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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,595 ratings  ·  319 reviews
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...

Paperback, 241 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 1958)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  5,595 ratings  ·  319 reviews

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Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 Andersons Tau Zero is a similar variation. Writers
Glenn Russell


If you are like me in being relatively new to SF, then we have one distinct advantage: a hefty number of the novels, particularly those of the New Wave, will possess an undeniable freshness, making for an exciting, even thrilling, read. This is most certainly the case with Non-Stop by British New Waver Brian Aldiss. What an adventure!

Frequently when reviewing a novel, I'll highlight specific themes or aspects that give the story its own unique flair. I will not do so here since Non-Stop
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, sci-fi
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
Dirk Grobbelaar
Well, to be completely honest, I dislike the way this books big reveal / premise is discussed so openly, since it is integral to enjoying the impact of the story. In fact, Im thinking thats one of the reasons why the title was changed to Non-Stop, so as to not give the game away.

And now that Im 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 Ive 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 was
Paul Bryant
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
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 cant 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
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 doesnt 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 ...more
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dawn C
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
An enjoyable, uncomplicated story of tribes of humans who live in what they come to understand is a spaceship. All the running around in hallways, private quarters, being captured and interrogated by competing tribes, scary giants we only glimpse, mutated intelligent rats, and bogus science made it all feel like a camp, low budget production of classic Doctor Who or similar 60s scifi television someone thought up while tripping on acid. I had probably expected a bit more, but it was entertaining ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Timeless classic of life on a generational ship gone awry. This is like a post apocalyptic story aboard an enormous interstellar ship. Superb world and character building and vivid prose paint a harrowing picture of primitive factions aboard a generational ship who's history, mission, origin, destination and even basic functioning have all been long forgotten and are now shrouded in mystery. The tension of these people living in cramped conditions, warring with rivals, and with very limited ...more
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Miloș Dumbraci
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually loved it (except the ending, mixed feelings 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
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 ...more
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
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
''The piled rubbish evacuated from Deck 25 to Decks 24 and 23 had been set on fire. Nobody cared; everyone was suddenly a pyromaniac.''

This book starts off in one place and ends up somewhere else entirely.
The theme of transformation permeates every strand of Non-Stop's DNA.

The characters, setting, plot, everything... it all gradually evolves from something relatively mundane into something unprecedented and spectacular.
Even the plot itself involves discussion of both horrific and wonderful
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
Joe Santoro
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.

Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, sfmasterworks
SF Masterworks 33: The Quarters is a claustrophobic place where tribes eke out a Dark Ages like living, eternally combatting the very fast growing and densely packed vegetation called Ponics. But there is talk of Outsiders, Giants and another people, the Forwards! Hunter Ray Complain gets caught up in an exhibition to find out the truth about Quarters and the rest of the planet!

My first ever novel by Aldiss (I've read a few of his short, I believe), and what a cracker. The initial detailed
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.
Chris Walker
Like most of the science fiction from the 1950s I've read, Starship, despite its generic title, contains a really intriguing premise that I had never really encountered before. Unfortunately, it's also like those books in that the plot doesn't live up to the premise, starting to falter around the halfway point before coming to a messy, formulaic, and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.

Without getting into spoilers (it's a book with a number of twists along the way) the basic premise is this: a

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
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
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 ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
Always love a good twist in the end!
Jose Moa
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
The paradigma book on genarational interestelar ships , the best
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it

takes a good minute to pick up steam but the second half of the book really comes through. wish the ending was a bit less abrupt
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I read Non-Stop, I thought it had been spoiled for me. Boy, was I wrong. This book is a complex mystery to the end. It just keeps going deeper. Each chapter reveals new answers and raises new questions. The secrets exposed would truly be earth-shattering for the characters. I did not see the end coming, but I think it all makes sense. I feel like Lost should have been more like this.

That said, I struggle to describe this story. Anything I say about the setting or plot is a spoiler, and
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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

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