Brian Aldiss

AE35Unit

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Wow I am surprised there's no mention of this award winning author on here. I just did a search on here,not one thread started! Well I like some of his stuff,particularly Hothouse which i found brilliant even tho its more like science fantasy. His novella The Saliva Tree is superb steampunk, and The Dark Light Years is entertaining,would love for another novel on that planet to revisit the Utods.
Have also read Cracken at Critical which reminded me of Philip K Dick.
Tried to read Barefoot in the Head but I think you need to be stoned to appreciate it! Have yet to try the Helliconia trilogy,I've heard its hard going.
Any other Aldiss fans on here? Incidentally there's a Aldiss forum. Will post a link if anyone's interested.
 

j d worthington

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I'd disagree about Barefoot in the Head; it's a rich verbal tour-de-force, not to mention a send-up of so many ideas both literary and of the time.... A brilliant novel where one can simply get lost in his literary legerdemain....
 

j d worthington

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It's certainly an unconventional novel, but "drivel" is completely off the mark, I'd say. I'd argue that, in many ways, it's one of Aldiss' richest and most rewarding works, though not in the usual ways....
 

iansales

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Of the Aldiss novels I've read, my favourites are Somewhere East of Life and Equator.
 

j d worthington

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sorry I just didnt see the point of it. Maybe i'm not brainy enough to get it!
Or, more likely, you just came across it at the wrong time. Give it a few years, and if you went back to it, you might find it an entirely different experience....
 

Fried Egg

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AE35Unit said:
Have yet to try the Helliconia trilogy,I've heard its hard going.
The Helliconia trilogy is well worth reading. It's not really hard work although it's quite slow paced. The prologue is some 80 pages or so. But what you've got to realise about the series is that the characters come and go and the real focus of the story is the planet itself and the people and life systems therein and how they all interlace with each other to form it's unique cycle of life. All are important and dependant on each other, even the ravaging plagues that ravage the human populations bi-annually are important to help humanity survive the long searing summers and frozen winters.

I recommend, if you haven't already read it, "Non-stop" which is a great story about a space colonisation mission that went horribly wrong...
 

clovis-man

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The Helliconia trilogy is well worth reading. It's not really hard work although it's quite slow paced. The prologue is some 80 pages or so. But what you've got to realise about the series is that the characters come and go and the real focus of the story is the planet itself and the people and life systems therein and how they all interlace with each other to form it's unique cycle of life.
An important point. If you expect to follow the characters (however engaging they might be) and their progeny, you'll be disappointed. Reading this trilogy is like listening to a Bruckner symphony. You can't concentrate on the smaller musical divisions. You have to absorb it a huge slab at a time.
 

JoanDrake

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I thought "Frankenstein Unbound" was one of the best books I've ever read and a very good movie too. A troubled author slips into an alternate reality where both Lord Byron and Frankenstein's monster are real characters.
 

Razorback

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So far, I’ve only read Hothouse. I thought it was a terrific work. I thought it was Sci-Fi, but with a biological focus instead of the more typical focus on gadgets or technology. I have the Helliconia trilogy in my TBR-pile. As the pile is rather large, I’m not sure when I’ll get around to them.
 

Omphalos

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sorry I just didnt see the point of it. Maybe i'm not brainy enough to get it!
I dont think you need to be sorry at all, AE35. You should be able to have any opinion you like, even if its hard to state the reasons for it. I even think you can call whatever you like, "drivel."

I personally cannot stand Aldiss, except for Billion Year Spree. Non-Stop and Greybeard, which are supposed to be two of his better novels, I had trouble drudging through myself, and I dont like much more of the stuff of his that he has written. I personally dont get why people love his writing so much, and for me, a few more years wont help at all.
 

AE35Unit

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Well his type of fiction shouldn't be my kind of thing really,but there's something about it I can't put my finger on. Some of his stuff can be hard to get around but when he writes good he's brilliant! Hothouse stands out for me. Didn't think much of Greybeard and found The Dark Light Years intriguing.if a little rambling. I don't think of him a sf writer,more a writer of what I call Social Fiction. How people's lives are affected by events happening around them,which is how I see Philip K Dick. Not scientists like Clarke or Baxter,more social scientists.(this is also how I see P.Anderson's 'Brain wave' to be shaped.)
 

Omphalos

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I actually love social oriented SF, and IMHO, Clarke was a master of it. Look at Childhood's End to see what Im talking about. And Baxter touched on some of those issues too in his Manifold books, IIRC, where use of rocket fuel or something had caused mutations in foeti and the masses were revolting. Anyway, with Greybeard I hated the writing style. It was just kind of blah as far as I was concerned, and the ending really wasnt so much of a climax as a place to stop scribbling words. Do you generally find yourself drawn to the hard SF stuff?
 

AE35Unit

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Do you generally find yourself drawn to the hard SF stuff?
I do yes,i love stories of space travel the most. New worlds and alien races. (doesn't seem to be enough of it about!)I like to look outward rather than inward i suppose.
I've not read those newer Baxter books,last of his i read was Voyage i think.
 

Connavar

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I actually love social oriented SF, and IMHO, Clarke was a master of it. Look at Childhood's End to see what Im talking about. And Baxter touched on some of those issues too in his Manifold books, IIRC, where use of rocket fuel or something had caused mutations in foeti and the masses were revolting. Anyway, with Greybeard I hated the writing style. It was just kind of blah as far as I was concerned, and the ending really wasnt so much of a climax as a place to stop scribbling words. Do you generally find yourself drawn to the hard SF stuff?
Have you ever read Jack Vance ? His SF that is. Or do you see him as Fantasy writer only ?

His social SF is different which i like in that its cultural,ideological,aliens thats very different. Usually social and human conditions, somehow i see PKD in far future or in space.

I feel myself drawn to social SF that is different than the other.
 

Omphalos

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I have read Vance, Connavar, and I acknowledge that he wrote some SF. Though I am a book collector and would kill or die to get my hands on the high-end edition of the Vance Integral Edition. I tend to like his stuff, but I know many people who are bigger fans that I am. I'm in the middle of The Languages of Pao right now for my book review page, but I started it a few weeks ago, put it down, and have not picked it back up yet. Maybe next week when I'm on vacation. Do you like Lem at all?
 

Omphalos

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I do yes,i love stories of space travel the most. New worlds and alien races. (doesn't seem to be enough of it about!)I like to look outward rather than inward i suppose.
I've not read those newer Baxter books,last of his i read was Voyage i think.
I liked Baxter a lot more in the late-90's & early oughts then I do now. I have not enjoyed much new stuff from him lately.
 

j d worthington

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I like to look outward rather than inward i suppose.
That may have a great deal to do with why something like Barefoot in the Head (or, should you ever attempt it, Report on Probability A) simply wouldn't work for you. This was, in many ways, a book about "inner space" in the strongest sense; about how one very small change in the environment would alter not only our reality, but who and what we are, for that matter... among other things. With your preferences, this isn't likely to be the sort of thing that would "hit the spot" with you, no....

However, glad to hear you like other of Aldiss' work -- he's had quite a career behind him, and has written a lot of very thoughtful, thought-provoking work. But you're right: his concentration was seldom on the meeting with other species, etc., so much as using any such as ways of examining what it means to be human....
 
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