Also generation spaceship.
This is the classic generation-starship story in which the crew have forgotten that they are on a ship, and have descended to a state of rigidly stratified and superstitious social organization; the unusually intelligent hero discovers the truth in a traumatic conceptual breakthrough.
Many different strategies for sending ships to the stars have been suggested… One of the most interesting concepts is the generation starship, a vehicle which takes centuries and is crewed by generation after generation of persons born, educated, and trained on board.
Most readers will resolve the instability of science and fantasy by developing a rational explanation, first by hypothesizing that this ‘whorl’, as it’s called, with its cities visible above in the night sky, is some sort of space ark (generation starship) illuminated with the futuristic equivalent of a huge fluorescent light bulb.
Don Wilcox’s ‘The Voyage that Lasted Six Hundred Years’ (1940) introduced the idea of using generation starships to reach the stars, in the form that was to be often imitated, one year before Robert A. Heinlein’s more famous story ‘Universe’ and its forgotten sequel ‘Common Sense’—gritty realistic dramas of travelers aboard a space ark who learn, in the manner of a Copernican-Galilean revolution, that their world is a ship.
Zanth says cats remember the generation starships that set out from Earth.
As they spread upwards and outwards from the beds of tigers—beds each shaft emerged from hollowly, each shaft a whorl tattooed with satrapies—the shafts brachiated bewilderingly, proliferated into gorgets and channels and leaves of armoured skin: became the arcimboldo face of the gorgon gazing unwaveringly through vacuum at the Alderede. Each shaft was like the inner whorl of a generation starship; each exfoliated into Yggdrasil.
Here the atmosphere is initially less intense than before; aboard the Whorl, a generation starship dispatched on a mission of colonization by one of Severian’s less savory predecessors, life has a sedate pagan rhythm.
The Science Fiction Encyclopedia
Last modified 2020-12-20 19:55:29
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.