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Non-stop (S.F. Masterworks) Paperback – September 14, 2000
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
I read this book back in high-school during the 1960's and wanted to re-read it after seeing the Ascension mini-series on SciFi. Well worth the read!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite books period; I read a lot of genre's and this stays in my top 10. I was a big Aldiss fan as a teenager in my high school years in the early 60's. Read morePublished 2 months ago by gerald roper
There is no book quite like this. Non-Stop had a big impact on my childhood and spun me off into a lifelong love of all things scifi. Highly recommended. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Frosti
Recommended. Compared to Heinlein's Orphans of the sky which uses similar topic, the characters in Non-stop are somehow more developed.Published 5 months ago by Peter Franek
I read this book many years ago and it is still a great work by a great writer. Pure genius.Published 15 months ago by Tom Kane
This is a story about people living in a place that has been home to them for generations. Five of the characters go on a quest and find out strange and wonderful (and disturbing)... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jeffrey Eldredge
Non-Stop is one of the original novels of generation ships: spaceships that travel to the nearest star well below the speed of light, such that it reaches the destination several... Read morePublished 18 months ago by David J. Nix
Great sci-fi novel about life on a generation starship (though the passengers don't know that's what it is). Great look at the culture and so many cool ideas. Read morePublished 22 months ago by dudesimon
There is a skill in the writing trade about what to reveal to a reader and when and how much to let them in on. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by Thoyd Loki