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Non-Stop (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Paperback]

Brian Aldiss
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Sep 2000 S.F. MASTERWORKS

Curiosity was discouraged in the Greene tribe. Its members lived out their lives in cramped Quarters, hacking away at the encroaching ponics. As to where they were - that was forgotten.

Roy Complain decides to find out. With the renegade priest Marapper, he moves into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down...

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.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (14 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857989988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857989984
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aldiss's father ran a department store that his grandfather had established, and the family lived above it. At the age of 6, Brian was sent to board at West Buckland School in Devon, which he attended until his late teens. In 1943, he joined the Royal Signals regiment, and saw action in Burma; his encounters with tropical rainforests at that time may have been at least a partial inspiration for Hothouse, as his Army experience inspired the Horatio Stubbs second and third books.

After World War II, he worked as a bookseller in Oxford. Besides short science fiction for various magazines, he wrote a number of short pieces for a booksellers trade journal about life in a fictitious bookshop, and this attracted the attention of Charles Monteith, an editor at the British publishers Faber and Faber. As a result of this, Aldiss's first book was The Brightfount Diaries (1955), a novel in diary form about the life of a sales assistant in a bookshop.
In 1955, The Observer newspaper ran a competition for a short story set in the year 2500, which Aldiss won with a story entitled "Not For An Age". The Brightfount Diaries had been a minor success, and Faber asked Aldiss if he had any more writing that they could look at with a view to publishing. Aldiss confessed to being a science fiction author, to the delight of the publishers, who had a number of science fiction fans in high places, and so his first science fiction book, a collection of short stories entitled Space, Time and Nathaniel was published. By this time, his earnings from writing equalled the wages he got in the bookshop, so he made the decision to become a full-time writer.
He was voted the Most Promising New Author at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1958, and elected President of the British Science Fiction Association in 1960. He was the literary editor of the Oxford Mail newspaper during the 1960s. Around 1964 he and his long-time collaborator Harry Harrison started the first ever journal of science fiction criticism, Science Fiction Horizons, which during its brief span of two issues published articles and reviews by such authors as James Blish, and featured a discussion among Aldiss, C. S. Lewis, and Kingsley Amis in the first issues, and an interview with William S. Burroughs in the second.

Besides his own writings, he has had great success as an anthologist. For Faber he edited Introducing SF, a collection of stories typifying various themes of science fiction, and Best Fantasy Stories. In 1961 he edited an anthology of reprinted short science fiction for the British paperback publisher Penguin Books under the title Penguin Science Fiction. This was remarkably successful, going into numerous reprints, and was followed up by two further anthologies, More Penguin Science Fiction (1963), and Yet More Penguin Science Fiction (1964). The later anthologies enjoyed the same success as the first, and all three were eventually published together as The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus (1973), which also went into a number of reprints. In the 1970s, he produced several large collections of classic grand-scale science fiction, under the titles Space Opera (1974), Space Odysseys (1975), Galactic Empires (1976), Evil Earths (1976), and Perilous Planets (1978) which were quite successful. Around this time, he edited a large-format volume Science Fiction Art (1975), with selections of artwork from the magazines and pulps.
In response to the results from the planetary probes of the 1960s and 1970s, which showed that Venus was completely unlike the hot, tropical jungle usually depicted in science fiction, he and Harry Harrison edited an anthology Farewell, Fantastic Venus!, reprinting stories based on the pre-probe ideas of Venus. He also edited, with Harrison, a series of anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction (1968-1976?)

Brian Aldiss also invented a form of extremely short story called the Minisaga. The Daily Telegraph hosted a competition for the best Minisaga for several years and Aldiss was the judge.[2] He has edited several anthologies of the best Minisagas.

He traveled to Yugoslavia, where he met Yugoslav fans in Ljubljana, Slovenia; he published a travel book about Yugoslavia; he published an alternative-history fantasy story about Serbian kings in the Middle Ages; and he wrote a novel called The Malacia Tapestry, about an alternative Dalmatia.

He has achieved the honor of "Permanent Special Guest" at ICFA, the conference for the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, which he attends annually.

He was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature in HM Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Honours list, announced on 11 June 2005.

In January 2007 he appeared on Desert Island Discs. His choice of record to 'save' was Old Rivers sung by Walter Brennan, his choice of book was John Halpern's biography of John Osborne, and his luxury a banjo. The full selection of eight favourite records is on the BBC website .

On 1 July 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Liverpool in recognition of his contribution to literature.

In addition to a highly successful career as a writer, Aldiss is also an accomplished artist whose abstract compositions or 'isolées' are influenced by the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Wassily Kandinsky. His first solo exhibition The Other Hemisphere was held in Oxford, UK, in August-September 2010, and the exhibition's centrepiece 'Metropolis' has since been released as a limited edition fine art print.

Product Description

Book Description

The first published novel of England¿s greatest living SF writer

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic of the field 12 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
I wish for this to remain a non-spoiler review. To give away anything of this story, would be a crime in my opinion.

The Greene Tribe live in relative ignorance, generally only aware of their own immediate surroundings, and meagre existence. For them to really consider where they are, is truly beyond them. This is until one of their kind - Roy Complain - decides to investigate beyond his dwellings.

A story can be very powerful when told in the right way. Non-Stop does this in a very well poised and paced manner. Although the book does start slowly, and really does not get going until about a quarter of the way through, the revelations brought upon the reader are truly shocking, with a long lasting effect. I was totally stunned by what Complain discovers. Shortly in, you find out why the book is called 'Non-Stop', and from that point, the shocks keep coming for Complain that turn his whole universe inside-out. He realises that for the whole of his life, and that of his tribe, they have been totally deceived, and that their whole existence is an age-old lie gone horribly wrong.

This is, in my opinion, Aldiss' finest work. Having read the majority of the Sci-Fi Masterworks series, amongst many others, this rates as one of the true greats of the genre. This book will get under your skin, and stay with you for a long, long time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop 2 Jun 2013
By TomCat
Format:Kindle Edition
[WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW...]

The idea of a `generation ship' had been kicking around in both scientific non-fiction and SF for quite a few years by 1958, when Brian Aldiss wrote the first novel-length treatment of the concept. Non-Stop concerns itself with several scavenging, semi-primitive tribes who inhabit a primordial jungle; the obvious mid-novel revelation being that these tribesmen are, in fact, the distant descendants of the crew of a vast generation ship that has lost its own history and which, owing to some horrific accident, has become over-grown with mutated plant life (dubbed `ponics' - presumably a corruption of the term `hydroponics'). I say the twist is "obvious", but this is only because it has, in recent years, become an over-used cliché of both visual and literary SF, from Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun and Christine Love's Analogue: a Hate Story, to cinema's abortive 2009 horror bore-fest Pandorum.

The reason for this over-use is obvious: the scenario is an incredibly fruitful one, a twist that generates impressive narrative momentum and sense-of-wonder while simultaneously knocking at the door of deeper philosophical investigations and a Platonist questioning of the material evidence for the world around us. Non-Stop is one of the better examples of this scenario, and is, of course, awarded extra SF points for being its progenitor. The prose is a little dry, occasionally veering on clunky, but the sheer pace of the book mitigates any sense of stylistic aridity, and the deftly handled dénouement is, for modern readers at least, a much more impressive shock than the early disclosure that `they were on a ship all along'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human, but not humane 20 Sep 2000
Format:Paperback
Roy Complain, a hunter, living in Quarters and thus a product of his upbringing, however, is not content, deep inside he always knew that there must be something more than his petty existance. Together with the priest Marapper he goes on a journey and as his knowledge grows, he changes and grows with it. I do not intend to give an outline of the story and thus spoil the pleasure of reading, or as I did, absorbing the book, not being able to turn the pages quickly enough to my liking. Like Roy I had to know what was going on and more importantly, where he was.
Brian Aldiss succeeds in portraying his characters realisticly, they are just like you and me, petty, always argueing about everything. However as the journey progresses, slowly but surely they change, especially Roy, who is capable of taking a step back and look at his situation objectively : P.92 : "He saw a parallel between the lives of the rats and the human lives emphasized in their man-like conduct of ill-treating a fellow creature, the rabbit. The rats survived where they could, giving no thought to the nature of their surroundings ; Complain could only say the same of himself until now."
It is a beautiful story, beautiful in a linguistic way, e.g. the first time Complain sees space, or the moment when he sees Laur's face caught in sunlight. But it is also a sad story, the struggle for life and in the end the harsh, cruel truth. In science man has made many discoveries and scienctific progress, unfortunately the human heart has not grown in the sense that would make it more humane. On the contrary, the human heart has evolved in a different direction. It has not grown warmer, but colder. I highly recommend this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Space? A fine masterworks release. 23 Jun 2001
Format:Paperback
This is a highly readable Sci-fi story. To a fair extent I agree that you do have a good idea how the story will pan out but this doesn't stop you feeling the pain and loss when the characters eventually find out the truth.
Aldiss keeps the reader on edge throughout and the motives are explored within the final pages. I found his writing constant throughout and you must be reminded that this is one of his first novels and published in the late fifties. The old lost in space storyline is there but I did enjoy the way the characters grew and the tale was pieced together.
This is another first class addition to the Masterworks library and an absolute must for all fans of the genre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brian Aldiss
It's by the MASTER, what more's to say.
Published 1 month ago by Stuart Bird
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic
I love this book. Its a great story I have to say when I recently read this book that I felt like i had read elements of it in another book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Blue Card
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, enjoyable, well written sci-fi
I have read some mixed reviews on this one but decided to add it to my collection of classic sci- fi. Pleased to report, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mel Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.
Super. Very creative and so well written, couldn't put it down. if you are a fan on Sci-Fi then buy this.
Published 10 months ago by A. Mansour
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite SF novels
Very fast moving, great premise and great story telling. Unexpected ending. Definitely one of my favourite SF novels. If you enjoy this, have a go at "Dark Eden" too. Read more
Published 11 months ago by R. Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic SF
Brian Aldiss's Non-Stop, first written in 1958 and re-edited in 2000, definitely deserves its label of SF masterwork. Read more
Published 12 months ago by reader 451
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Banana!
Imaginative,food for thought.It really is a master piece of sci fi.Well he is British who are the best writers!Cannot add anything else.
Published 21 months ago by Jeffrey Aldous
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
I really enjoyed this book. Having read the Helliconia Trilogy by Brian Aldiss in the past i consider him to be an excellent writer whose stories take you to worlds of fantasy with... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Graeme
5.0 out of 5 stars Cream of the cream
This book is published by Gollancz in the Sci-Fi masterworks series. The series contains the best of the Sci-Fi novels from years gone by. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Moelwyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading fun
I picked up this book as I am in the process of reading through the masterworks list. The plot was engaging, but light hearted, easy for a non sci-fi lovers to understand. Read more
Published 24 months ago by A. Hulse
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