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Greybeard Paperback – August 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: E-Reads (August 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617567663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617567667
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,909,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Greybeard is one of those hidden gems, a rare find that makes you kick yourself for not discovering it sooner, a masterful piece of literary science fiction and a poignant tale of human mortality.' (5/5 stars) SFBOOK brilliant and highly recommended SFFWORLD.COM --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Brian Aldiss is an SF/fantasy author who has achieved the rare success of acceptance as a writer of real significance by the literary establishment in his lifetime. He lives near Oxford. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this novel and it was well written.
Fixitfast
A book like "Greybeard" would be a good way to argue in favour of the need for human cloning.
Greg Hughes
Although the premise is good, the execution is slow, boring, dull and plodding.
D. Howell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By artanis65 on August 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Elegantly written for a book of this type, Brian Aldiss creates a near future world in which nuclear testing has gone awry, temporarily allowing some hard radiation from the sun to saturate the earth, destroying the ability of larger mammals including humans to reproduce themselves. There are two parallel stories, one which takes place in a sad present when the youngest human beings are well into their fifties, and the other in three separate periods gradually ranging back in time to just after the initial accident. The reader therefore sees the present in light of the turbulent events of the previous fifty years when everything began to unravel.

The two main characters, Greybeard and his wife, are immensely likeable and realistic. Unlike some of Brian Aldiss's later works, this is an old fashioned book, easy to read and well plotted. The most interesting feature of the book is the immensely sad world created by the author; what's the point to life if you can't pass on your genes to another generation?

The characters must figure that out along the way.

If you like John Wyndham's and John Christopher's end of the world stories, you're bound to appreciate this one as well.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Greg Hughes on November 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It was a book of Tim White's fantasy art that led me to "Greybeard". An illustration of an abandoned town, weeds sprouting from cracks in the road, half-ruined buildings covered in ivy - a scene typical of the post-disaster genre. I was intrigued by the premise behind it.
The explosion of radioactive weapons in space has disrupted Earth's protective van Allen Belt, saturating the planet with massive doses of radiation. This has resulted in sickness, deformity and sterility for the human race. In the years following the "Accident" civilization has been in steady decline, as there will be no more future generations.
Algernon Timberlane (better known as Greybeard) was six years old at the time of the disaster. He has grown up in a world that has become increasingly primitive and quiet as people succumb to old age or cancers caused by the fallout. By the time Greybeard is in his mid fifties he is one of the youngest people left in the world. England has become a wilderness thinly populated by tribes of old people living with untreatable ailments. Savage animals, no longer afraid of man, roam the countryside in packs. Some people claim to have seen goblins lurking in the shadows. With each passing year people grow more frail and feeble-minded.
This is the first novel I've read by Brian Aldiss, the man who identified John Wyndham with the "Cosy Catastrophe". "Greybeard" is a novel John Wyndham would certainly have approved of. The catastrophe that shaped this decrepit future is, however, far from cosy. A book like "Greybeard" would be a good way to argue in favour of the need for human cloning. It could well save our species.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are times when the world ends, and there are times when your world ends. This book is more or less about the difference between the two.

There's a whole genre of books out there where civilization doesn't end in a blazing hail of fire, but with a more sobering whimper as society gently crumbles around itself and everyone who is left in the pieces have to figure out how best to use the time remaining to them, because putting things back to how they were won't be an option. Aldiss, being British, can't help but sprinkle his work with a certain melancholy that skirts just shy of full blown "On the Beach" style depression. It's something about the country that infuses their science-fiction with an elegant weariness, like falling asleep after walking for miles in the snow. Sure, it will kill you, but after all that effort sometimes it's just a relief to stop.

"Greybeard" takes us into a fairly unique scenario . . . the whole adult population of earth gets sterilized. There's an accident up in the atmosphere and suddenly nobody is getting pregnant anymore. Not a problem, the human race figures. Whatever this is will probably wear off and we'll get back to making babies and filling every corner of the planet in no time.

Fast forward a few decades and clearly that hasn't happened. The Earth has basically become one big nursing home, as the youngest people on the planet are now in their fifties, and not getting younger. Suddenly everyone in the world is an AARP member and having to face the inevitable . . . once they're gone, that's it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By drbeshears@olynet.com on October 11, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the best of the "end of the world" books, written by one the select members of the group known as the "world destroyers" back in the fifties and sixties. I began reading science fiction before I was even in junior high, and for me, this was one of the most memorable. It is still one of the best (I can count those I would consider 'the best' on one hand). The atmosphere that Aldiss creates for us begins on the first page, in the first paragraph, in the first sentence. This book will stay with me for the rest of my life. (Several years ago, I managed to find a first edition. Now, if I could just get it signed...)
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