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Non-Stop

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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.

241 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1958

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About the author

Brian W. Aldiss

766 books577 followers
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 literary techniques, evocative plots and irresistible characters, he became a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 1999.
Brian Aldiss died on August 19, 2017, just after celebrating his 92nd birthday with his family and closest friends.

Brian W. Aldiss Group on Good Reads

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 417 reviews
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
August 26, 2023
Non-Stop, Brian Aldiss’ 1958 publication is a story about feral people in a strange setting.

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. Writers as heralded as Clifford Simak, Robert Silverberg and John Brunner have all tried their hands at this theme and have done good work.

Disney and Pixar fans might also consider the 2008 film Wall-E.

Ultimately, if you boil this down to it’s most fundamental roots, all these tales stem from William Golding’s brilliant novel Lord of the Flies” and his brutal description of how fragile is the thin veil of our civilization; and Aldiss’ writing is first rate. Not perfect, there is some weak characterization, some odd dialogue, quite a bit of science that is painfully dated, but all in all this is a very good classic science fiction novel that fans of the genre will want to read.

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews984 followers
May 30, 2023
SF Masterworks 33: The Quarters is a claustrophobic place where numerous tribes eke out a Dark Ages like living, eternally combatting the very fast growing and densely packed vegetation called Ponics, which means they are always on the move, nomadic. Rumours abound about Outsiders, Giants and an entire other people, the Forwards! Tribe 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 stories), and what a cracker. The initial detailed setting up of life in the Quarters gave me a very solid viewpoint and context from which to understand and enjoy the rest of this pretty remarkable sci-fi conspiracy thriller set in a world where vegetation actively seeks to envelop everything! Written in 1958 as well! A well deserved 8 out of 12. Four Stars.

2019 read
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,378 reviews12k followers
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April 27, 2023


Zounds!

If you are like me in being relatively new to science fiction, 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 is a tale where all the many varieties of characters along with developments, ups, downs and breakthroughs are best disclosed to a reader page by page.

What I will say is a one-line paraphrase of the blurb on the book's back cover: the tale revolves around a member of the Green tribe, a hunter by the name of Roy Complain, setting out with renegade priest Marapper to explore lands beyond the limits set by tribe leaders.

Once I read the first chapter, I was completely hooked. I became excited, anticipating what Roy would encounter and learn on the next step of his journey. And, remarkably enough, there was no lessening of my excitement right up til the very last page. Now that's powerful storytelling! I felt like our ancient ancestors must have felt listing to an unfolding saga as they sat around the fire at night.

So the question arises: how did Brian Aldiss pull it off?

I think a good part of the answer lies in the disparity of knowledge between readers on one side and Roy and company on the other. This to say, living in the modern world, we possess an understanding of astronomy and reading about people lacking such basic knowledge but who, step by step, eventually expand their comprehension of the universe and their place in it, makes for a fascinating read.

I strongly suspect another part of the answer is tied up with three key qualities of New Wave SF - how it tends to be psychological, boundary pushing and weird. Let me tackle these one at a time.

Psychological: The inner space of the mind assumes equal important as outer space. Non-Stop is chock full of references and reflections on the inner psyche, as for example, here's one of Roy's musings: "A madman had lived for a moment within his skull! The Teaching warned him that his mind was a foul place. the holy trinity, Froyd, Yung and Bassit, had gone alone through the terrible barriers of sleep, death's brother; there they found - not nothing, as man had formerly believed - but grottoes and subterranean labyrinths full of ghouls and evil treasure, leeches, and the lusts that burn like acid. Man stood revealed to himself: a creature of infinite complexity and horror."

Boundary Pushing: Here is Marapper the priest revealing a great secret to Roy: "The great thing is, that not being in a ship is vastly different from being in it. You know - we all know - only what being in one is like; it is that which makes us think there is only ship. But there are many places which are not ship - huge places, many of them . . . This I know because I have seen records left by the Giants. The ship was made by the Giants, for their own purposes which are - as yet - hidden from us." Ship, not ship, Giants? What's going on here? And what's the very nature of reality?

Weird: Never mind Green Martians, Non-Stop is right up there with other New Wave SF in its bending of biology and genetics. "As the rabbit was drawn up, the five original scout rats spread out by the inner door, keeping watch for the Giants' return. The leader-rat ducked his head at the sword in his buckler, standing erect again with a fierce little blade fitting over his two front teeth, a tiny scythe which he twitched avidly about in the direction of the rabbit's neck." Now that's weird!

Yet again another dimension of Brian Aldiss' first-rate storytelling is his incorporation of Jungian archetypes as Roy travels on his hero's journey - to name several: the lover, the trickster, the shadow, the wise oldster.

Lastly, recall I mentioned we as readers have the advantage of knowing the facts of astronomy. However, we only learn the ultimate reality of the characters, their world and their underlying mission toward the stunning conclusion.. Thus, in this regard, we are in store for a few unexpected jolts. What a remarkable novel. Bravo, Brian Aldiss.



British author Brian Aldiss, 1925-2017

"Violence and death were pandemic in Quarters, forming a natural balance to the high birth rate, by nobody cheerfully dies for the sake of symmetry." - Brian Aldiss, Non-Stop
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,217 reviews9,903 followers
August 13, 2021
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 lived 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 beginning with B.

It is a story about a generation starship, that is the term. This one can only travel at around 75 miles an hour, and it doesn’t have that useful Faster-Than-That drive to make interstellar travel instantaneous. Also, it isn’t one of those like in the movie Aliens where the crew are all in a coma until they get there. In a generation starship the crew have to reproduce themselves and maintain the ship for several centuries, before they get to the desired planet, and of course that is enough time for some things to go awry, such as running out of Marmite.



I imagine you hardly get any novels where a generation starship works perfectly okay and returns to Earth with no incident.

There are starship troopers in this book, sort of, but they are nothing like the one Sarah Brightman lost her heart to.



I love Brian Aldiss, if he was a rock group he would be The Kinks, very English and kind of off at a tangent most of the time, and very melodic.

At this time of his writing career (1958), it must be admitted, however, that his ear for dialogue, especially in the action scenes, was not yet perfected. Here are some of my favourite lines:

“This gives us a lull”

“Gregg’s deliberately over-estimating the abilities of the rats”

“I’ve a mind to have you both flung into cells”

“Just a preliminary flogging to soften him up”

“You can surely see how dangerous this weapon could be in the wrong hands"

“I shall gas them both through the air vents of their rooms”

“Oh Roy darling, we have arrived somewhere after all! There’s still a hope for us”

“I was a fool not to think of this before”

“You’d better try! It’s our only hope!”

“Come and get us, you stinking scab-devourers!”

“This whole situation is just hopeless!”

“Shut up, you drab-spawned he-hag!”


Finally, here’s a little quiz what’s the meaning of the following words which pop up unexpectedly in Non-Stop:

1. Obnubilated
2. Proslambanomenos
I confess I had to look them up. In fact at first I thought they were typos. Answers below.

Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews805 followers
September 4, 2019
“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 lives on board the ship.

In Brian Aldiss’ Non-Stop the spaceship has already been travelling to an unknown destination for several generations of the human inhabitants. Most of these inhabitants are living primitive tribal lives in corridors of the ship. They are not aware that they are living in a huge spaceship, as far as they know the ship is their world. The narrative is told from the point of view of Roy Complain, a hunter for the Greene tribe. After losing his wife during a hunt Complain joins an expedition to explore uncharted territories of the world.

The leader of the expedition is a priest called Marapper, he has found some ancient documents showing that the world they live in is, in fact, a massive spaceship. The information in the documents is incomplete, the point of origin and the destination of the ship is unknown. The mission of the expedition is to find the ship’s control room and direct it to a habitable planet*. On their epic journey, they encounter men from a more advanced community, giants (extraordinarily tall humans), smart rats, and eventually the whole startling truth about their “world”.

Non-Stop is basically a fast-paced adventure yarn, full of surprising twists and turns. It is also thought provoking as the ethical issues of launching a generation ship is explored. It is a fast paced little novel with a clever plotline which I can't go into without spoiling the book. The characters are on the flat side, perhaps because the book is only 256 pages long and there is a lot of plot to get through. Interestingly, most the characters—including Roy the protagonist—are rather callous and have no compunction about killing. Presumably, this lack of morality stems from the primitive lives they live.

While this novel is never dull, it is not as gripping as it could be because the characters are not relatable; so there is no emotional core in the book. The denouement is a genuine surprise but the ending is quite abrupt and inconclusive.

Non-Stop is an enjoyable book but it is by no means a sci-fi classic. If you have never read anything by Brian Aldiss before I would recommend Hothouse over this one, as it is one of my favorites. However, if you like reading about generation ships Non-Stop is a good choice.

______________________________
* This seems like a conceptual error or plot hole. Considering how primitive the Greene tribe people are they seem to have no trouble accepting the concept of space flight and planets. Prior to finding the ancient documents they must have conceived the ship they are on as the entire universe. If they do find the control room why would they assume that they can work the controls when they have no experience of machinery?

Quotes:
“Everyone on shipboard is in a damn beastly situation. It’s a ship, you see, and it’s headed nobody-knows-where, and it’s old and creaking, and it’s thick with phantoms and mysteries and riddles and pain –and some poor bastard has got to sort it all out soon before it’s too late, if it’s not already too late!”

“We head for in the knowledge that the men who will see those skies will not be born until six generations have died.”


Update: Sadly Brian Aldiss just passed away (Aug 21, 2017), we just lost another sci-fi legend.

Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
554 reviews1,094 followers
January 21, 2019
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 somehow never got around to it (I have the Helliconia Trilogy in omnibus format, but it intimidates the living daylights out of me).

Considering that Non-Stop was first published in 1958, it’s actually quite impressive that it has aged so well. But then, it is considered a bit of a classic of the genre. It was highly influential in my own reading evolution, and especially instrumental in setting me on the SF-sensawunda path, along with novels like Ringworld and Rendezvous with Rama, even though it isn’t really the same thing as the latter two. So I’m throwing a lot of stars at it and placing it on my favourites shelf!

PS - If there’s one thing I will forever associate with this book, it is the smell of a burning mosquito coil. Interesting how the olfactory sense is so strongly linked to memory recall.
Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews210 followers
May 27, 2018
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 still as exciting, dramatic and meaningful (in terms of human nature ) as it was all those years ago. Why have I waited so long to re-read ???
Profile Image for Scott.
292 reviews317 followers
October 23, 2016
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 among the crew. In the future, travel insurance will be pricey.

Brian Aldiss’ Non-Stop is another of these tales of spacefaring woe, and it’s a good ‘un. Non-Stop is an original take on the idea of the generation ship- vessels that travel between stars on journeys so long that several generations of people are born, live and die before the ship reaches its destination. Numerous authors have explored this idea, one notable example being Alistair Reynolds, who played with this concept in Chasm City (although most of the colonists in Chasm City were frozen in cryosleep). Aldiss does it well, and he presents an original take on the idea that I have not encountered before.

Aldiss’ ship has been in space a long time. Like centuries long. Long enough for everyone onboard to have devolved to a near-primitive state (although events here in 2016 suggest to me that our society could devolve to a similar state of ignorance and superstition in about as long as it takes to make a sandwich.)

The descendants of the original crew have become so disconnected from their origins that their knowledge of how to operate the ship – and in many cases the knowledge that they are even on a ship – is long gone. The ship is their world, and they cling to it blindly. The ship itself is a pretty cool setting for a story. Its vastness is overrun with voracious hydroponic plants (known to the locals as ‘ponics), which fill its corridors like thick forests, and it is populated with warring tribes of humans who hunt the wild animals that roam the vessel’s gargantuan decks.

Our protagonist in this scenario is Roy Complain, a hunter and member of one of the more primitive shipboard tribes who is pulled into an adventure that leads him towards understanding of what the vessel is, and how it might once again be controlled.

Non-Stop isn’t quite the one SF novel to rule them all, but it’s a good read. I felt one or two loose ends (particularly around the population of rats on the ship) weren’t really dealt with at the conclusion of the book, but at 220 pages Aldiss didn’t give himself much space for dilly-dallying and I felt he was too busy punching the narrative gas pedal to deal with such trifles. Some of the dialogue is also a little clunky, but in general these flaws are barely noticeable in the headlong rush that is the story of Complain and his companions’ journey through their vast home, and Aldiss’ novel holds its own against the best writing on offer today, carrying few of the sometimes jarring hallmarks of novels from its era.

In short, Non-Stop is classic 1950s SF that has aged very well. I stayed up late with it, blearily gobbling pages in a fug of tiredness, hungry to see what Aldiss would surprise me with next.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,196 reviews115 followers
December 21, 2019
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 knowledge of their environment is immediately palpable, as is the sense of suspense and surprise as some of them venture out to discover the truth of their reality.
Profile Image for Negativni.
148 reviews65 followers
September 29, 2016
Aldiss je ideju o generacijskom brodu koji putuje bez kontrole vjerovatno dobio čitajući Robert A. Heinleinove novele Universe (1941.) i Common Sense (1941.), koje su kasnije objavljene u obliku romana pod nazivom Orphans of the Sky. No, čini mi se da je u Non-Stop, svoj prvi roman, ugradio i osobno iskustvo proživljavanja Drugog svjetskog rata.

Radnja počinje u jednom malom plemenu koje živi zatvoreno i u kojem se znatiželja obeshrabljuje. Stari pričaju o legendi da je njihov svijet ustvari svemirski brod, ali rijetko tko u to vjeruje. Glavni lik, Roy Žalopoj (u originalu Roy Complain), ne bez prigovora, kreće u istraživačku misiju kojom se želi provjeriti da li je to istina.

Veći dio romana je napisan kao avanturistički roman, a otkrića su dobro raspoređena, osim na samom kraju kada je priča pretjerano ubrzana i gotovo se sve doznaje iz dugačkog monologa jednog lika. S obzirom na to da je roman izdan 1958., neke znanstvene teze su očekivano zastarjele. A onda mi je u oko upalo spominjanje ionskog pogona* i kvantpjutora**!? Ali kako je ovo prijevod revidiranog izdanja iz 2000. godine, pretpostavljam da su to neke od sitnica koje su izmjenjene - Aldiss je napisao da je promjenio samo par riječi.

Zanimljiva je, iako ne baš uvjerljiva, religija temeljena na psihologiji. Također i propitivanje etičnosti samog slanja generacijskog broda jer buduće generacije ne mogu odlučivati da li će život proveli na brodu. S druge strane, društvo inteligentnih i oružjem naoružanih štakora, te zec i moljci koji telepatijom ulaze u umove ljudi... hmm, da li je to stvarno bilo neophodno? Dok proto-psihodelična scena na kraju u kojoj moljci doslovno izgaraju želeći dosegnuti Sunce ipak nekako funkcionira.

Aldissovo pisanje varira; ima lijepo sročenih rečenica i razmišljanja, dok su dijalozi i karakterizacija likova slabiji. Početak je nepotrebno razvučen, a kraj bez razloga ubrzan. Najbolji dio je sama avantura i otkrivanje različitih dijelova svijeta u kojem likovi žive. Ima i seksizma, što nije iznenađujuće za taj period.

Kada se sve zbroji i oduzme: trojka.




* - danas više nije SF, nego stvarnost:

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/14...


** - The concept of quantum computing is relatively new, dating back to ideas put forward in the early 1980s by the late Richard Feynman, the brilliant American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate.

https://www.theguardian.com/technolog...


Profile Image for Dawn F.
502 reviews70 followers
October 25, 2020
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 and the audiobook narration by David Thorpe lent it some extra spirit.
Profile Image for Jesse.
276 reviews90 followers
October 5, 2009
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 review.

Fantastic! This is one of the best pieces of Sci-fi I've read all year, and just about the best writing I've read all year. This is what I wish more sci-fi still was. You are really and truly taken on a voyage of discovery with Roy Complain, the main character of the story. And that voyage slowly but surely reveals a world more fantastic and awe inspiring that you could have imagined. I can't say more without giving things away, but really. Read this book if you at all consider yourself a fan of truly hardcore sci-fi.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
July 16, 2010
4.0 stars. Written in 1958, this is Brian Aldiss' first novel and I thought it was excellent. It is hard to discuss the plot without a "spoiler" warning so I have added one even though I will only describe the plot in general terms. The story revolves around a multi-generational starship that has suffered a mysterious catastrophe and left the survivors to degenerate into a brutish clan-orientated society. Aldiss' description of the thought processes of the main characters is really well done and gives the right sense of "alieness" to this lost tribe of humanity. A really good book and one I highly recommend.

Winner: British Science Fiction Award for best novel.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Oriente.
332 reviews39 followers
January 27, 2021
A sok-sok igen gyengén vagy legalábbis felemásan muzsikáló kortárs science fiction után ez a klasszikus visszaadta a hitemet a zsánerben.
Az Amíg világ a világ nem akar túl nagyot markolni, mégis kozmikus a mértéke, ugyanakkor nagyon fontos és időtálló kérdéseket piszkálgat meg. Remek a ritmusa, ahogy a központi probléma és a világ fokozatosan kibomlik, a karakterek is hozzáfejlődnek, miközben mindenki és minden mozgásban van, vagyis akciókban sem szűkölködik a regény. És Aldiss mindezt kényelmesen belepakolta 240 oldalba. Tananyag lehetne, komolyan.

Profile Image for George K..
2,435 reviews318 followers
April 4, 2020
Πρώτη επαφή με το έργο του Μπράιαν Άλντις και δηλώνω εξαιρετικά ικανοποιημένος, τόσο από την πλοκή και την κεντρική ιδέα, όσο και από το αρκετά ξεκούραστο στιλ γραφής. Από τις πρώτες κιόλας σελίδες κατάλαβα ότι θα διάβαζα κάτι το ιδιαίτερα ψυχαγωγικό και ιντριγκαδόρικο, και απορώ με τον εαυτό μου γιατί τόσα χρόνια μετά την αγορά του το είχα να πιάνει σκόνη στη βιβλιοθήκη μου, χωρίς ούτε καν να το έχω ξεφυλλίσει!

Τέλος πάντων, πρόκειται για ένα πολύ ενδιαφέρον και κλασικό μυθιστόρημα επιστημονικής φαντασίας, πεδίο δράσης του οποίου είναι ένα τεράστιο διαστημόπλοιο που ταξιδεύει για πολλά χρόνια στο διάστημα χωρίς κυβερνήτη και χωρίς κάποιον συγκεκριμένο προορισμό. Κάτοικοι του διαστημοπλοίου είναι διάφορες φυλές ανθρώπων (σχετικά εχθρικές μεταξύ τους), που τριγυρίζουν στους απέραντους και έρημους διαδρόμους του σκάφους που είναι γεμάτοι από μεγάλα φυτά, απλώς επιβιώνοντας μέχρι κάποια στιγμή να πεθάνουν. Όμως, κάποτε θα έρθει η ώρα που θα βρεθούν κάποιοι ένοικοι του σκάφους, που θα αναρωτηθούν για τη φύση του κόσμου τους, αλλά και για το νόημα της ύπαρξής τους. Όμως, μήπως θα ήταν καλύτερα να μην μάθαιναν ποτέ την αλήθεια;

Γρήγοροι ρυθμοί, κάμποση δράση, δυνατά σκηνικά και λίγο μυστήριο είναι μερικά από τα καλούδια που προσφέρει τούτο το μυθιστόρημα, με τη γραφή να είναι άκρως ευκολοδιάβαστη και εθισ��ική, με ρεαλιστικές περιγραφές του εσωτερικού του σκάφους και των διαφόρων καταστάσεων. Σίγουρα είναι ένα βιβλίο που διαβάζεται γρήγορα και ξεκούραστα, κάνοντας τον αναγνώστη να ξεφύγει από την πεζή καθημερινότητα. Τέλος, το μόνο σίγουρο είναι ότι θα γινόταν μια πολύ καλή ταινία, αν και εδώ που τα λέμε όλο και κάποιες ταινίες έχουν δανειστεί στοιχεία της πλοκής του.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
December 1, 2022
This one admittedly surprised me. I hadn't checked out any of the blurbs or reviews. I merely picked it up because I had already read the author's rather erudite stroll around the history of SF in Trillion Year Spree and I thought it good enough to check out his ACTUAL fiction.

So what I got was lost tribe story, men and women living in rather primitive conditions, and the setup is all for... ADVENTURE.

The real trick here is the fact that THEY ARE ON A GENERATIONAL SHIP.

Of course, there have been many generational ship SF stories over the years, but this one is early, from 1958, and feels like it would have been at home as a '50s or perhaps a '70s late-night B-movie SF horror.

I enjoyed it a great deal for what it was, and nothing more. It's very English. Almost a mix between a ghost ship and the Heart of Darkness. :)
14 reviews3 followers
August 16, 2007
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 venture leads the protagonist and an assembly of local rebels with questionable motives into the illimitable jungle, an unnaturally lush vegetation that marks the edges of their known world. Here, roots thrive on the surface of plastic and steel, and clues can be found among the vestiges of ruined civilizations and the hostile tribes that take shelter and patrol therein. The plot forms a path like a trail overgrown with obscuring fronds, which when lifted aside threatens a complete view of vistas beyond but only allows a limited further glimpse as the reader and protagonist approach their increasingly ominous destination. The narrative guide is likewise lost, enmeshed in this organic maze, and what articulate signposts he leaves us serve to increase suspense and wonder rather than to demystify. Analogy after analogy presents itself only to splinter apart, as there is no coherent framework to explain the revealed purpose of the protagonist's mission or to justify the disrupted wake left behind in his unleashed quest for meaning.
Profile Image for Thom.
1,592 reviews47 followers
November 29, 2016
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 strong, and they team up for the remainder of the book. All is not rosy, however - half of what is introduced is not resolved, and the ending is extremely abrupt (and also unresolved).

Having already mentioned the starship, I would be remiss if I didn't point out this was one of two major sources for the role playing game Metamorphosis Alpha, one of my all-time favorites. 3½ stars for the writing, rounded up for the influences.
Profile Image for Jeremy Adam.
Author 9 books13 followers
July 17, 2008
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 abrupt (both common Aldiss problems).
Profile Image for Rob Thompson.
506 reviews47 followers
July 22, 2017
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 reiterate, the characters are all descendants of the passengers and crew on a generation starship. The first generation have first-hand experience of Earth, the last generation will never see Earth and will only know their destination; all the generations in between will only ever know the starship. For them, the confines of the starship is their world. However, in Non-Stop the starship has had been involved in an accident and is now flying uncontrolled through space. The ship has been overrun by vegetation, the population don’t know that they are on a starship and since it is the only world they know they have slowly regressed into a more primal tribal existence. Also, due to the extended length of time involved on the journey certain creatures have had the opportunity to evolve with a higher level of intelligence.

The sociological situation of one of the tribes, the Greens, was particularly interesting. They accept the material world around them and their situation; they don’t question their existence. They live in the boundaries of a section of the starship called “the Quarters”; the Quarters are their small part of the small world of the ship itself. Each day is about survival and clearing away the vegetation which invades their life. They have little or no time to contemplate the past or future. They spend their time existing in the present. The habits, routines and social structures they have created reflect the environment they find themselves in and allow them to organise their lives in a way which maintains a degree of stability, reason and contentment. However, they are ruthless: for example, in their approach to children. They kill their offspring if they have mutations and detachment from parents is conditioned from an early age. The reason for this is not made clear but the religion they have adopted has roots in Freudian psychology. This psychological link is further evidenced by the fact that honesty along with eye-contact is avoided and the customary greeting is “Expansion to your Ego,” which is responded to with the phrase “at your expense”: these are all explicit manifestations of aspects of life which in normal society are normally left unarticulated.

Roy Complain the main protagonist in the story harbours thoughts about an alternative way of life; an existential yearning to understand the world and his place in it. These desires are realised when Marapper a priest who sermonized about individual self-preservation, gives him the chance to try to get to the control room, to pass through the almost legendary section of the ship called the Forwards and to possibly try to meet the Captain; the person who is in control of the whole ship. The journey questions his beliefs, his worldview, why he exists and who he can rely on and trust.

So in summary: I believe that the book is trying to say the following; we blindly accept our small piece of the world with little awareness of what is happening elsewhere. We create structures and routines to allow us to live as comfortably as possible, including implementing activities which condition social norms, certain worldviews and even the repression of certain thoughts and ideologies. Some of us may yearn for a different way of life, and may even pursue this by trying to find and follow a “Captain”; someone or something who can make sense of the world around us and get us to a certain destination, one which we perceive is important. However, in reality this person doesn't exist and making a journey to realise this is actually more important in terms of self discovery.
Profile Image for Tracey.
425 reviews93 followers
January 23, 2021
Non-Stop is a 1958 science fiction novel by prolific British author Brian Aldiss, who in his lifetime wrote over 80 books and 300 short stories, as well as several volumes of poetry.

So my thoughts about this book go a bit like this;
WOW! I absolutely loved it.

This is not a spoiler as in America the book was published as 'Starship'.

The story is about a
Generational Starship, which is basically a pre light speed space craft filled with people who are going out into space to colonise a new planet. The trip takes many years and generations of humans will be born, live and die aboard the ship before they reach their destination.

The feel of the story for me was claustrophobic due to the confines of the ship and the 'ponics' which have grown wild and encroached on so many areas.
There are 'giants' here and mutants and 'outsiders'.
Also there are some 'nasties' which will not be named here but urghh and gruesome.

This is a plot based book with very little character development however that didn't affect my enjoyment at all.
It is fast paced so the story carries you along like riding a wave. The story unfolds beautifully with many 'reveals' to keep you interested and the last part which is called 'The big something' well wait until that reveal hits you on the back of your head..


Some sections of a diary entry that struck a chord;

'Adversity makes thinkers of us all'

'Only a technological age could condemn unborn generations to exist in it (the ship), as if man were mere protoplasm, without emotion or aspiration'

'At the beginning of the technological age - a fitting token to my mind - stands the memory of Auschwitz-Berkenau;'

I obviously love Classic science fiction then as this is my third one already this year. ;)
This novel has got me chomping at the bit for more by this author.
5*
Profile Image for Yelisiei Murai.
73 reviews
May 2, 2023
The book has flaws. There are average writing, not good characterization. But nevertheless the book is great. Because of fantastic storytelling. The plot is amazing. Something happens all through the way. And there are incredible conceptual breakthroughs. You need to keep in mind all small weird things that you find in text. All of them are meaningful. The novel starts a little bit strange and clunky, but it’s gaining momentum and in the second half it became a page-turner. The ending has blown me away.
Profile Image for Charles Dee Mitchell.
853 reviews59 followers
August 23, 2010
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 Giants and The Others to contend with. As with other ALdiss novels I have read, Greybeard and Hothouse, this is the tale of a journey into the unknown by characters who can be either brave and honorable or not at all what they seem. Aldiss has sophisticated fun with the language and ideas that have evolved among his characters, but he also never lets the action flag. Having read four Aldiss novels, I am beginning to see what all the fuss is about.
Profile Image for Buck.
606 reviews31 followers
May 13, 2018
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. Even though there were some minor plot flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Chris Walker.
115 reviews34 followers
January 4, 2018
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 small tribe of people inhabit what appears to be a run down spaceship. The interior of the ship is overgrown with rapidly growing hydroponic plants that give it a jungle-like atmosphere. The people live a largely primitive life, though there are remnants of technology, such as laser-like weapons known as "dazers." Throughout the ship there is evidence of some cataclysmic event that happened long ago, but exactly what it was nobody seems to know. The culture of the tribe is incredibly aggressive, the inhabitants adhere to a religion known as the Teaching, a seemingly warped form of psychoanalysis and Jungian thought that encourages acting on (frequently violent) impulses. The main character, Roy Complain, joins with a group of fellow tribesmen to explore far into the ship in an attempt to unravel its mysteries.

So yeah, there's some pretty interesting stuff going on! The setting, at turns primitive and high tech, is very cool. The mystery of what happened is intriguing. I found the religious aspect to be surprisingly well-developed for what is essentially an action book. The major drawback to the setting in the characters it produces. None of them are particularly interesting or sympathetic. The majority of the interactions are guys flying into random rages or sulky silences and scheming against one another. And although by the end Aldiss tries to describe Complain as someone who has grown fundamentally for the better, other than his cliched puppy-love for the main female character, he seems much the same at the end as he is at the beginning.

Speaking of the love plot, my biggest complaint (which will be unsurprising to those who know me or have read my other reviews) is the way that the book treats women. Or, woman, more accurately, as there is really only one of substance in the entire book. Laur Vyann starts off as a promising character. She's a competent person in a position of authority, but as soon as she meets the main male character she pretty much spends the rest of the book either being objectified by Roy or fawning over and rapidly falling in love with him for no apparent reason. Some choice quotes:

"Sweat stood out on Complain's face, and he noticed Vyann's blouse sticking to her breasts; for him they were the sweetest fruits aboard the ship."


"She made no answer beyond looking stubbornly at him, knowing, woman-like, that she had an argument superior to reason."


"'No!' Complain roared. It was hell the way everyone had wills of their own, even women."



It just never ceases to amaze me how so many science fiction writers, then and now, are able to think so complexly about technology or biology or culture, and yet they seem incapable of creating female characters that are more than misogynistic stereotypes.

This, along with the way that the plot pretty much implodes at the end made what was an initially entertaining read to end up as another Golden Age of SF disappointment. Oh, and all that doesn't even take into account the
Profile Image for Javier.
186 reviews64 followers
September 26, 2017
Abandonada a su suerte, la humanidad vive confinada en una gigantesca nave que viaja por el espacio. Al menos, esa es la teoría de unos pocos que dicen conocer la verdad. El resto ha involucionado hasta la barbarie, sobreviviendo en tribus nómadas que avanzan por interminables corredores metálicos entre la maraña de pónicos que crece en todas partes y donde acechan mutantes, forasteros y fantasmas. Un grupo de hombres, con motivaciones muy distintas y sin nada que perder, rompe las cadenas de esta sociedad decadente para desentrañar el gran misterio que les envuelve.

Diversión pura y dura, planteamiento clásico (las naves-mundo) pero que sigue enganchando, viaje a lo desconocido en busca de la verdad, revelación final. Poco importan la infumable traducción o la nula profundidad de los personajes, cada una de las partes de la novela te lanza hacia la siguiente, e incluso tras el cierre busqué nerviosamente entre las sábanas y bajo la cama el pliego que faltaba: ¡salid de esa maldita nave, quiero seguir leyendo!

Por libros como este empecé a leer ciencia ficción cuando era un chaval. Como los protagonistas de la novela cuando contemplan por primera vez el espacio, Aldiss me ha devuelto al día en que alcé mis ojos al cielo para mirar las estrellas.

Que la tierra le sea ligera.
Profile Image for Colin.
Author 5 books127 followers
October 5, 2017
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 so well written, or to have quite as many cruel twists and reveals. The truth is so much worse than anyone suspects, and though the careful reader will begin to suspect (I suspected much of the true scope of things before the "big reveal/s"), there is a real subtle creeping horror to it all. Great stuff, highly recommended, and best of all, the science still stands up pretty well (perhaps better than anyone could have expected, since our real world has since had crises that this book in some ways predicts).
860 reviews7 followers
October 14, 2019
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.

This COULD have been a really cool exploration of evolution and societal development, but about 1/2 way through it changed to a battle against the 'Outsiders' that was super predictable and completely abandoned the other themes. Then there's this race of almost sentient rats that developed, which I thought were going to be really important but then were just kinda forgotten. Sadly, the overall effect was just not that great.
Profile Image for Jorge Williams.
111 reviews22 followers
January 24, 2019
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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