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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  5,060 ratings  ·  256 reviews
Brian Aldiss. Starship. New York: Criterion Books, 1959. First American edition. Octavo. 256 pages. Publisher's cloth and dust jacket.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published 1959 by New York: Criterion Books (first published 1958)
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3.86  · 
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 ·  5,060 ratings  ·  256 reviews

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Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non-Stop, Brian Aldiss’ 1958 publication is a story about feral people aboard a generational ship.

The idea of a generational ship – where a sub-light speed vehicle must transverse such a distance in space that the destination will not be reached by the underway crew, but a second or later generation – has been the stuff of fine science fiction for decades. Methuselah's Children and Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein are two examples and Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero is a similar variation. Writ
Dirk Grobbelaar
Well, to be completely honest, I dislike the way this book’s big reveal / premise is discussed so openly, since it is integral to enjoying the impact of the story. In fact, I’m thinking that’s one of the reasons why the title was changed to Non-Stop, so as to not give the game away.

And now that I’m at paragraph two, I realise just how difficult it is to actually write a review about this book, without dropping that bomb!

I really like Non-Stop and I’ve always been meaning to read more Aldiss, but
Now I am a big fan of “generation ship” sagas and although this was probably, back in the dim and distant past, the first I ever read of that genre, to me it is still far and away the best.
Mr Aldiss brings the characters and the ‘ponics to life for me. I hunt with them through the corridors of “the ship” and share their lives as they go in search of answers.
It must be over 30 years since I (first) read this book and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then , but to me this book wa
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“Only a technological age could condemn unborn generations to exist in it, as if man were mere protoplasm, without emotion or aspiration.”

That is an implication of a generation ship I never considered. In the absence of a FTL drive, a generation ship is one of the most viable solutions for interstellar travel. It would be a very grand ambition, a triumph of science and engineering. On the other hand, there is likely to be a dehumanizing effect on the inhabitants who have to spend their entire li
Paul Bryant
A quote from The Twinkling of an Eye, Brian Aldiss' autobiography:

Faber published the book in 1958. Its publication brought in enough money to enable me to buy my own typewriter. That Swiss Hermes portable and I lved on intimate terms for many a year; I used it as a pillow on more than one occasion.


I thought well, this can’t be literature because I am having fun reading it, unlike if I was reading say for instance Burroughs, Bellow, Barth, Banville, Bernhard and other people not begin
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
When Space Holidays Go Wrong could be the alternative title of a great many works of Science Fiction. It seems to me that almost no-one, in any alternate imagined universe, no matter how enlightened or advanced, can arrange an event-free journey from one world to another. If the ship involved doesn’t break down in an abandoned sector of space then its air filters will fail to weed out a cloud of gender-altering spores or the onboard AI will go HAL 9000 and start a hunger games style tournament a ...more
A small note. This is not "Technically" one of the 100 must read sci-fi novels as formulated in the Bloomsbury goodreading guide of that name. I had technical and financial difficulties in obtaining the book said list selected for Brian Aldiss ("Hothouse") and instead looked into the "Read On" choices of further titles of note by this author. This was the first one listed, was obtainable, and was infact his first book, so I read it just to get the ball rolling on this project. Ok, now on to the ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
A mad literary experiment gone horribly right, the details of which can't be adumbrated much since the novel contains so many revelations as to be eminently spoilable, Non-Stop parachutes the reader into the heart of ignorance and darkness. The only hero among his jungle tribe, a welter of superstitious folk knowledge and unaccountable futuristic technology, is a hunter by trade and a questioner by disposition who senses the paradox of his environment and yearns for a greater purpose. His ventur ...more
Miloș Dumbraci
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually loved it (except the ending, mixed feeling about it), even though it is rather an exuberant and hyperactive book than a really good one. IT IS though scifi in its most classic sense (there are lush dangerous jungles! adventures! kidnappings of women and tough men growling, even mutant bandits! dazers and lasers fights! rats on sleds armed with swords - wait, what!?!)... and a captivating one at that.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was the first novel published by Brian Aldiss, titled Non-Stop in his native Britain. The US title, Starship, rather gives away the surprise of the first section of the book, and the many reviews available give away most of the rest. Fortunately I encountered neither sources before reading, and rather enjoyed this story.

The main character is a rough-and-ready sort who adapts quite well to the situations he encounters. Halfway through he meets an excellent female character, well written and
Jeremy Adam
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just read this on the beach on Fire Island. I'm a big fan of Brian Aldiss, though I admit he's a spotty writer. The premise--of a generation ship whose crew has forgotten that they are on a starship--is terrific, and it's wonderfully thought-through and very well plotted. This book is also distinguished by having a strong, three-dimensional female character, which is unusual for the science fiction of the late 1950s. On the negative side, some of the writing is clumsy and the ending is a bit a ...more
One of the early generation ship stories (1958), this one centered on a young man in a tribe that's unaware they are even in a spaceship, except for a cantankerous priest who's found some old records and decided they should go find the legendary control room. Along the journey, they learn more of the back story of the floundering expedition. Interesting overall story, a couple of nice characters, solid resolution.
Rob Thompson
My review of the book: Non-Stop by Brian W. Aldiss. As ever, I'm not going to provide a summary of the story itself, rather this review will highlight some of the themes and aspects of the book which stood out for me personally.

Firstly, to understand the early weird chapters of the novel the reader has to have an understanding of the context in which the story is set. Most of this is on the back cover blurb (and the various covers published over the years kind of give the game away) but to reite
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The generation ship is not an uncommon trope in science fiction novels, but I can't remember having read one lately. Imagine discovering that the world you inhabit is really a ship bound for who-knows-where. The possibilities are boundless. Non-stop is how the characters in Brian Aldiss's book describe the journey of the space ship in which they discover they live. And then all hell breaks loose. Non-Stop, written in 1958, won no prestigious science fiction book awards. It certainly deserved to. ...more
Holy crap, what a mind-frell! OK, so, somehow I never heard of this one growing up. I first heard it mentioned as one of the books that heavily inspired the "Metamorphosis Alpha" RPG way back in the day, and the "Mutant Crawl Classics RPG" now. I knew the basic plot going in - people on an interstellar generational ship descended into a state of barbarism and savagery, not really realizing that their world is an artificial starship, until somehow the truth is revealed. I didn't expect it to be ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
With his first novel, Aldiss created a society that has evolved after 23 generations lost in space on an enormous ship bound home from a colonizing mission centuries before. The Greene Tribe are little more than savages, following The Teachings that mostly promote self-interest and superstitious fear. The Greenes, who live in the Quarters, a jungle infested with rampant hydroponic plants and waves of midges, know vaguely of The Forwards, another, more advanced society, But there are also the Gia ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This 1959 story is a classic generation ship sf story. It's not typical of what I have come to expect from later Brian Aldiss, but rather a straight-forward adventure story of the discovery of on-ship reality. I did enjoy it.
Lubinka Dimitrova
Always love a good twist in the end!

I have been collecting the SF Masterworks and have only now decided to start reading them. Non-Stop is the first and it really kicks this off with a bang. Brian Aldiss has created a layered book in 4 sections that will leave you with a kick to the stomach for the conclusion. I had my predictions for the conclusion but not one of them was correct, it was one of the those clever mysteries that is revealed in the final chapter of the book.

Brian Aldiss has created a sci fi classic here. The writin
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for the SF Masterworks Reading Challenge and the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club.

This was an extremely interesting book. A generation ship suffers a major plague, and the resulting society changes, to the point where the descendants of the original crew lack the technology to even be certain that they're on a ship; or, if they do realize this, they think that all worlds are ships. The protagonist, Roy Complain, is dissatisfied with his simple hunter's existence in the forests of the "
Ira Therebel
This is the first book that Brian Aldiss wrote, and the first by him that I read. And I must say that I am very impressed. I hope to read more by this author.

The book takes place on a generational ship. It is about the generation living long after the journey began an they don't even know they are on board of a ship. The story follows their discoveries and adventures.

The story is very fast paced, it is indeed non stop. There is always something happening, new twists and a lot of action. The char
Joe Santoro
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft_sf
This was Aldiss' first novel.. and I know I like some of his others, so I had high hopes. It's a cool concept.. a multi-generational ship has gone wrong, and the survivors live aboard the runaway ship, which has become a world of itself. They have this strange defeatist non-religion sorta based on the foundations of psychoanalysis (Freud and such). The main character, Roy Complain, goes on a quest to find meaning in his life and discovers both the history of his 'world' and the reality of it.

DeAnna Knippling
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a book. It's an Ur-book, a book that comes before the books that you know. The thing which creates a pattern.

Actually, I don't know that that's really the case, but that's what it feels like, as with all the Brian Aldiss books that I've read: he creates not just worlds, but patterns for worlds. Here, the interstellar generation ship that nobody really knows is a generation ship.

In the end, the whole plot is an excuse to explore the setting--and the ways it can change. But the writin
May 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all SF fans
Shelves: science-fiction
If you still plan to read the book, skip the reviews you can find on the internet. They contain some spoilers that are better avoided.

I liked the book very much. The setting is strange and the secrets are slowly revealed. The characters are carefully set up and my only complain is that their development wasn't realistic enough at the end of the book.

Anyway, a good classic that is still a lot of fun to read. The Millenium SF Masterworks series is truly a remarkable series that doesn't disappoint
John Doez
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Lately, I dont get hooked into classics. Specially sci-fi classics. Sometimes I know the ideas by heart from scratch. Sometimes I have read several books with the same topics. I know it is not their problem but mine. They are wonderful. Some of them, masterpieces, but I get bored with them.

That didnt happened to me with "Non-stop". I supposed more or less what was going on from the very beginning even without having read reviews that contained spoilers. However I was always curious about the cha
Jose Moa
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The paradigma book on genarational interestelar ships , the best
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 s
Jonathan Norton
Jolly old romp around in a lost spaceship where everything's gone to pot. Of course this plot has been flogged to death since then and the twists are comfortably predictable, but it was fresh when Brian did it back in the mid 50s and he did it pretty well.
Jorge Williams
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Definitely one of my all time favourite sci-fi stories. Hard to believe it was written back in 58, guess that makes it timeless ;)
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss was one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative lite