Generation Ship Novels?
August 31, 2010 5:37 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite generation ship novels?

(That wikipedia link does not seem to have a list, unless I'm missing something.)
posted by OmieWise to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
The Book of the Long Sun - Gene Wolfe. Good fun to read, deeply imagined setting, and a lot of hidden depth to the story-line. I wouldn't read the sequel Short Sun books though - I think after this series Wolfe's novels started to lose something.
posted by crocomancer at 5:54 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

The Book Of The Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
Journey Into Space by Toby Litt

I thought it was a pretty common trope but I'm having trouble thinking of any. Rite Of Passage by Alexei Panshin is meant to be a classic but I thought it was rubbish. John Brosnan wrote a bloody awful one too.
posted by ninebelow at 5:57 AM on August 31, 2010

Generation ships are only part of the milieu (much action takes place elsewhere) but Chasm City was sorta interesting. Had some unique takes on the generation ship concept and certain implications of the technology.
posted by aramaic at 5:59 AM on August 31, 2010

The Lilith's Brood series by Octavia Butler.

Anathem. (In some ways I guess this could be a spoiler, but I still wanted to recommend it. It's part of the story, but not really the focus)
posted by olinerd at 6:15 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

The short story Taklamakan by Bruce Sterling has an interesting twist on this trope. And has an entry.
posted by artlung at 6:42 AM on August 31, 2010

Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel Delany is a pretty good early novel of his. (or so I remember, it's been about thirty years since I read it)
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 AM on August 31, 2010

I enjoyed Orphans of the Sky when I was in the 8th grade. The 'generation ship crew forgets their purpose' concept blew my freakin' mind.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:47 AM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]

I greatly enjoyed the Cities In Flight series, which is either a long four-part novel or four quite short novels, depending which bookshop you find it in.

The later Rama novels edge toward generation ships, but don't quite make it. Excellent books, though.

While I didn't particularly enjoy Pushing Ice, it's a popular enough book that you might like it.
posted by metaBugs at 6:53 AM on August 31, 2010

Mayflies, by Kevin O'Donnell.

(Amazon has a generation ship tag.)
posted by fleacircus at 7:23 AM on August 31, 2010

The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss. Aka Quakers! in! Spaaaaaace!!!

Meticulously observed and beautifully written on a very human scale.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:53 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

"The Dark Beyond the Stars." I think I've recommended it here before- not great, but good. Has that "generation ship crew forgets their purpose" thing AzraelBrown is talking about.
posted by zap rowsdower at 8:03 AM on August 31, 2010

Frank Herbert's Destination: Void.

And another vote for the Gene Wolfe books mentioned above.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:06 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Greg Bear's Eon and its sequel Eternity involve a generation ship whose passengers come to inhabit a pocket universe inside their ship.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:12 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Ursula Le Guin collection The Birthday of the World contains a novella, Paradises Lost, about the later years of a generation ship, and the society that has developed. It's good.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:23 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Learning the World by Ken McLeod is pretty good.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:00 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo. It's dark and mysterious.
posted by General Tonic at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2010

Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds.

And though it doesn't technically deal with "generation ships," in that they move faster than light, Cities in Flight by James Blish does involve multiple generations living in an interstellar ship of significant size (Manhattan sized, actually). It's an absolute classic of Golden Age sci-fi.
posted by valkyryn at 10:21 AM on August 31, 2010

I really enjoyed Joe Haldeman's Worlds series... but only the third one Worlds Enough and Time is really a generation ship novel.
posted by itsjustanalias at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2010

Brian Aldiss's Non-Stop (aka Starship) is a classic.

The Oceans are Wide by Frank M. Robinson was published as a novel, I think, although it's very short by modern SF novel standards.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:22 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I consider Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama to fit this criteria.
posted by Draccy at 5:17 PM on August 31, 2010

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