Short Science Fiction Story Review – Brian W Aldiss – Breathing Space
1955 – The Friday Project Press – Spoiler Alerts
A short story that Aldiss used to explore themes later developed in more detail in his brilliant novel, Non-Stop (published in 1958)
The premise has a similar Plato’s Cave motif. A group of tribalistic people trapped in a small closed environment (a machine hall) fight and argue among themselves with heretical rebels arguing that there may be a bigger World outside worth finding and exploring.
The rebels risk interception by drone gliders and taken away through a hatch in the ceiling, but a few intrepid mavericks plan to break out to the greater realm beyond anyway.
A crueller harsher outcome than that of the novel, but a powerful work in itself that makes us question whether we accept our place in life or dare to be someone or somewhere else. Either way the outcome may be tragic for us.