The legacy of Kingsley Amis

pyan

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Anybody remember this series of Kingsley Amis anthologies?


SS > SF > book reviews > Kingsley Amis

Spectrum 4 was the first anthology I can remember reading, and it made such a deep impression on me that I could still tell you the basic plot of each of the stories, even 40 years on.
It also brought me to the delight of the Gollancz yellow cover, and the joy of finding a new SF book in the library, this being before the age of subject classification and shelving by genre, at least where I lived at the time.
The sheer eclecticism of the choice in each volume, and the range of author subject and styles was amazing, and I can truthfully say that this one series has coloured my reading up to the present day.

Worth looking for? I think so, especially for A Planet named Shayol, The Marching Morons, and Barrier.
 

Ian Whates

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It seems strange to see Kingsley Amis appear in the "Classic SF" thread. I think because, despite the excellent editorial work mentioned here, few people remember him as an 'SF' writer, but rather as one of the "angry young men" who exploded onto the UK literary scene during the 1950s. I feel ashamed to admit that the only thing I've ever read by him was the 1954 novel Lucky Jim. Ashamed, because I went to the the same school he did (albeit many years later) :eek:.

Thanks for reminding us that amongst the many literary fields he contributed to, SF also benefited.
 

Extollager

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His sf novels were Russian Hide-and-Seek, The Alteration, and The Anti-Death League, I believe. There was a short story (was it called “Something Strange”?). He participated in the very interesting conversation with C. S. Lewis and Brian Aldiss that has been published as “Unreal Estates.”
 

hitmouse

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He also wrote New Maps of Hell (1960), which remains a pretty good critique of SF.

He lectured in English at the local university, and is still remembered in this town for the quantity of alcohol consumed at any social gathering where he was present.
 

Toby Frost

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New Maps of Hell is good and very interesting. I'm a great fan of Lucky Jim, which isn't perfect but contains some excellent comic writing. I've read a few other books by him and I didn't think any of them were as good, to be honest.
 

Extollager

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Right, Hitmouse, I forgot that critique that he wrote. May I not, despite my error, be subjected to the horrid fate contemplated for Mr. Amis himself in the following poem. It is from Encounter, the excellent magazine edited by Melvin Lasky, the issue of November 1983.

MS FOUND IN A VICTORIAN CHURCH

Golly! Let's debag old Kingers!
What a brilliant thought!
One of our most King Size singers!
Praise him as we ought --
That would be extremely hard!
But still we'll jolly well teach him
To be a Bard!

Though we love him daily, nightly,
Calling people shags
Is the fault that very rightly
Makes him lose his bags!
To respect his fellow men --
That idea may some day reach him
And his pen!

Flying tackles are in order,
Grab him round the waist,
Hold him hard South of the Border,
Give him quite a taste
Of the fate of sods and pseuds
When they bow down and beseech him
In their feuds!

Let him know the harsh unzipping,
The outcome of the knees!
Violence is simply ripping --
Down his Y-fronts, please!
Gosh! We've got him! Chewing-gum out!
In unmentionable places bleach him,
Scream and shout!

This is thought to be a poem about Kingsley Amis by Sir John Betjeman, but the presence of another hand has been suspected.

GAVIN EWART



 

hitmouse

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Right, Hitmouse, I forgot that critique that he wrote. May I not, despite my error, be subjected to the horrid fate contemplated for Mr. Amis himself in the following poem. It is from Encounter, the excellent magazine edited by Melvin Lasky, the issue of November 1983.

MS FOUND IN A VICTORIAN CHURCH

Golly! Let's debag old Kingers!
What a brilliant thought!
One of our most King Size singers!
Praise him as we ought --
That would be extremely hard!
But still we'll jolly well teach him
To be a Bard!

Though we love him daily, nightly,
Calling people shags
Is the fault that very rightly
Makes him lose his bags!
To respect his fellow men --
That idea may some day reach him
And his pen!

Flying tackles are in order,
Grab him round the waist,
Hold him hard South of the Border,
Give him quite a taste
Of the fate of sods and pseuds
When they bow down and beseech him
In their feuds!

Let him know the harsh unzipping,
The outcome of the knees!
Violence is simply ripping --
Down his Y-fronts, please!
Gosh! We've got him! Chewing-gum out!
In unmentionable places bleach him,
Scream and shout!

This is thought to be a poem about Kingsley Amis by Sir John Betjeman, but the presence of another hand has been suspected.

GAVIN EWART



Hilarious!
 

KiraAnn

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I’ve always wondered how his last name is pronounced. Is it like a French pronunciation or more British, think a-miss?
 
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