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Non-Stop (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Sep 2000
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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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Top customer reviews
The exact nature of their world, who the other races are, and why they are there is slowly deciphered by the characters as the story progresses. Much of it is easy to guess, but the pace of the novel, the charm with which it is told, and the steadily developing characters meant I didn't begrudge that at all.
My one problem with the book is the brevity of the ending. Where I was expecting another chapter the story just ends, and very abruptly at that. It's the only part of the book that feels rushed, which is a real shame, almost like he wasn't quite sure how to conclude it. Still, I suppose that's nothing new in sf with big ideas. Apart from that, it's a great read.
And I haven't mentioned the rats ...
The book is basically one of the author's first attempts at writing a novel, and it feels like it is - there is no style to the writing. It's just not very good. I've given it two stars only because the idea running through the novel is a good sci-fi one, which kept my interest in spite of the writing.
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!
During their travels the men come across various other inhabitants of the jungles, and eventually learn what they are and where they came from. This is done through a series of events that gradually reveal what's going on, but I personally found the last third or so of the story a bit of an unwelcome departure from the style of the beginning of the story. The ending in particular was, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. There could have been any number of reasons for the tribe's circumstances, but the one chosen was a bit of an anti-climax in my opinion.
A good story, and worthy of inclusion in the SF Masterworks series, but not as good as some others in the collection.
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Most recent customer reviews
My review is based on the 1976 Pan edition
Published in 1958, this 1976 reissue of Brian Aldiss' first novel shows him at his...Read more