HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Non-Stop (1958)

by Brian Aldiss

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2353111,465 (3.75)40
Non-Stop remains a brilliant and ground-breaking work of imagination. Curiosity was discouraged in the Greene tribe. It's members lived out their lives in cramped quarters, hacking away at the encroaching jungle called "the ponics." As to where they were--that had long ago been forgotten. But Roy Complain decides to find out, along with the renegade priest, Marapper. They move into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down. They meet mutants and giants, regimented rats, telepathic rabbits, and the fabled Outsiders. And they confront a secret kept hidden for twenty-three generations--a secret whose discovery will reveal their origins and destiny even as it destroys their world.… (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
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 40 mentions

English (26)  Danish (2)  Croatian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
I've seen this one pop up in several lists here and there and at a sale last year I could purchase the book for twice nothing, in a manner of speaking (writing). The story was originally published several decades ago and you can tell not only from the writing (which is actually very nice) and the ideas.

Everything takes place in space in what is called a generation ship, which is set out on a mission for many years to reach planet x or y and then return home. Whole societies are created on this ship, it's a world on its own, with tribes and different kinds of decks. Of course, there is also fauna and flora on board to help the people on board lead an as normal as possible life. And yet, not all decks are accessible to everyone.

You've got Quarters, Deadways, and Forwards. As you might imagine, there's an order of intelligence with Forwards being the most civilised of the group, also living a bit more comfortably than on the other decks.

Complain, Marapper (a priest), Fremour, Wantage, ... are the main characters. Marapper believes very much in the Teaching (a sort of religion), which is the Holy Word and what have you. His aim, however, is to obtain power, power over the ship to steer it "home". He manages to convince Complain and others to join him in his quest: seek the Control Room and take over command. Only, none of them ever went outside their allocated decks. This also means they have to, one way or another, fight their way onwards, deal with guards, ponics that have grown out of control, mutated animals, ...

They discover places and infrastructure completely unknown to them (like a swimming pool) and link this to divine beings or to natural creation. The pool is considered the sea, for example.

In the end, our fellowship gets captured by the "governing" people in Forwards, who are waging war against the Outsiders (living in Deadways), rebels of some sort living with mutations. The leader of the Outsiders is Gregg Complain, Roy Complain's brother. Yes, there's a little family reunion later on.

The Control Room is discovered, in an unorthodox manner, but apparently damaged beyond repair, which means the ship, which was set out for a duration of 23 generations (of people), can not be sent home. It's only after riots break out and during the fighting against the so-called Giants, who are regular humans maintaining the ship and its infrastructure, that Complain Marapper and co. realise they've been lied to, that they were part of a scientific project: people on board of the Big Dog, as the ship was called (Little Dog was the organisation on Earth, in charge of the project and ship), were ageing 4 times faster than on Earth, because of the bacteria in the water tanks and pipes.

The water tanks, while linked to a recycling system, were refiled with new/fresh water from the colonised planet several generations ago, but the security system that was to filter out all dangerous elements, was never updated, so it never recognised the hazardous elements from that planet's water. And so, one thing leads to another: animals drink the water, the water is used for the plants and growing of food, ... Not only humans are subject to this change, small animals like rodents also change, acquire intelligence and even manage to submit other animals to their will. Some creepy stuff here, especially when those rodents fight the humans.

In the end, after breaking down the ship's interior and seeking a way out and towards the Control Room, our fellowship - or those that remain - can really see space... AND Earth. Rejoice! One can go home and end the suffering, or sort of. It's ultimately the mutated moths that will finalise the destruction of the ship, making each compartment float on its own. Many people lost, others maybe floating back to Earth. Maybe. Thus ending the Long Journey, which was a euphemism for being dead, but was actually also part of the project: the ship was never to come home, never to land on Earth.


Non-Stop is a fairly quick read. The ideas (religion, experiencing civilisation through the eyes of a more primitive people, the impact of being trapped in space / in a confined space [as not all decks are accessible], the effect on one's growth and intelligence, and so on), make it a very worthwhile reading experience, although I found the book dragging a bit around/over halfway. Or maybe external circumstances negatively influenced my reading pleasure. As I wrote above, the writing was very nice. The characterisation and certain dialogues, however, were not always top. I'd say they're the weakest aspects of the book.

That said, despite the flaws, every SF-fan should give this book a chance. While not the same kind of story, it did remind me of a.o. [b:The Penultimate Truth|41064|The Penultimate Truth|Philip K. Dick|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1519091756s/41064.jpg|209478] (by [a:Philip K. Dick|4764|Philip K. Dick|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1264613853p2/4764.jpg]) and its contemporary version, the Silo Series (by [a:Hugh Howey|3064305|Hugh Howey|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1327581631p2/3064305.jpg]). Lyn, for example, also mentioned [b:Lord of the Flies|7624|Lord of the Flies|William Golding|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327869409s/7624.jpg|2766512] (by [a:William Golding|306|William Golding|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1198342496p2/306.jpg]) as possible source of inspiration. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
A thoroughly enjoyable generation ship story ( )
  Randulf | May 7, 2020 |
Regretfully need to use the For It's Time(trademark) preface, but this moves quickly, not simply in its mile-a-minute plot, but in its plotting, which was surprising given the moderately tedious syntaxing at play here (and the, I mean, just par for the course at this point, raging Horniness-Sexism Tornado), with some genuinely nice twist-y elements thrown in at the end. There's also, god forbid, a genuine structural critique of social scientific field methodology present within, in terms of the ambiguous to nefarious spectrum of the relationship between the studier and the studied here. ( )
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 9, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Aldissprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bing, JonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bing, JonTranslatorsecondary 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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)
First words
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Also published as 'Non-Stop'.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Non-Stop remains a brilliant and ground-breaking work of imagination. Curiosity was discouraged in the Greene tribe. It's members lived out their lives in cramped quarters, hacking away at the encroaching jungle called "the ponics." As to where they were--that had long ago been forgotten. But Roy Complain decides to find out, along with the renegade priest, Marapper. They move into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down. They meet mutants and giants, regimented rats, telepathic rabbits, and the fabled Outsiders. And they confront a secret kept hidden for twenty-three generations--a secret whose discovery will reveal their origins and destiny even as it destroys their world.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.75)
0.5
1 5
1.5
2 12
2.5 8
3 49
3.5 28
4 98
4.5 15
5 42

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 154,627,696 books! | Top bar: Always visible