Updates: (New Resource) List of Generation Ship Novels and Short Stories


I recently checked out a copy of Simone Caroti’s scholarly The Generation Starship In Science Fiction: A Critical History, 1934-2001 (2011) (amazon link) from my library — its appendix contains a wonderful list of generation starship novels and short stories (and the very first non-fiction attestations of this fascinating sci-fi concept).

I highly recommend the book for all aficionados of this particular sci-fi subgenre.  Be warned, as a certain reviewer points out on amazon, it is a work of serious scholarship not a lighthearted romp projecting future developments.  It is not a complete list so I’ve gone ahead and added a few (for example, White’s The Watch Below) and starred them (*).  I’ve also included his chronological divisions.  I’ve supplied links for the few I’ve reviewed.  Also, I’ve included the list as a page in the right hand column of the main page.

If you know of any that I haven’t included or were skipped in Caroti’s study let me know.

I have so many more to read!  And plan to make a concerted effort to procure them….

(EDIT: I keep the list updated HERE)

Genesis (1918-1929)

1) Konstantine Tsiolkovsky. “Buduschchee Zemli i Chelovechestvo” (“Earth’s Future and Manking”). Kaluga, (Russia: Izd. Avtora, 1928). (non-fiction)

2) J. D. Bernal. The World, the Flesh and the Devil (London: Kegan Paul, 1929). (non-fiction/philosophy)

The Gernsback Age (1934-1940)

Laurence Manning. “The Living Galaxy.” Wonder Stories, (September 1934)

Don Wilcox. “The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years.” Amazing Stories, (October 1940)

Astounding Science Fiction and the Golden Age of SF (1941-1957)

Robert A. Heinlein. “Universe.” Astounding Science Fiction, (May 1941.) (rereleased in 1963 novel form with “Common Sense” as Orphans of the Sky)

——-“Common Sense.” Astounding Science Fiction, (October 1941)

Arthur C. Clarke. “Rescue Party.Astounding Science Fiction, (October 1941)

Arthur Selling. “A Start in Life.” Galaxy Science Fiction, (September 1954)

Leslie R. Shepherd. “Interstellar Flight.” Science-Fiction Plus, (April 1953)

Clifford D. Simak. “Spacebred Generations.” Science-Fiction Plus, (April 1953)

Milton Lesser. The Star Seekers.  (Philadelphia, Pa: John C. Winston Co., 1953)

Frank M. Robinson. “The Oceans Are Wide.” Science Stories, (April 1954)

*James Blish. Cities in Flight series (excluding They Shall Have Stars, 1956).  Earthman Come Home, (Putnam, 1955), The Triumph of Time, (Putnam, 1958), A Life for the Stars, (Putnam, 1962).

E. C. Tubb. The Space-Born.  In The Man Who Japed/The Space-Born. (New York: Ace, 1956)

From the New Wave to the Edge of Cyberpunk (1957-1979)

John Brunner. “Lungfish.” Science Fantasy, (December 1957)

Chad Oliver. “The Wind Blows Free.” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, (July 1957)

Brian W. Aldiss. Non-Stop. (London: Faber and Faber, 1958)

Judith Merril. “Wish upon a Star.” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, (December 1958)

Edmund Cooper. Seed of Light. (New York: Ballantine, 1959)

J. T. McIntosh.  200 Years to Christmas. Science Fantasy 12, no. 35 (June 1959)

David Rome. “Bliss.”  Science Adventures, (January 1962)

J. G. Ballard. “Thirteen to Centaurus.” Amazing Stories, (April 1962)

A. E. Van Vogt. Rogue Ship. (New York: Doubleday, 1965). First published ‘Centarus II.’ Astounding Science-Fiction (1947), ‘Rogue Ship.’  Super Science Stories (1950), ‘The Expendables.’ Worlds of Science Fiction (1963)

Samuel R. Delany. The Ballad of Beta-2. In Alpha Yes, Terra No!/The Ballard of Beta-2, (New York: Ace, 1965)

*James White. The Watch Below, (Whiting & Wheaton, 1966)

Poul Anderson. Tau Zero. (New York: Doubleday, 1970).  Fixup “To Outlive Eternity.” (Galaxy Magazine, June/August 1967)

James White. All Judgement Fled. in If, (December 1967-Febuary 1968)

Alexei Panshin. Rite of Passage. (New York: Ace, 1968)

Fritz Leiber. “Ship of Shadows.” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, (July 1969).

Harry Harrison. Captive Universe. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1969)

Roger Dixon. Noah II. (New York: Ace, 1970)

Ben Bova. Exiled from Earth. in Galaxy Magazine, (January/Febuary 1971)

——- Flight of Exiles. (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1972)

——- End of Exile. (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975)

Arthur C. Clarke. Rendezvous with Rama. (London: Gollancz, 1973)

Harlan Ellison and Edward Bryant. Phoenix Without Ashes.  (New York: Fawcett Gold medal, 1975)

James M. Ward. Metamorphosis Alpha. (Lake Geneva: TSR, 1976) (game)

Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Mayflies. (New York: Berkley, 1979)

George Zebrowski. Macrolife. (New York: Harper & Row, 1979)

The Information Revolution and Beyond (1980-2010)

 Damien Broderick.  The Dreaming Dragons, (Melbourne: Nostrilia Press, 1980)

Thomas Hubschman.  Space Ark. (New York: Tower Books, 1981)

*Pamela Sargent. Earthseed, (Harper & Row, 1983).

Robert J. Sawyer. Golden Fleece. (New York: Warner Books, 1990)

Frank M. Robinson. The Dark Beyond the Stars. (New York: Tor, 1991)

Gene Wolfe. Nightside the Long Sun. (New York: Tor, 1993)

——- Lake of the Long Sun. (New York: Tor, 1994)

——- Caldé of the Long Sun. (New York: Tor, 1994)

——- Exodus from the Long Sun. (New York: Tor, 1996)

Bruce Sterling. “Taklamakan.” Asimov’s Science Fiction, (October/November 1998)

Rob Grant, Colony. (London: Viking UK, 2000)

*Susan R. Matthews, Colony Fleet. (Eos, 2000).

 Richard Paul Russo. Ship of Fouls. (New York: Ace, 2001)

Alastair Reynolds. Chasm City. (London: Gollancz/Orion, 2001)

John Clute. Appleseed. (London: Orbit, 2001)

Ursula K. Le Guin. “Paradises Lost.” in The Birthday of the Wold and Other Stories (New York: Harper Collins, 2002)

Y. Kondo, F. C. Bruhweiler, K. Moore, C. Sheffield (Eds.) Interstellar Travel and Multi-Generation Space Ships. (Burlington, Ont.: apogee, 2003) (non-fiction)

Stephen Baxter. Mayflower II. (Hornsea, UK: PS Publishings, 2004)

Ken MacLeod. Learning the World. (London: Orbit, 2005)

Joe Haldeman. Old Twentieth. (New York: Ace, 2005)

Stephen Baxter. Flood. (London: Gollancz, 2008)

——- Ark. (London: Gollancz, 2009)

Elizabeth Bear. Dust. (New York: Bantam Spectra, 2008)

——- Chill. (New York: Spectra/Ballantine Books, 2010)

22 thoughts on “Updates: (New Resource) List of Generation Ship Novels and Short Stories

  1. I haven’t read many generation ship novels or short stories, but I’ve enjoyed those that I have read, Chasm City being the most recent and one of the best space operas I’ve ever read. I know you don’t read many modern authors, but Reynolds is worth taking a chance on.

    • I know. I have many many many years of reading sci-fi left (the perfect way to relax!). Eventually, eventually… Alas. As a historian, I more inclined to become obsessed with older works — hehe.

      • I don’t blame you, over the last decade especially I’ve become very fond of classic science fiction and read much more of it than I do modern works, or at least it feels that way. There is a sense of wonder that is present in so many of these older books that I don’t always find in the newer stuff. Occasionally, but it seems more rare.

      • At one point I did read more modern science fiction — Kim Stanley Robinson, David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Robert J. Sawyer, Bruce Sterling, Robert Charles Wilson, Charles Stross, C. J. Cherryh, William Gibson, Dan Simmons, etc…. But besides a few of Cherryh’s works, Brin’s Uplift War, Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, nothing really resonated with me. I think Kim Stanley Robinson’s endlessly laborious Blue Mars (I tolerated the first two), Simmon’s high-concept but mind-numbingly dull romp Olympos, Kevin Anderson and Brian Hebert’s brain-curdling Dune prequels, and Wilson’s EGREGIOUS flop Dawinia angered me enough to stop.

  2. Thanks for this list. I’ve always loved the concept of generation ships, but never knew there were so many stories about them. My intro to the idea was back in the 60s with Orphans of the Sky, Rite of Passage and Non-Stop. I need to catch up with some of the more modern stories.

    • Rescue Party is definitely one of Clarke’s better short stories (I think I gave it 5/5 in my review)…. I have at least five of his collections and generally find them rather emotionless/dry (and thus, my reaction rather tepid).

  3. Maybe I’m confused, but wouldn’t James Blish’s “Cities in Flight” series be a generation starship saga? I didn’t see any of those in your bibliography.

    • Hmmm, I don’t see why not. Good point (it’s not included in Caroti’s book so I suspect it doesn’t fit his specific criteria for a generation ship). Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Colony Fleet by Susan Matthews belongs on this list. It’s a YA novel. But Pushing Ice doesn’t. The characters survive for many years, but that’s in spite of the lack of a generation ship.

    • Would you consider Blish’s Cities in Flight novels (or at least the ones when they’re actually in flight) to be “generation ships”? I mean, they are cities which fly through space and are designed (Blish doesn’t exactly describe how) to be self-sufficient for long periods of time.

      • Yes, I definitely agree that Blish’s Cities in Flight novels (the later ones with actual flying cities) should be thought of as generation ships. Many of them are designed for interstellar, if not intergalactic, travel and are, as you say, self-sufficient. Sounds like a generation ship (on a grand scale) to me! Wonder if Caroti missed these, didn’t want to talk about them for some reason, or managed to define “generation ships” in such a way that they didn’t meet his criteria?

    • I agree completely with your point about discussing the context of the generation ship in the larger genre — his analysis tends to be on the descriptive side. I find sci-fi scholarship somewhat traditionalist/simple…

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