Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Greybeard” as Want to Read:
Greybeard
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Greybeard

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,136 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on theselves. Was slighty revised.
Paperback, 207 pages
Published January 2nd 1980 by Roc (first published 1964)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Greybeard, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Greybeard

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves. Was slighty revised by the author in 2012.

My Review: First published in 1964, at the tail end of one of the scariest passages during the Cold War, this post-apocalyptic look at the resilience and the lack of same in the human spirit was
...more
Paul Bryant
Author’s fear of nuclear radiation PLUS author’s recent divorce and consequent lack of contact with his own children PLUS author’s horror of stoats (stoats? Stoats!!)



= Greybeard, a moony mournful meandering dystopian very British SF novel from 1964.
The concept is that atomic tests made in space in 1981 radiated the entire planet and caused the higher mammals (except reindeer - Reindeer? Reindeer!!)



to become sterile. A bit like - actually quite a lot like - P D James’ 1992 novel Children of Men
...more
Simon
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-masterworks, sf
This is a story of one man's attempt to survive in a post apocalyptic world.

Post apocalyptic stories seem to fall into one of two categories. Either humanity is humbled by some huge disaster that nature has thrown at us or else humanity is the victim of its own foolishness, a disaster of its own making. This story falls very much in the latter category.

The nature of the catastrophe is this: An accident whilst nuclear testing in space has somehow raised the radiation level on earth to the extent
...more
James
Waterstones had a display of books set in London and we bought a few. I think this is the last one I had left to read, only to discover that the book isn't set in London at all. London features heavily in the book as somewhere they want to get to — in fact they want to get through London and out to the coast — but starting west of London they never quite make it. That said, their quest to reach London still makes the city feel like a character. Just out of scene, aspirational, but a character th ...more
Veeral
This book's theme is very much similar to "The Children of Men" by P. D. James or more correctly it is the other way round as this book was published before "The Children of Men". I haven't read the latter though as there is a general consent out there that the movie for once was better than the book. And having watched the fantastic movie starring brilliant and underrated Clive Owen, I have no plans to read the novel by P. D. James.

Now coming back to this book's review, I could only say that it
...more
Rog Pile
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The time is the early twenty-first century, and humankind is dying, the entire race rendered sterile by an atomic 'accident' in 1981. Greybeard, barely yet sixty, is one of the youngest men alive. The story opens in the village of Sparcot on the Thames, where Big Jim Mole governs a ramshackle community of oldsters, eking out a living by farming, poaching (though who there is to poach from is not clear) and occasionally exacting a toll from travelers who attempt to take a boat under the Sparcot b ...more
Elise
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was similar to P.D Jame's novel "The Children of Men" only it was written in 1964. Though many of the conclusions were the same, the feeling of each was very different. I liked them both, though Aldiss's book had us flying in hover cars by now. Tell me, where are the hover cars?
Charles Dee Mitchell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Hodder
Initially, I couldn’t properly engage with this, despite my admiration of Aldiss’s style. It felt remorselessly pessimistic and the characters just didn’t click with me. Then, exactly halfway through, I suddenly felt invested, and enjoyed the rest of it through to the end. GREYBEARD is frequently listed as one of the great sci-fi novels. Personally, I don’t count it even as Aldiss’s best. Maybe reading about the loss of children doesn’t resonate when you have two 2-year-olds running around!
Stephen Curran
In an England increasingly overrun by vicious stoats and coypu, where the tribal and elderly population fret about gnomes hiding in the forests, Greybeard and Martha decide to leave their settlement and climb aboard a boat. As they take their long, slow journey in search of the mouth of the Thames (encountering conmen and showmen and scholars, and a hermit who believes his family has successfully procreated with badgers) the narrative jumps further and further back in time, eventually arriving i ...more
Chris
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Algy Timberlane, now called Greybeard, is one of the youngest men in the world at the age of 56. Within his lifetime, Greybeard lived through the Accident that sterilized most higher mammals, fought in the wars over the remaining children of earth. For the past few decades he’s been living in an England where government has collapsed and reverted back to isolated societies. With his wife Martha and a few others, Greybeard escapes a paranoid village to travel along the Thames. They pass through t ...more
Larry
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago, or tried to but I didnt get it at the time and probably didnt finish it back then. This time however I found it very enjoyable!

Basically the book is set in about the 2030s, 50 years after a nuclear accident when bombs were set off in space, causing a catastrophic disruption in the Van Allen belts that surround the Earth and protect us from solar radiation.. The 'accident' resulted in this radiation from the sun briefly reaching the Earth, rendering the human ace sterile. A
...more
itpdx
Apr 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Good post-apocalyptic science fiction.
Published in the mid-60's and set in Britain around 2030 with visits back over the past 50 years. A nuclear "accident" happened in 1981 causing sterilization of many species of higher animals including man. Few children have been born and most of those have had terrible mutations. Wars and revolutions have broken out and civilization has disintegrated and aged. The main character, Greybeard, has taken part in two hopeful human initiatives--trying to save th
...more
Joshua
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
What is my fascination with the apocalyptic theme? Is it a macabre interest in the decimation of mankind or just a desire for a simpler world (a simpler world only able to be created through the destruction of this complexity)? Who’s to say? I can tell you that I know my interest in apocalyptic literature--as well as films, music, and videogames--is tied heavily to my interest in the Medieval period, especially the Early Middle Ages--notoriously and erroneously known as the Dark Ages--and the Bl ...more
Norman
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is my first Aldiss, to my remembrance! I found the writing easy to follow, the scenarios are drawn so I can see them. The characters well described. The story here concerns creeping old age. No children (well, not quite) are being born and we follow Greybeard through his adventures down the Thames but also through his reminiscences. The story flashes back and to the present and fills in Greybeard and wife's back story.
But all of this does not describe the effect on me. Stop and ponder. NO C
...more
Noel Coughlan
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
The world is going out with a whimper instead of a bang. The entire human race is pretty much sterile due to a nuclear accident. More large animals, except reindeer have suffered the same fate, while other small animals thrive to the point of being a threat. Civilization despairs and collapses, but after a period of barbarity, the apocalypse mellows into something more genteel if still dangerous. The eponymous hero, Algy Timberlane, and his wife Martha flee the village they have sheltered in for ...more
Zantaeus Glom
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-sf
Another thoroughly absorbing and wonderfully literate work by SF Master Brian Aldiss. While dealing with an almost unbearably maudlin premise; our world made infertile by the ill-considered detonation of Atomic warheads in the earth's atmosphere; Aldiss writes so well, and with such sublime humanity, that one can't help but feel rather optimistic about the recuperative powers of man.

Each zesty, colorful vignette is beautifully realized by Aldiss, and one is quickly immersed in the wholly absorb
...more
Johnna Sturgeon
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A disturbing evocation of a future in which the human race, following a series of nuclear tests gone awry, has been rendered universally barren. Human society collapses in the absence of any hope of future generations and the survivors mostly sink into a kind of madness born of despair. But at the end, it seems there is a glimmer of hope and humanity has actually been presented with a chance to reset "civilization" and break free of the corrupt systems of power and money that led to the ecocide ...more
Vincent Desjardins
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This book has an interesting premise - because of a nuclear accident in the earth's atmosphere, radiation has rendered most men and women sterile. When it becomes apparent that no more children will be born, wars are fought over the remaining children and society begins to collapse. The story, set many years after the accident follows a small band of men and women, now in their senior years, who are traveling down a river looking for other civilized settlements. At a little over 200 pages, the b ...more
Olethros
-Producto de su tiempo pero con estilo poco común entonces y ahora.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el 2029, en el pueblo inglés de Sparcot, se han ido reuniendo diferentes grupos de supervivientes tras la guerra que cambió el mundo hace ya muchos años. Desde entonces, los recién nacidos ya no se ven mientras que los hombres envejecen poco a poco. Algernon Timberlane, más conocido como Barbagrís, lleva allí con su esposa desde hace once años, pero una serie de acontecimientos le h
...more
Thom
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Unlike many post apocalyptic tales, this one is told from the perspective of one man and in one chapter his wife. Together they face the end of humanity and this balanced perspective is different than the many similar books in this genre. The other characters in the book are also well written and interesting.

There are just 6 long chapters here, each one tale in the life. Two of them are flash backs, and it is only here that we pick up the details of the disaster that led to this situation. Reall
...more
Paula
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A post-apocalypic novel set in England and written in the early 60s. I'm always so happy to know that what these writers foresaw for our present time has, by no means, come to pass. In Greybeard, an 'accident' (nuclear war) has made the entire population sterile, except for a few random people who give birth to children with major deformities. The entire population is aging, with little hope for the survival of mankind. The title character, Greybeard, is actually about my age, but is considered ...more
Martina
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A harrowing vision of a world terribly gone wrong. The sadness and melancholy pervading the narrative are palpable. This is not a novel where a lot goes on - it's filled with reminiscences and beautiful descriptions of nature, which, unlike the human race, beats on. Yes, "Greybeard" is filled with misanthropy and cynicism, but not to the brim. There is still some hope there, as feeble as it might be.
Rosaleen Lynch
This post apocalyptic novel written in 1964 makes more sense when you find out that the author is mourning the loss of his youth, his relationship and his children. Had I read the introduction I might have been prepared for the penning of this bleak landscape of the human condition. Hope is sought in the form of new generations but extinction is on the cards for humans. And in the end, come what may, we all face our own personal extinction.
Chip
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting post-apocalyptic in which nuclear bombs exploded in space cause the complete sterilization of all large mammals including man. It interweaves a story of husband and wife, as well as other characters, with engaging present and past based chapters. All are struggling in male led deteriorating societies. Though depressing at times (especially as more people die of old age with little hope), the characters and story are written well.
Jolieg G
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Gelezen in het Nederlands "In de nadagen"


Een sf boek wat ik de moeite van het lezen waard vond.
Geen ruimtewezens of wat dan ook...
Het is een boek uit 1965 en heeft 227 pagina,s.
In 1981 vindt er een kernontploffing plaats in de ruimte, de bevolking wordt ziek en er worden bijna geen kinderen meer geboren.
Als ze al geboren worden dan hebben ze veel afwijkingen.

In het boek volgen we het leven gen "Grijsbaard" (Algy) en zijn vrouw Martha.
Bob Rust
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Greybeard (1964) is perhaps Aldiss's finest single sf novel. It deals with a future in which humanity has become sterile due to an accident involving biological weapons. Almost all the characters are old people and their reactions to the incipient death of the human race are well portrayed. Both a celebration of human life and a critique of civilization.
Jose Costa
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have great interest in SC books and movies. I live in Brazil and I have read "Jornada da Esperança", the Portuguese title for Greybeard. When I started reading the book, the first thought that crossed my mind was "Children of Men", by PD James, a book with basically the same story. If I had time I would like to stop and analyse this issue.

Lynne
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to read this science fiction book written in 1964 predicting what might happen in the future based on the events at the time the book was written. Fortunately, these events have not come to pass-yet-but they could still occur, so this book can still act as a cautionary tale of the effects of our actions.
Donncha Ó Caoimh
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good science fiction but it ends very suddenly.

It was written in the 60s but It has aged well as the author didn't make much use of contemporary technology names (technology levels have regressed in the story). It was always odd reading that someone would "tele fax" something from a space ship to Earth or print a message out from Earth in old scifi books.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Of Men and Monsters
  • Arslan
  • Downward to the Earth
  • R.U.R. & War with the Newts
  • Floating Worlds
  • The Nervous System (Dewey Decimal #2)
  • Some Will Not Die
  • The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe
  • Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord
  • The Centauri Device
  • 334
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Journey Beyond Tomorrow
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Paradox Men
  • Pavane
  • The Affirmation
33297
Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is 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 liter
...more
More about Brian W. Aldiss...

Share This Book

“Life was a pleasure; he looked back at its moments, many of them as much shrouded in mist as the opposite bank of the Thames; objectively, many of them held only misery, fear, confusion; but afterwards, and even at the time, he had known an exhilaration stronger than the misery, fear, or confusion. A fragment of belief came to him from another epoch: 'Cogito ergo sum'. For him that had not been true; his truth had been, 'Senito ergo sum'. I feel so I exist. He enjoyed this fearful, miserable, confused life, and not only because it made more sense than non-life.” 4 likes
“Perhaps that had been one of the ineradicable faults of mankind - for even a convinced atheist had to admit there were faults - that it was never content with a thing as a thing; it had to turn things into symbols of other things. A rainbow was never only a rainbow; a storm was a sign of celestial anger; and even from the puddingy earth came forth dark chthonian gods. What did it all mean? What an agnostic believed and what the willowy parson believed were not only irreconcilable systems of thought: they were equally valid systems of thought because, somewhere along the evolutionary line, man, developing this habit of thinking of symbols, had provided himself with more alternatives than he could manage. Animals moved in no such channel of imagination - they copulated and they ate; but the the saint, bread was a symbol of life, as the phallus was to the pagan. The animals themselves were pressed into symbolic service - and not only in the medieval bestiaries, by any means.

Such a usage was a distortion, although man seemed unable to ratiocinate without it. That had been the trouble right from the beginning. Perhaps it had even been the beginning, back among the first men that man could never get clearly defined (for the early men, being also symbols, had to be either lumbering brutes, or timid noble savages, or to undergo some other interpretation). Perhaps the first fire, the first tool, the first wheel, the first carving in a limestone cave, had each possessed a symbolic rather than a practical value, had each been pressed to serve distortion rather than reality. It was a sort of madness that had driven man from his humble sites on the edges of woods into towns and cities, into arts and wars, into religious crusades, into martyrdom and prostitution, into dyspepsia and fasting, into love and hatred, into this present cul-de-sac; it had all come about in pursuit of symbols. In the beginning was the symbol, and darness was over the face of the Earth.”
2 likes
More quotes…