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Brian Aldiss is 80

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  • Brian Aldiss is 80

    Brian Aldiss celebrates his 80th birthday today. Given his close ties with Mike and New Worlds, I thought this worthy of a mention. 80! 8O Can't believe it. Here's a link to his official site:

    http://www.brianwaldiss.com/

    Mike, do you have any particular memories or stories regarding Brian? :)
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #2
    I think his Helliconia trilogy is fantastic! I don't think I've been disappointed by anything I've read of his. 'Hothouse Flowers' particularly impressed, with its Tummybelly men. It seems to have been quite an influence on 'Dark Is The Sun' by P. J. Farmer.
    Saw him at the Worldcon in Brighton in '87 giving a world-building talk with Harry Harrison. It was one of the most entertaining things I've ever seen.
    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

    :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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    • #3
      I've only read a small percentage of Brian's work, sadly, but I've always been impressed by his desire to try new things, particularly in the 60s (I'm sure Mike was an influence here). Report On Probability A and Barefoot In The Head, for example, are not easy reads but I enjoyed them.
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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      • #4
        Brian, of course, has been a friend since the 50s when I used to go and visit him in Oxford and I've always admired him considerably. I wrote a review of his last novel for The Guardian which for some reason they didn't publish. I think it's online somewhere. Unfortunately, I don't have all my files on this computer but someone else might remember where it is. Here would be an appropriate place to paste it! Brian was initially a bit sceptical about NW, coming from what you might call the SF Horizons camp, which was a kind of 'liberal' movement in sf, aiming to bring sf closer to modernism and its values, whereas NW rejected modernism, by and large, and aimed for something else. However, Brian has never been one not to change his mind if the arguments or evidence are convincing enough and by the mid-60s he had begun to publish regularly in NW. I'd say some of his best stuff was done there, including the original stories for Barefoot in the Head and Report on Probability A, as you say, Aral. I've followed his work pretty much from the beginning, including The Brightfound Diaries (his first book, reminiscences of working in an Oxford bookshop) and the wonderful Greybeard.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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        • #5
          Years since I read an Aldiss; enjoyed stuff like Hothouse, Non Stop, and Greybeard at the time. For some years I picked up everything I could by him.

          Re-read Cryptozoic recently, though, and didn't like it as much as I thought I would, second time around.

          Recently also, reminded that Anthony Burgess put Life In The West in his 100 Best Novels selection (best since 1939, was it?). I think when I read it I was probably too young and ignorant to get a lot of it, and been meaning to give it another go.

          Comment


          • #6
            We also serialised Cryptozoic (as AN AGE) and I agree it wasn't as successful as others. But he's got a pretty good record of winners, I'd say! I enjoyed his 'Hand-reared boy' books, too. There's a long story there, equal tothe tale of Atrocity Exhibition, of publishers pulping proofs. It took a long time to get the first book published. I tried it with Gollancz AND Hutchinson (Giles Gordon and Mike Dempsey) who both liked it.
            Famous line from Ms Gollancz at an editorial meeting 'Do you mean, Giles, that it's JUST about masturbation...?'

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

            Comment


            • #7
              I've recently been reading Brian Aldiss books for the first time. He's a good writer. Best wishes to Brian Aldiss.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's a bit from a web page:

                http://www.eldritchdark.com/forum/read.php?1,2013

                summarising the contents of Studies in Fantasy Literature no 3, may 2005:

                "Review: Affairs at Hampden Ferrers: An English Romance" by Michael Moorcock. For almost fifty years Brian Aldiss has astonished us with the variety and quality of his output. Confronting current concerns, Affairs at Hamden Ferrers is like no other fiction he has written, yet is unmistakeably an Aldiss novel.

                Looks as if we might have to buy the magazine to read the review...

                http://sifl.seele-brennt.com/three/

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a good publication, though an inferior article on MM from a less than credible source slipped through the cracks into their first issue... (A sort of funny story--I'm incorrectly credited in the table of contents, and correctly credited in the article itself).

                  Seriously, though, they are doing good work, and Benjamin is a great person with whom to work.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A very good friend of mine, another Mike, gave me his 1st ed. copy of
                    Billion Year Spree (1973), when I was trying to get a course on post war science fiction off the ground. This was a very generous act, as you can imagine.

                    I think I'm going to have another go at putting an SF course together. The time feels even righter.

                    Bonus URL:
                    http://www.brianwaldiss.com/index.htm

                    :)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Aldiss is a wonderful writer, and all honor to him.

                      Just to mention his work in sf is a bit of a distortion, but any sf reader worthy of the name ought to be familiar with Hothouse, Greybeard, Non-Stop, and Barefoot in the Head.

                      And he's an excellent short story writer, too. Just to name a couple of classics : "Man in his Time" and "The Saliva Tree." I especially like "Man in his Time."

                      LSN

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                        Famous line from Ms Gollancz at an editorial meeting 'Do you mean, Giles, that it's JUST about masturbation...?'
                        I remember a girl at secondary school bringing in The Hand Reared Boy to read. She got some funny looks off fellow pupils at the time. I think this was the first time I heard of him. All this Aldiss talk is making me want to dig out a few of his books and have a read.
                        'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                        Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The first Aldiss I picked up was "A Soldier Erect" (sequel to "A Hand Reared Boy") at some remote airport bookshop while waiting for an obscure flight connexion in South America. I always love reading books set in an entirely different environment than I am currently in. And it was quite different what I got to read then! Let's just say it would never have occurred to me at the time that Aldiss wrote Fantasy too!

                          Oh, and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mr. Aldiss for me when you contact him, Mike!
                          Google ergo sum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I recently read Aldiss's Super-State, which was thoroughly enjoyable. Very funny in places (some wonderful dark satire from android discussions in the cupboard!).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Brian so completely sounds like a Battle of Britain fighter pilot :-) We heard him speak a few times at Worldcon.

                              He does look very spritely for an 80 year old.

                              Tally Ho Chaps!!

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