Generational space travel SF story/novel ID
April 2, 2017 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Children aboard a generational spaceship find out the hard truth: their predecessors screwed up, they're trapped in the vicinity of a star, and they must try to make the best possible future out of it. Can you help me ID this story?

This is what I can recall from a story I read many years ago in a children's magazine in my home country. It should be a translated, possibly watered-down/bowdlerized version a longer one in English (or perhaps French or Russian). The publication at that time (c. 1995 -- 2000/01) ran some translated excerpts of Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, so the actual story could be much older.

As I can recall, the story tells about children in an apparently quite utopian society where they're cared for and educated. However, the world is dull and children are not allowed to venture outside the proscribed rules and zones. Instead of real windows, there appear to be display screens simulating some scenery or so. Some teens breach their confinements, only to meet their deaths.

The adults are forced to reveal the truth. The children are led to a transparent viewport closely facing the hellish surface of a star. Their world is a generational, interstellar spaceship, but during its mission history something bad happened, and they were forced to orbit the star, unable to escape its gravitation. They must educate their children, make them good human beings and and among them good scientists, in the hope that one day some of them may make it -- or some of their grandchildren, and so on.

I can exclude Ursula K. Le Guin's Paradise Lost and Heinlein's generation ship fictions. The crucial plot devices were the revelation of their trapped condition, and the critical importance of keeping generations educated.
posted by runcifex to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The setup you described really reminded me of the short story Ylla's Choice by Benjamin Rosenbaum, though the reasoning & attitudes of the characters are very different. Still, maybe it's what you were thinking of.
posted by Henrietta Stackpole at 9:35 AM on April 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: > Ylla's Choice by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Hmm, this is not it, but thank you for sharing the nice story.
posted by runcifex at 10:24 AM on April 2, 2017

This sounds very familiar, but I can't quite recall where I may have read it. Have you checked TV Tropes section on Generation Ships under the literature tab?
posted by blurker at 12:13 PM on April 3, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, blurker. I checked that before posting, and I couldn't find anything familiar.
posted by runcifex at 10:22 PM on April 3, 2017

SFF Chronicles has an entire sub-forum dedicated to IDing science fiction and fantasy stories, try posting your description there!
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:19 PM on April 4, 2017

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