, Aldiss manages to say profound things about being human – namely, about humans being bodies. Spread throughout the novel there are similar observations – about love and feelings too. What more character depth do you want? Is “being a body” flawed enough for today’s crowd?

There are some other small problems too, but lets not dwell on those. Non-Stop is a very rich book – I made 4 pages of notes, a ton for such a short book – and this review wouldn’t do it justice if I start nitpicking. I won’t elaborate on all the book’s goodies either, but focus on two big -isms: postcolonialism & existentialism.

(...)

Full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
1 vote bormgans | May 6, 2017 |
Classic story of a overdue generation starship... ( )
  AlanPoulter | Feb 15, 2017 |
Brilliant piece of sci-fi writing ( )
  grlewry | Sep 22, 2016 |
Basically it is about this guy, Roy Complain, living in a tribe, not knowing much about the world he lives in. The story's like an onion: you peal off one layer and get to another - each time you have your question answered, you get to another, it does not have one dull moment.
At the beginning of the first chapter there are some people playing a game called Travel-Up - the entire book is like that game - you complete one level , you travel-up to the next one.
Possibly the ending may not be as good as the first part of the book and I had a little problem with the rat invasion', but for me the ending was satisfactory and delivered the answers.

All in all, I loved the writing and I'd read another Aldiiss book anytime.

" ( )
1 vote LauraM77 | Jun 28, 2016 |
the book was a little hard to get into at first but then got more interesting. There were a couple of surprises in the conclusion of the story. ( )
  bhabeck | Mar 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Aldissprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bing, JonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bing, JonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gambino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haars, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It is safer for a novelist to choose as his subject something he feels about than something he knows about.
--L.P. Hartley
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive...
R. L. Stevenson
Dedication
for who else but Ted Carnell, Editor of New Worlds and Science Fantasy and starter of Non-Stop
In affectionate memory of

TED CARNELL, Editor of New Worlds and Science Fantasy and starter of Non-Stop (2000 edition)
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Like a radar echo bounding from a distant object and returning to its source, the sound of Roy Complain's beating heart seemed to him to fill the clearing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Also published as 'Non-Stop'.
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