- 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)
Greybeard (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 10 Mar 2011
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'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)
A haunting vision of a post-apocalyptic England.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
An interesting idea, well developed with good character generation. Unfortunately just lacked that special something which renders a good book a classic!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It had been a great many years since I picked up a science fiction book and indeed during the last few years I have read far more non-fiction than fiction of any kind (much to my... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Barnaby
Another masterpiece by Aldiss.
I could not put down this amazing novel that raises so many ethical and philosophical points in an effortless and gripping way. Read more
A 1960s take on "What if" humans stop reproducing - exploring the social consequences of an ageing population heading towards extinction. Read morePublished on 7 April 2014 by Jane Insley
I read this book after finding the excellent 'The age of Aquarius' by A W Findlay and searching for similar themes. Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2014 by Sorina C
I ordered this book on my Kindle after hearing the BBC World Book Club discussion. Not that the author impressed me: on the contrary he just sounded gloomy, and avoided awkward but... Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2013 by Michael Tracy
I read this for the BBC World Book Club. It wouldn't have been my first choice but I found it extremely well written, especially the descriptions, and a throughly enjoyable read. Read morePublished on 22 Dec. 2013 by Albertfrog
This is a book by a British author so why must we suffer American spelling? Apart from that I enjoyed the book, reasonably logical in it's assumptions and entertaining.Published on 18 Nov. 2013 by Ian Coole