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The Dark Light Years Paperback – September 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: E-Reads (September 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617567728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617567728
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,462,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Aldiss, born in 1925, is one of the most prolific authors of both general and science fiction. In a writing career stretching from 1955 to the present he has published over seventy books. He has also been an influential compiler of science fiction anthologies. A Science Fiction Omnibus is available as a Penguin Modern Classic.Faber have reissued six of his best science fiction titles: Earthworks, Cryptozoic!, Barefoot in the Head, Galaxies like Grains of Sand, The Dark Light Years and The Shape of Further Things. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
In my edition of the book it's pretty obvious that the person who wrote the back cover copy didn't actually bother to read the book itself and just read the last two chapters, since that's basically what it describes (it must be the publisher, because my copy of Barry Malzberg's "Galaxies" is from the same publisher and the same problem is there) . . . which isn't bad, but turns out to be incredibly misleading and makes you think the point of the book is very different from what it really is. What we have here is a slim novel about humans making contact with an alien race and lousing it up pretty bad. Aldiss' theory, in what was becoming a fairly prevalent one among SF authors at the time, was that aliens, not being human, can't be necessarily understood very easily and it'll take a lot of work. Unlike Lem's Solaris, which postulated that we'd never be able to understand aliens no matter how hard we tried, Aldiss states that we could do it if we work at it, but nobody will bother. The bulk of the book is a satire on the human race essentially, dissecting all the little things that make us so screwy as a whole. It's not a very optimistic book, so don't expect any uplifting message here, while most of the humans are fairly decent people, a lot of them do some pretty mean things out of ignorance or just plain spite. And the aliens themselves are sort of dopey, while the whole "communicating through excrement" thing is pretty funny and there's some other scattered neat ideas, as a race they just aren't that interesting. In fact the whole book suffers from good ideas but okay execution . . .Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Herlofsen on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
In a myriad of SF-writers, Brian Aldiss has always stood out because of his ability to infuse typical genre scenarios with unique imagination and gentle irony, and The Dark Light Years is the author at his best. The plot follows humanity's first contac with an alien race called the Utods, an intelligent, gentle people who think technology is a strange Idea and socialize using their excrements(!). Aldiss turns this scenario into a humorous but but bleak fable about human nature, with lots of sideways glances at heavy philosophical themes like the nature of communication, religion and progress. A great book, halfway between Ellison and Asimov. Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mithridates VI of Pontus VINE VOICE on January 7, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fresh off reading Brian Aldiss' wonderful Non-Stop I eagerly picked up a battered copy of The Dark Light-Years (1964). I was sorely disappointed. The Dark Light-Years is disjointed, muddled, and only occasionally thought-provoking. This is frustrating since the premise is quite promising.

Plot Summary

The Utods are multi-headed multi-limbed hippo-like mud-wallowing creatures which alternate genders. They live with their lizard-like parasites in large mud and feces filled ponds which they wallow in and philosophize. They journey between their planets in seedpod spaceships filled with their own filth. They feel no pain, are pacifists, and are happy.

Some humans encounter a bunch of them and their seedpod spaceship. Some of the Utods try to communicate with the humans but are impulsively slaughtered in cold-blood. Two are captured alive and the rest are dissected...

The humans of this future time live in ultra-hygienic conditions eating their synthesized foods and drinking non-alcoholic beverages. A few stalwarts still cook meat...

The "plot" (and I use that term as loosely as possible) follows the attempt of a bunch of scientists to communicate with the the Utops. Alidss throws some half-baked linguistic theory at the reader... He's more interested in introducing hordes of secondary non-entity characters so he can fill up his page limit and stay away from the any interesting attempts at interaction between the humans and the aliens.
Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fresh off reading Brian Aldiss' wonderful Non-Stop I eagerly picked up a battered copy of The Dark Light-Years (1964). I was sorely disappointed. The Dark Light-Years is disjointed, muddled, and only occasionally thought-provoking. This is frustrating since the premise is quite promising.

Plot Summary

The Utods are multi-headed multi-limbed hippo-like mud-wallowing creatures which alternate genders. They live with their lizard-like parasites in large mud and feces filled ponds which they wallow in and philosophize. They journey between their planets in seedpod spaceships filled with their own filth. They feel no pain, are pacifists, and are happy.

Some humans encounter a bunch of them and their seedpod spaceship. Some of the Utods try to communicate with the humans but are impulsively slaughtered in cold-blood. Two are captured alive and the rest are dissected...

The humans of this future time live in ultra-hygienic conditions eating their synthesized foods and drinking non-alcoholic beverages. A few stalwarts still cook meat...

The "plot" (and I use that term as loosely as possible) follows the attempt of a bunch of scientists to communicate with the the Utops. Alidss throws some half-baked linguistic theory at the reader... He's more interested in introducing hordes of secondary non-entity characters so he can fill up his page limit and stay away from the any interesting attempts at interaction between the humans and the aliens.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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