generation starship n.

= generation ship n.

Also generation spaceship.

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1979 P. Nicholls Science Fiction Encyclopedia 248/2

    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.

  • 1984 I. Asimov et al. Isaac Asimov Presents Best Science Fiction Firsts 95

    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.

  • 1999 Extrapolation Summer 155

    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.

  • 2000 G. Benford & G. Zebrowski A Scientist's Notebook: Skylife in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Feb. 110/2 Gregory Benford George Zebrowski

    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.

  • 2001 R. D. Owens HeartMate 188

    Zanth says cats remember the generation starships that set out from Earth.

  • 2001 J. Clute Appleseed 193 John Clute

    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.

  • 2002 N. Gevers Masters of the Universe in Washington Post 7 Apr. 5/3

    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.

Research requirements

antedating 1979

Earliest cite

The Science Fiction Encyclopedia

Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1999 cite from an article by John Gerlach in Extrapolation.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from a review by Nick Gevers in the Washington Post.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2000 cite from an article by Gregory Benford and George Zebrowski in the Magazine of Fantasy & SF.
Michael Dolbear submitted a 2001 cite from Robin D. Owens' "HeartMate".
Michael Dolbear submitted a 2001 cite from Stephen Baxter's "Manifold: Space".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2001 cite from John Clute's "Appleseed".
Adam Buchbinder submitted a 1979 cite from the entry "Generation Starships" in "The Science Fiction Encyclopedia" edited by Peter Nicholls.

Last modified 2020-12-20 19:55:29
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.