Brian Aldiss’ 1958 Non-Stop (aka Starship) is a landmark novel in generation starship stories. Featuring a broken down ship hurtling through the blackness of space to destinations unknown, the humanity on board has reverted to various levels of primitivism, the corridors and rooms of the massive ship almost unrecognizable in an overgrowth of weeds and bushes. The novel about one man’s journey through the layers of civilization (for lack of a better term), and ultimately the enlightenment awaiting at the end, Aldiss wrote an engaging story imbued with enough profundity to make the novel worth some merit. In 2010 Greg Bear returned to the theme of a broken down generation starship to tell his own story, the dynamic Hull Zero Three the result.
Awaking from a dreamtime infused with visions of life on Earth, a man, dubbed Teacher by the little girl who frees him from his sac, emerges into the chaos of a ship filled with floating debris. Gravity coming and going in erratic ship spin-ups and spin-downs, he and the girl try to survive the various dangers hidden in the debris, as well as the strange creatures, not all of which are entirely malevolent. Losing and gaining knowledge in the form of books, their survival quest takes them slowly toward Hull Zero Three, and the bizarreness that awaits them there.