In my quest for generation starship stories, I read another Joachim recommendation, namely Lungfish by John Brunner. This is really a novella of just 38 pages, albeit in very small print, the middle story in the book Entry to Elsewhen by John Brunner. I checked the other two stories Host Age and No Other Gods But Me, but I didn’t find interest.
Lungfish takes place in a starship on its way to Tau Ceti (I wonder why all these generation ships pick Tau Ceti as the destination?). The trip takes about 40 years or so. The ship has room for about 2000 people. As soon as the ship leaves, new babies are born of course. After a few years, the population of the ship consists of “Earthborn” and “Tripborn” members. The Tripborn have never walked on a planet. The only reality they know is the inside of a spaceship. As they grow up and mature, the Earthborn gradually die and when the ship is close to arriving at Tau Ceti, there are only 250 Earthborn left, with about 1800 Tripborn.
What the original planners didn’t count on was that the Tripborn didn’t quite turn out the way they expected. Having never known life on a planet, in the open, they had no interest in arriving or landing.
This is a short novella I was able to read in a few hours, and I found it an enjoyable and definitely somewhat different generation starship story.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: Lungfish – by John Brunner”
I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Ursula Le Guin — Paradises Lost (in her collection The Birthday of the World) — will pick up on many of the same themes — future generations not wanting to leave the ship.
Lungfish was OK, but other novels regarding the same theme are more pleasurable and bountiful. While Gene Wolfe’s four-book Long Sun series is more slanted towards fantasy, it DID veil a great generation ship concept. Often overlooked for its non-sci-fi-ness, but great nonetheless.
Lungfish was OK (http://sfpotpourri.blogspot.com/2012/01/1972-entry-to-elsehwhen-brunner-john.html) but there are other more enjoyable novels regarding the same theme out there. Gene Wolfe’s 4-book Long Sun series has more of a religious fantasy slant, but it conceals a great generation ship concept.