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Non-Stop (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Sep 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (14 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857989988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857989984
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
One thing is for sure in the field of Science Fiction; if you like your plate full of 'heroes' who are paragons of moral probity - Brian Wilson Aldiss is the author to give you a triple dose of stomach-churning indigestion.
Quite from where he draws inspiration for such spiteful, perfidious and yet deliciously appealing protagonists as those found in Non-Stop (not to mention his other works) is beyond me. And in all honesty - I don't really want to know.
Meet Roy Complain, member of the Greene tribe, a nomadic group of semi-primitives trapped aboard a malfunctioning generation star ship ploughing its way through the Universe. Roy's job is to forage for food throughout dark and foreboding corridors overrun by choking plant life.
Surprisingly enough, the members of the tribe appear completely oblivious to their actual predicament; the truth of their existence, and that of their environment, is shrouded in mystery - lost and corrupted over the centuries.
Only the fiercely redoubtable Father Henry Marapper suspects that there may be more to the 'world' than meets the eye, and when Roy's mate is abducted in the corridor jungles, the priest enlists the resourceful hunter for a dangerous trek into the unknown reaches of the spacecraft in search of answers.
Along for the journey come several other individuals who would appear to represent the absolute worst examples of humanity such as Wantage, hideously disfigured and the hopelessly psychotic, and Roffery, a brazenly corrupt meat salesman. Marapper himself, whilst being hugely entertaining, is a certifiable maniac with a penchant for dispending a brand of 'religion' that probably wouldn't be out of place during the Spanish Inquisition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'Non-Stop' by Brian Aldiss is quite rightfully a classic in the Sci-Fi field in that it deals with some quite interesting and hard issues and does so under the cover of a fictional story.

The story begins in a relatively primitive tribe, with many hints of this existing in an environment that has once been much more advanced but decayed since. A group of people from the tribe, including the protagonist - Roy Complain - at some point decide to go beyond the dogma and the limits of the tribe, and explore. And without giving any spoilers, there is much to learn.

The book deals with so many topics it is hard to summarize them all. They include dealing with catastrophic calamities, the emergence and spread of religion, genetic alterations, the role of man in society, moral hazard, and so much more.

The characters may be a bit hard to follow and comprehend from the beginning, since the author endeavored to make them believable in the context of their existence more than likeable to the readership. As such it takes you some time to understand their motives and drives.

This makes the book probably not the easiest, most page turning read you have encountered, at the same time the book raises so many points that reflection is in order anyway. The limited action there is is well paced and sufficiently gripping but it is much more the dawning of understanding that drives the plot and the book overall.

The book should work for most people who like their science fiction a bit more cerebral, with less focus of space fights and more on societal change and thought experiments. At any rate, one can say that it is a classic in its field and that it deserves to be read for that alone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this at age fifteen and was enthralled. Thirty years later I have just read it again and found it as fresh, intriguing and thought provoking as ever. Even though I could remember where the plot was heading, my recent enjoyment was undiminished.
My only minor criticisms are, 1. The ending is abrupt and leaves the reader hanging, 2. Some of the themes are underdeveloped. The book could easily have been twice as long, but still works very well as it is. The writing is top quality and highly welcome among the current culture of sub-professional sci-fi novels. In my opinion, this fascinating story has not aged at all in fifty eight years, a remarkable achievement in a genre where some of the best known works seem dated after two decades and archaic after five.
The characters are a rag tag bunch, often angry, sometimes violent, yet pitiable in their ignorance, like lost children running wild. As their known world both crumbles and enlarges, they are forced to change with it, but their thirst for discovery takes them beyond the hard questions of life and grows to a size big enough to threaten everything they need to survive.
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