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If you are like me in being relatively new to SF, then we have one distinct advantage: a hefty number of the novels, particularly those of the New Wave, will possess an undeniable freshness, making for an exciting, even thrilling, read. What an adventure! I will not do so here since Non-Stop Zounds! I will not do so here since Non-Stop is a tale where all the many varieties of characters along with developments, ups, downs and breakthroughs are best disclosed to a reader page by page. Once I read the first chapter, I was completely hooked.
I became excited, anticipating what Roy would encounter and learn on the next step of his journey. And, remarkably enough, there was no lessening of my excitement right up til the very last page. I felt like our ancient ancestors must have felt listing to an unfolding saga as they sat around the fire at night.
So the question arises: how did Brian Aldiss pull it off? I think a good part of the answer lies in the disparity of knowledge between readers on one side and Roy and company on the other.
This to say, living in the modern world, we possess an understanding of astronomy and reading about people lacking such basic knowledge but who, step by step, eventually expand their comprehension of the universe and their place in it, makes for a fascinating read.
I strongly suspect another part of the answer is tied up with three key qualities of New Wave SF - how it tends to be psychological, boundary pushing and weird. Let me tackle these one at a time. Psychological: The inner space of the mind assumes equal important as outer space. The Teaching warned him that his mind was a foul place. Man stood revealed to himself: a creature of infinite complexity and horror. You know - we all know - only what being in one is like; it is that which makes us think there is only ship.
But there are many places which are not ship - huge places, many of them. This I know because I have seen records left by the Giants. The ship was made by the Giants, for their own purposes which are - as yet - hidden from us. Lastly, recall I mentioned we as readers have the advantage of knowing the facts of astronomy.
However, we only learn the ultimate reality of the characters, their world and their underlying mission toward the stunning conclusion.. Thus, in this regard, we are in store for a few unexpected jolts. What a remarkable novel. Bravo, Brian Aldiss. British author Brian Aldiss, "Violence and death were pandemic in Quarters, forming a natural balance to the high birth rate, by nobody cheerfully dies for the sake of symmetry.
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With a small group, he leaves his home and ventures into uncharted territory. The consequent discoveries will change his perception of the entire universe. After his wife is kidnapped, a tribal priest, Marapper, encourages Complain to join a furtive expedition into the unexplored corridors. On their journey, the group encounters other tribes of varying levels of sophistication. Here, they learn that the space-craft is a multi-generational starship returning from a newly colonised planet in the Procyon star system.