I am trying to remember the name of a novel I read when I was in high school about a generation ship. This was very late 70's early 80's so it had to be written before 83 when I graduated. I distinctly remember that the ship had been traveling for a VERY long time. I believe, but not sure on this point, that the people onboard no longer knew they were actually on a ship. I do remember that they had been traveling for so long that areas of the ship had begun to break down and that there were areas of darkness that people stayed out of. And that there were possibly wild carnivorous animals loose (maybe large rats?), That attacked anyone that ventured into the darkened areas. The protagonist was a young male and I do remember him traveling through or exploring some of the derelict areas.

I can also add that this is NOT Orphans of the Sky by Heinlein or Starship/Nonstop by Aldiss

  • Just to let you know, the genre tag and the starship tag are meant for discussions about those particular topics rather than as clarification for story-identification.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 13:49
  • Tempted to suggest Poul Anderson's The Saturn Game (1981), but it's just about a small crew that get obsessed by their LARPing on their way to Saturn and can't tell reality from fantasy while exploring Iapetus. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


As per generation spaceship with kids and rats, listed in the Related list to the right (not visible on mobile pages), the Exiles Trilogy by Ben Bova matches, specifically the third book, End of Exile:

Born and brought up on a space ship that is slowly deteriorating, Linc discovers its secrets and the way to get the remaining occupants to their ultimate destination.

This review mentions the rats:

End of Exile is somewhat disconnected from the first two books in terms of continuity. Now living in the remains of the outermost ring of the unnamed Ship are some fifty-odd teen-aged youths, genetically engineered by the last remaining survivors of the crew to be as near to perfection as humanly possible. Disasters have befallen the ship, including the breakdown of order and the emergence of gangs of raiders moving from wheel to wheel, plundering and killing as they go. A number of scientists retreated to the hub, where they could control the environment and power systems, in a desperate gambit to create a generation that will survive to finish the voyage. But Linc, the protagonist, knows nothing of this, as the last surviving elder, Jerlet, had to retreat to the lower gravity domain of the Wheel’s Hub, and was unable to educate the young supermen, who have descended into superstition and barbarism. When Linc is exiled and travels the dangerous, rat-infested route to the Hub, he learns the true nature of the ship, its mission, and how it is very nearly too late to save them.

  • scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/7771/… is an even more matching question, with an unaccepted answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 14:09
  • Yes, thats it.. thank you very much.. I didn't even realize it was a trilogy, our school didn't usually have much sci-fi so I only read the final book.. thank you again, I can now order and enjoy the entire story now that i know and relive that sense of awe I remember from reading End of Exile all those years ago. :D Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 18:48
  • @Mysteria_Sdrassa: I cam empathize. For me, it was that, and our small town library didn't always get the sequels, which would sometimes lead to me being puzzled as to why the story ended abruptly without much resolution. :) Although that could also be chalked up to my childhood brain thinking books either came singly or in trilogies.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 19:24
  • @Mysteria_Sdrassa Our library had Exiled From Earth and End of Exile, but not the middle book. You can certainly read End of Exile without either of the first two; the first two are loosely connected, but the third book is practically a standalone story.
    – Buzz
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 20:21
  • yes, and was such a good story that it stuck with me all these years... really made a huge impact on me when i read it.... can't thank you enough :) Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 22:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.