Brian Aldiss' first novel. A story of a small tribe in a very strange jungle, who make unsettling discoveries about the nature of their world. 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. Published in the US as Starship.
Brian Wilson Aldiss is 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 recently celebrated his eightieth birthday and is still writing to ardent applause.
©2004 Brian Aldiss; (P)2009 Audible Ltd
I read this book and Kim Robinson’s “Aurora” after Professor Gary K. Wolfe mentioned both as examples of generation ship stories in his great ”How Great Science Fiction Works” lecture series (by The Great Courses).
Both “Non-Stop” and “Aurora” are creative and exciting generation ship tales, but I enjoyed “Non-Stop” much more. I’m really at a loss to explain why I hadn’t hear of this story before and why it isn’t more famous. It deserves to be.
The writing is excellent, the story has some great dark elements, and the ending is original and unexpected. This audio book version is also well-narrated.
I highly recommend this book, especially but not only to fans of sci-fi.
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I hesitate to call this good old fashioned Science Fiction, because that would suggest that since it was written in 1958, that it is dated. I believe this could easily have been written today. The only difference is that instead of 8 hours long it would be 28 hours long and have two sequels.
There is quite a lot in this 8 hours. You pretty much know from the start that this is a generational ship and the population has gone back to the dark ages. What you don't know is several other mysteries that get discovered at the end of the book.
Our main character's name is Complain and even though his people are described as primitives, there language is more of medieval England. Here is a typical exchange: "Keep a civil turn of phrase, Complain: your own carcass isn't worth a crust to me."
After Complain loses his woman, he joins a group of rebels, led by a priest named Marapper, on a quest. Marapper heads a religion that worships psychology. Jung and Freud are part of the trinity. Marapper's character of selfishness is down right roll on the ground funny at times. On their quest they run into Giants, Mutants, Forwards, Outsiders, Intelligent rats, telepathic rabbits and Moth Scouts.
Towards the end there are a couple of chapters of fighting and burning of the ship that seems to go on far too long and there is a scene where discovering how to open trap doors comes a little to easy for me, but this is minor. The ending is a surprise and very inventive.
This is one of the very few books were I gave the overall rating more stars then the story. In most cases I feel the story should be more important, but the narrator is so good, I believe he increases the value of the book.
An enjoyable read with a decent narrator. Non-stop is a classic generation ship yarn. We follow members of the Green Tribe who move corridor by corridor nomadically through the hulk of an ancient starship. And like any good generation ship story they progressively realize that their world is a lot more than they had imagined. Adventures and revelations ensue. It's a fairly short book (8 hours) so don't expect a lot of epic surprises or character development, but it makes for a speedy and fun read.
My only gripe was the narrator's "tensely" spoken character dialog. Really grated on my nerves with how often he chose to use it... I could see him sitting in front of the microphone with bulging neck muscles and madly quivering eyes. Other than that a fine performance.
it takes a minute to get an understanding of the situation and things get more explanation the deeper you go. it seems a bit odd at first but it was interesting and kept me wondering what was going on. overall I liked it and I'll try more Aldiss. For a first novel this was very good. early on it's hard to visualize the layout but I think if it were a film they would use large corridors overgrown with plants etc. I don't want to give any more away than that.
Heinlein's Orphans of the sky,
too British, sometimes reminded me of Monty Python sound
Interesting. Thought-provoking. Exciting.
The unique elements of the storyline. This was my first experience with Brian Aldiss. I had lost interest in science fiction over the past few years and also on fiction in general. I read an article on Earth-centric science fiction that opened my eyes to a whole new world of authors that I had heard of but never read before. This was the first story I looked into after reading the article and was completely captivated. I sought out a copy immediately after finishing the audiobook and hopefully will find an original first edition.
The way the story develops is what I enjoyed the most. I particularly enjoyed how you have to understand the environment the characters are in through their eyes and match it with your own interpretation to understand what is going on. Aldiss develops a relationship with the reader.
Coherent and well-spoken narration.
I would if I could.
No others tried.
The Market Trader - He had a good secret.
Never Set Your Dazer Past Stun
I read the paperback decades ago and wanted to read it again. Only the audible version was available. My Great Good Luck! Very nice to listen before sleep time.
Avid audiobook addict!
Old Fashioned, slow paced, not enjoyable like modern science fiction stories usually are. Not recommended.
"True or Not"
A tale that is set in an unusual environment, the listener is never really sure until near the end, you think you know but is it or is it something completely different? Could this really happen, it?s quite possible, man?s primeval fear of strangers, something new or different are all explored in this adventure of what appears to be an ordinary man living in an extraordinary environment and his exploration of that environment. A Sci-Fi audio book that makes you thing. Highly recommended by a lover of Sci-Fi.
"A classic title, very well done"
'Non-Stop' is one of the classics of science fiction, and this telling does it real justice. Brian Aldiss is, of course, a towering figure in the genre. This was his first published novel, and although it shows a few touches of beginner's clumsiness, his genius shines through.
The story follows the adventures of Roy Complain, a hunter belonging to the semi-nomadic Greene tribe. Right from the beginning, the astute reader (or listener) will notice a strange blend of primitive and high-tech elements in the tribe's daily life. I can't say more than that without giving it all away! Suffice it to say that Complain and his companions end up discovering exciting and painful truths about themselves, their world, and the universe.
David Thorpe is an excellent reader with a voice that's easy to listen to. He also personifies the characters well by their voices, without over-acting. A few simple words are persistently mispronounced wherever they occur, which made me grit my teeth, but I survived! And it wasn't nearly enough to lower my opinion of this wonderful rendition of a sci-fi classic.
"Brian Aldiss burst onto the scene..."
This was a stunner when it originally came out and, although many have told the same basic tale since, this telling still works wonders. I'm working my way through his novels over 40 years after first reading them and was delighted to enjoy it as much now as then. Despite being a very early work of his, I prefer it to works like Hothouse.
I’m also rereading J G Ballard at the moment and this compares very favourably with his early work like The Drowned World and The Crystal World which are all about conjuring someone’s emotional and psychological states, against a environmentally extreme background. Non-Stop has those elements but they’re there to enrich storyline rather than for there own sake. Aldiss tells a good story and this is one of them.
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