Brian Aldiss

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Aldiss is one of my favourite authors, even tho often he's not very SF at all-he has a way of writing.
Of his SF I've enjoyed The Dark Light Years, Hothouse, Moreau's Other Island, Frankenstein Unbound and the novella The Saliva Tree which is brilliant!
Not yet read the Helliconia trilogy,will get round to it one day. Also Fried Egg mentioned Earthworks which I've also read-a dark story of over population.
Yea the man can write good stuff. He's hugely influenced by H G Wells and is on the board of the H G Wells society.
He's not a big fan of John Wyndham however or rather of his books, especially then ending to The Day of the Triffids.
The one book of Aldiss I couldn't get on with was Barefoot in the Head. Its like P K Dick on a bad day after some bad drugs! There's another 'Head' book but I've not found it yet and was a bit put off.
 

Fried Egg

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IIRC I didn't enjoy Greybeard. Found it a bit plodding and boring. Was a long time ago tho
Well, I've finished it and I can see where you are comming from. It doesn't really have a plot nor a satisfying conclusion. But it is a deeply thought provoking book. A medatitive contemplation of Greybeard's life and the pursuit of his dream (although we never get to see whether that dream is fulfilled, it's not really important. The real story is is Greybeard letting go of the past).

It also kind of reminded me of Ballard, not just because it was a post-apocalyptic book written in the 60's but also because of it's predominantly introspective focus.
 

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Well, I've finished it and I can see where you are comming from. It doesn't really have a plot nor a satisfying conclusion. But it is a deeply thought provoking book. A medatitive contemplation of Greybeard's life and the pursuit of his dream (although we never get to see whether that dream is fulfilled, it's not really important. The real story is is Greybeard letting go of the past).

It also kind of reminded me of Ballard, not just because it was a post-apocalyptic book written in the 60's but also because of it's predominantly introspective focus.
Yes his writing does have a similarity with Ballard, tho I've only managed to find a few of Ballard's works to read so far.
Must re read Greybeard too some time.
 

clovis-man

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The real story is is Greybeard letting go of the past
I think you have it right, although it has been a long time since I read the book also. Speaking of the past, are you clinging to the Sutton Hoo past or is that just your new welding mask avatar? ;)
 

daveac

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I read his "Hot House" and it was great. And I met the guy last year, he was special guest on an SF convention in Croatia, and he seems to be a nice guy.

I guess i should read the rest of his books, too. :D
Loved 'Hot House' I first read that when it was in the 'SF & Fantasy Magazine' - I think it was in more than one part.

Cheers, daveac
 

Diggler

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I've only read one Brian Aldiss novel, which was Greybeard, and absolutely loved it. So much so that it is without a doubt my favourite P.A. (post apocalyptic) novel. I found the whole concept of the earth being inhabited by geriatrics very interesting and his description of England being slowly but surely consumed by nature fascinating.

I bought "Barefoot In The Head" today and intend on reading this one in the future. I've obviously chosen well judging by the praise in this thread :)

Also I am not English. So you can't hold that against me :)
 

owlcroft

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I, too, have found Aldiss' reputation somewhat exaggerated, which is not to say that he isn't a good writer: he is a good writer, just not--by and large--a great one.

I say "by and large" because there are two novels in which I think he excels himself: The Malacia Tapestry and Report on Probability A. Each of those is superficially one thing and under that quite something else; and, curiously (or perhaps not so curiously), those something elses are closely related.

The thing or things that underlie them are hard to articulate clearly, which is, I think, a good sign of the complexity and interest of the books. Each raises questions of time and timelessness, of multiplicity and singularity, of human perception. Each wants a careful reading, especially Tapestry (I say that only because Report self-evidently requires close reading, while Tapestry is easy to mistake for a simple action tale).

As I wrote of those two someplace else, "you can never take away from a work of art what you didn't bring to it."
 

Fried Egg

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Thanks, owlcroft, for your recommendation of "The Malacia Tapestry", I have not heard of it before but you have made it sound interesting.

One area of his work that I have woefully neglected thus far is his short stories as I know he has many collections of short stories. Does anyone know how he fares in this regard?
 

j d worthington

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I, too, have found Aldiss' reputation somewhat exaggerated, which is not to say that he isn't a good writer: he is a good writer, just not--by and large--a great one.

I say "by and large" because there are two novels in which I think he excels himself: The Malacia Tapestry and Report on Probability A. Each of those is superficially one thing and under that quite something else; and, curiously (or perhaps not so curiously), those something elses are closely related.

The thing or things that underlie them are hard to articulate clearly, which is, I think, a good sign of the complexity and interest of the books. Each raises questions of time and timelessness, of multiplicity and singularity, of human perception. Each wants a careful reading, especially Tapestry (I say that only because Report self-evidently requires close reading, while Tapestry is easy to mistake for a simple action tale).

As I wrote of those two someplace else, "you can never take away from a work of art what you didn't bring to it."
Thanks, owlcroft, for your recommendation of "The Malacia Tapestry", I have not heard of it before but you have made it sound interesting.

One area of his work that I have woefully neglected thus far is his short stories as I know he has many collections of short stories. Does anyone know how he fares in this regard?
A good summing up, owlcroft; though I'd add Barefoot in the Head to that list of books requiring close reading. It also, to me, has a much more "playful" feel to the text, rich in allusions, puns, and general wordplay... but very, very carefully thought-through for all that. Probability A is, simply, a lot more than it appears....

F.E.: While I've found some of his short stories to be insubstantial (not surprising, given the number of them), in the main these are, like his novels, often richer than one might suspect... and, depending on the period within his career, can have varying levels upon which they play very well indeed.
 

Rosemary

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The Helliconia trilogy caught my eye many years ago, and although I am more of a fantasy reader I do read the occasional Science Fiction works.

Heliconia was very good, enjoyed it very much.
 

Fried Egg

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The Helliconia trilogy caught my eye many years ago, and although I am more of a fantasy reader I do read the occasional Science Fiction works.

Heliconia was very good, enjoyed it very much.
I think this series can appeal to both SF and Fantasy readers. The SF elements are very light and don't really become apparent until later on.
 
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