I am trying to find the title of a book where the premise was a large ship crossing a void. It is similar to the question posed here: Trying to find a novel about a multigenerational ship crossing space, but the novel I am trying to recall is not "The Dark Beyond The Stars".

The ship had been traveling for a long period of time across a void where it is unknown if the void has an end. The ship is the latest of a series of ships to attempt to cross the void.

Eventually, there is a split among the ship's inhabitants, and the ship turns back. However, the captain cannot abandon the exploration, so he takes a smaller craft and continues on. In the smaller craft, he has some type of hibernation.

He awakens when another, later generation ship, approaches his craft. However, the captain -- being old -- dies just before the other ship arrives. The individuals on this other ship identify the craft as coming from an earlier, lost ship. The book concludes with the crew of the new ship having high hopes they will penetrate the void.

  • You didn't say if the "large ship crossing a void" was a generation ship. Was it?
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 22:34
  • @user14111, I think it was a generation ship. The size of the void was unknown, so I believe the ship was designed for multiple generations in order to potentially cross it. It is the hibernation/sleep tank of the captain that leaves me less than certain.
    – KevinO
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 22:43
  • How can the void's size be unknown? If it is transparent the stars on the other side are visible, and their distances can be measured. If the void is opaque with space dust, it might still be possible to find its size. Ships from the origin planet would be exploring in a sphere around it. If the diameter of the void is less than it's distance from the origin planet other exploring ships should be able to see the stars beyond it and measure their distances. All know nebulae are much smaller than their distances from Earth. The premise seems goofy. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:57

1 Answer 1


Could it be "Aurora" by Kim Stanley Robinson?

It fits the overall description - a generation ship is on its way to Tau Seti, but turns back around halfway due to technology issues. A small contingent of the crew continues on. There's even doubt if Earth would be happy to see them again, as overcrowding has become such an issue.

Aurora front cover

  • 3
    It's been a while since I read this, but I think you've got some of the plot details wrong for Aurora. The ship arrives at the destination ok, but then they have post landing issues and ultimately decide to return.
    – Jontia
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 9:02
  • The expedition in Aurora did have an in-flight issue, but it was the loss of one of the two craft in the convoy. As Jontia, says the return voyage decided and implemented after arriving at the destination (thought it did involve splitting the personnel, as some folks opted to remain the destination system with shuttles and other kit). Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 18:56

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