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Greybeard (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 10 Mar 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (10 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575071133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575071131
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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)

Book Description

A haunting vision of a post-apocalyptic England.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One man's search for meaning in a dysfunctional world... it's a common theme for Brian Aldiss to take up. This book, however, is perhaps a little more accessible than titles like Hothouse or Non-Stop, which also explore this theme. This is largely because Greybeard is set in the still recognisable world of Oxfordshire, England, albeit set in the near future in a world seemingly devoid of children. The novel has a very haunting and melancholic quality to it but ends on an inspired note. Recommended reading... and you don't have to be a fan of science fiction to enjoy this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another thoroughly absorbing and wonderfully literate work by SF Master Brian Aldiss. While dealing with an almost unbearably maudlin premise; our world made infertile by the ill-considered detonation of Atomic warheads in the earth's atmosphere; Aldiss writes so well, and with such sublime humanity, that one can't help but feel rather optimistic about the recuperative powers of man.

Each zesty, colorful vignette is beautifully realized by Aldiss, and one is quickly immersed in the wholly absorbing narrative of Greybeard, and his delightful wife Martha's stoic exodus through the myriad adventures they have along the Thames estuary, and the much hoped-for sanctuary of the sea.

I'm sure Greybeard must be one of the most elegiac journey's into the inevitable demise of our natal planet; as there is such a grand wit and effervescing, searching mind at work behind this exemplary novel.

Mr. Aldiss I salute you! 'Greybeard' has not not only proven to be an inspirational tome for generations of writers; it is also an earthy, impassioned, richly woven tale which shall remain a must-read for all those who genuinely appreciate great literary art.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't normally enjoy Science Fiction, but enjoyed this novel. I thought its use of the term "senile delinquents" was a wonderful alternative to the more normal "juvenile delinquents". I read the book because it is featured this month on BBC World Service Radio's excellent World Book Club, and I am looking forward to listening to Aldiss responding tomorrow to questions from both a studio and worldwide audience. (By the way, I can thoroughly recommend this programme, which has caused me to read all sorts of book I would not normally buy. Also, I am sure most of us have that empty feeling when finishing a book. So it is great to finish a book, knowing one still has this programme to look forward to). Finally, perhaps on a rather inward note given that my partner and I are "childfree", it would have been good if Aldiss could have touched on the advantages of a couple not having children - this is particularly apparent to me where I live in Africa - average 6 to 7 children per woman and a population doubling every 20 or so years, carries with it many negative features.
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Format: Paperback
A couple of weeks ago I was in the Oxfam shop, looking for a science fiction item to buy. I plumped for this one, and I've just finished it.

On the good side, it's a well-written book, with good characters. What happens is that the testing of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in space have affected the Van Allen radiation belts around the earth, rendering the human race (and most higher animals) sterile.

So, without children, civilization slowly and inexorably crumbles. England is run, not by a national government, but by regional warlords. A group of old people have established themselves in the village of Sparcot, growing enough food to get by, and avoiding the plague which has decimated the population of the cities. One man, Greybeard, growing tired of the same old way of life, decides he has to leave, to seek his fortune. So off he goes, with this wife, rowing down the Thames.... The book meanders along for a while, telling us what Greybeard does and has done.

Suddenly, about halfway through the book, there is a major gear change, and we find ourselves in the USA, and a completely different storyline ensues. I found this big change rather difficult to swallow, as it's a bit like reading a completely different book!

Eventually the story moves back to England, with the old fogeys and has-beens trying to make the best of things. I found it quite difficult to get into this book, despite it being well-written. It's a bit like watching a mediocre play - not bad, but you are quite relieved when it comes to an end. It's just a bit dull, and I cannot honestly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
A nuclear accident unleashes radioactivity on the earth rendering the population sterile. As the population ages the earth decays to the dark ages frantically grasping for the myth of children still being born.
An interesting idea, well developed with good character generation. Unfortunately just lacked that special something which renders a good book a classic!
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book but I don't think it really lived up to its potential. The first few pages got me hooked right in, very cinematic descriptions, I could visualise how the first scene would look like if it were a movie. The characters were interesting but could have been developed more as some were only superfically described. I also wanted to know more about the deeper feelings of these people who couldn't have children. Aldiss does explore this somewhat, but I think this is where he misses a trick. It just doesn't delve deeply enough into the issues that this scenario raises.

If you like this genre of book then I would certainly recommend reading it, it was certainly enjoyable and well written. It was difficult for me to get hold of though, it seems to have been out of print for a while so if you can get a second hand copy in any condition it's worth grabbing.
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