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Non-stop (S.F. Masterworks) Paperback – September 14, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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About the Author

Brian W. Aldiss (1925 - ) Brian Wilson Aldiss was born in 1925. He is a highly decorated science fiction author who has achieved the rare feat of acceptance as a writer of real significance by the literary establishment in his lifetime. As well as his many award-winning novels he has been a hugely important anthologist and editor in the field. He also wrote the pre-eminent history of the genre (with David Wingrove), Billion Year Spree (later expanded and revised as Trillion Year Spree). He lives in Oxford.

Product Details

  • Series: S.F. Masterworks
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (September 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857989988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857989984
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Written as response to Robert A. Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, a novel he felt lacking in emotion, Aldiss' novel is a classic generation starship tale.

The idea that their universe is the inside of a giant spaceship is known but derided in the Greene tribe. They're a barbarous lot. They destroy books whenever they find them. The Teaching, a Freudian inspired religion with its talk of id and ego, values full and immediate expression of fear and anger lest the repression of those emotions curdle into neurosis. A nomadic lot, they seal off the hallway they live in, moving the barricades when they exhaust the "ponics", plants that abound in the ship's corridors. Their power stems from a cache of weapons found two generations ago.

And protagonist Roy Complain is not happy with his life in the tribe. He gets flogged for losing his woman on a hunting expedition into the "deadways" beyond the tribes "Quarters". Chaffing under the Teaching and floggings of his tribe, Complain decides to accompany priest Marapper and three others through the deadways and to the land of the advanced people of Forwards. Marapper expects, somewhere, to find the ship's control room, seize control of the vessel, and end this painful journey through the stars.

In his wanderings, Complain learns the truth behind the other groups -- the mutants, the Outsiders, and the Giants -- rumored to inhabit the ship. Aldiss puts an ironic twist to the generation starship tale, particularly Orphans of the Sky, when he reveals the exact situation of the ship.
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Format: Paperback
It was with great joy that I found and read "Non-Stop", which is an author-revised version of the classic work called "Starship" from 1958. I read the original when I was perhaps 12 or 13, and now I am 49. It was, therefore, a real treat to relive this amazing tale, with a slightly different twist, but with a more mature ability to grasp the brilliance of this work.

First, be forwarned that there are, sadly, a few typos and spelling errors in this edition and even some sentences that are incomplete. (If only I had been his copy-editor! It is so sad that such a gifted writer's publishing house could not do a more professional job on the production side!) On one page the author writes about cutting through the masses of hydroponic plants (ponics) on the lower decks of the ship, but the text reads "ponies" rather than "ponics".

Another thing you must accept with this new edition is that Aldiss didn't change very much, and thus the writing style is still very 50's sci-fi. But that was such a Golden Age for the genre! So, I give him a little slack for that. I'm glad he kept closely to the original theme, style, and character development, since the characters were all very colorful and vivid in the original.

I had always felt that the original title "Starship" gave away the story too soon--that is, being on or about a vessel. When reading the original book, I found it a tad frustrating, as I had assumed that I had picked up a sci-book about a 'starship,' yet the first part of the story seemed to be preoccupied with agriculture and living in tight spaces with ruffians! So, the new title "Non-Stop" very cleverly gets around this issue.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is a review on Amazon that says that Aldiss's "Non-Stop" is a SEQUEL to his "Starship". Au Contraire! They are the same book, different editions. Starship was written and copywrited in 1958. Non-Stop was copywrited in 2000, most recently published in 2005.

On the back cover of Non-Stop, it says that "This...[is] Starship...updated for the twenty-first century."

Here is what Brian Aldiss says about the two books:

"For this new edition of an old favorite, I have made some alterations here and there. These occur on 48 pages [193 remain the same]. The adventure remains the same; the characters remain the same; the theme of an idea gobbling up real life remains the same. Only a few words have been changed. But of course a few words make all the difference."


So, don't do like I did and get both expecting Non-Stop to be a sequel. My first clue was that the two Table of Contents were exactly the same. Just thought you'd like to know.
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Format: Paperback
A generation ship! Science run amok! A brilliant work from the late 50s which must be read! Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop (published in the U.S. as Starship) is a relentlessly dark science fiction novel written in response to Robert Heinlein's revolutionary yet ultimately unsatisfying Orphans of the Sky. Although I'll read anything with a generation ship, I was completely blown away by Aldiss' first novel. Seldom have I come across anything written in the 50s so dark -- a ship filled with strangely disfigured men, oppressive hallways choked by layers of hydroponic plants, slowly moving primitive tribes who kill their mutated children, regimented rats with their caged partially telepathic animals, disturbing religions spawned from the tenants of various psychologists (Freud and the like), giants scurrying undetected along various hallways and passages stealing children... A nightmare.

A Brief Plot Summary (Limited spoilers)

Owing to the unfolding revelatory nature of this work's plot, I'll divulge only what is necessary to tempt prospective readers. Roy Complain is a member of the Greene tribe that hacks out a semi-nomadic existence in the overgrown hallways of the ship. The tribe knows little of its world. It protects its borders from renegade groups, moves slowly down the hallways, propagating, dying, killing each other in senseless combat, following an unusual religion, exploring the next rooms, burning what could potentially damage the existing power structures... Some members secretly collect shreds of paper, books, odd objects... Roy Complain, after his mate is lost (or killed) out hunting, agrees to head out on a suicidal mission to find the Forward section. This mission, headed by the power hungry priest Marapper, seeks to take over the ship.
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