The humans live in rapid motion, during periods of light and dark. They fall asleep wherever they are when it becomes dark, and wake up when light returns. Scientists from Earth go to study them, trying to blend in, but they are identified as "slow."
People are on accelerated life cycles on a generation ship trapped back in Earth’s orbit. Earthlings are slow.
Aldiss's first novel is a tour-de-force of adventure, wonder and conceptual breakthrough. Set aboard a vast generation starship millennia after blast-off, the novel follows Roy Complain on a voyage of discovery from ignorance of his surroundings to some understanding of his small place in the universe. Complain is spiteful and small-minded but grows in humanity as his trek through the ship brings him into contact with giant humans, mutated rats and, ultimately, a wondrous view of space beyond the ship.