Number 33 of the SF Masterworks is Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss, which deals with the generation-ship vision of spaceflight. As I’m doing with the Fantasy Masterworks, I’m sort of making my way through the SF Masterworks as well. So far, I’ve read 2, 4, 43, 46, 52, 53, 60, 61, and 67.
I enjoyed this. The worldbuilding is good and there is a mystery that builds up to an excellent reveal. What I noted particularly about the writing was the use of language. Aldiss uses words that indicate one thing to the reader and manages to convey that the characters of the story understand something else by them, for example, ponics (the crop the characters harvest) and ship-related words. There’s a lovely point at the end where the main character, Roy, sees the sun for the first time and says he imagined it square because the lights on the ship were all square. Having said that, sometimes, often enough for it to be noticeable, Aldiss uses cliches and adages that are too contemporary and it jolts the reader out of his world. So, I found use of language both good and bad in this book.
Ways of Seeing by John Berger is a book based on a 1970s TV series of the same name, examining the role of the observer in studying art and the myth and meaning of oil painting in Western culture. Fascinating, thought-provoking and challenging. The ideas in this book really excited me. Recommended!