Distinguished by excellence of style and poetic intensity of vision, Greybeard is science fiction with a difference. Brian W. Aldiss posits a future in which mankind and most other mammals have been rendered sterile because of a cosmic “Accident” in 1981. By 2029 “large organizations had gone the way of large animals; the hedges grew, the copses heaved their shoulders and became forests; the rivers spread into marshland; and the mammal with the big brain eked out his dotage in small communities”.
Versatility is always misunderstood. The reception of this novel showed that many were puzzled by its divergence from the excitements of Non-Stop, Hothouse and The Dark Light Years. Greybeard is the sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on themselves. Set in the Thames Valley and Oxford, this novel is transfused with intense feeling for nature and Hardyesque prose . . . . . .
FIRST EDITION: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964