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It's been a while since I read this, and it was one of those utterly forgettable paperback covers. The main character is an immortal person on a generation ship that is originally scouting the stars, then ends up headed towards earth to repopulate it. He gets his memory wiped every 20 odd years, and doesn't know he's immortal til the end of the book.

He kills the captain of the ship (who was also immortal, I believe), and takes command of the ship, steering it back to earth. There was sort of a side plot with some old lady who has been breeding the ship dwellers to be nonviolent by manipulating the breeding lottery. Any help finding this would be very appreciated!

  • Mayflower II by Stephen Baxter has a lot of these themes. – Valorum Jul 6 '16 at 20:40
  • Very similar themes, but it's not that. There weren't aliens, i don't believe. Thank you though! – MeesterTeem Jul 6 '16 at 20:42
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    Is it The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson? – user14111 Jul 6 '16 at 20:46
  • Yes it is!! Can you add that as an answer? – MeesterTeem Jul 6 '16 at 20:47
  • It's kind of hilarious how often this book is asked about (speaking as someone who stumbled onto SE while trying to identify the same book haha) – Broklynite Jul 6 '16 at 21:07
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This book has come up before. Quoting a previous answer:

The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson. The book has a wikipedia page. It won a Lambda Literary Award for gay SF/F. Here is the back cover blurb from the 1992 Tor paperback edition:

TO SEEK THE STARS
IS MANKIND'S DESTINY
—BUT ONLY ONE MAN
KNOWS WHEN TO RETURN!


For two thousand years, the starship Astron has searched the galaxy for alien lifeforms—without success. Now, just as the ship is falling apart, the only direction left to explore is across the Dark, a one-hundred-generation journey through empty space, into a rich new region of stars. The ship's captain—immortal, obsessed—refuses to abandon the quest. He will cross the Dark—or destroy them all trying.

Only Sparrow, a young crewman uncertain of his own past, can stand against the captain and turn the ship around. But can even he resist the lure and the challenge of . . .

The Dark Beyond the Stars

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    Can i complain how bad stackoverflow's search is? Searching for "novel about a generational spaceship with an immortal character" turned up nothing, yet that linked question is almost word for word what i searched for! Thanks for finding the book. – MeesterTeem Jul 7 '16 at 13:55

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