Brian Aldiss

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Yes JD,even his classic Hothouse is not your average sf,more like fantasy really(science fantasy?) Its strange because i like Ballard too, the Drowned World was brilliant. Its not just space opera that floats my boat but the writing should be clear,something asimov strongly believed in.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
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?
I havent read Lem yet. Library only has Fiasco and i wanted his earlier,him at his prime work to read first. Why ? Is he that type SF writer ?

Have you read Vance before Pao book ? I think if you have read only a few read his best SF first .

Demon Prince,Emphyrio,To Live Forever. He has written so many SF books that not everyone is high quality.

What you think of his prose ? The blurb in my To Live Forever cover say Jack Vance is the premier stylist in SF. I havent seen more correct than that blurb ;)
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
Yes JD,even his classic Hothouse is not your average sf,more like fantasy really(science fantasy?) Its strange because i like Ballard too, the Drowned World was brilliant. Its not just space opera that floats my boat but the writing should be clear,something asimov strongly believed in.
Hmmm... I'd have said his Hothouse was in company with such things as James Blish's "Surface Tension"; definitely sf because of the (at least moderately) scientific rationale for the tale, and the focus on long-range evolutionary effects; but I can see where the "feeling" of fantasy comes in, yes. And certainly, in one sense at least, he was dealing with mythic material. Which is also true, in its own way, in Non-Stop: he takes an old, familiar, sf trope (the generational ship), and explores it in almost mythic terms -- drawing a different sort of picture than Heinlein did with his "Universe" and "Commonsense", but at times closely related.

And actually, I'd have said Aldiss' writing is very clear, though adapted to his purpose. In something like Barefoot in the Head, for instance, it reflects the changing interior reality of the characters and the world presented (hence the shifting techniques involved), while in Report on Probability A it becomes almost painfully minimalist and narrowly-focused (the obsessive voice, it has been called) due to the ever-narrowing focus with its (paradoxically) ever-burgeoning possibilities of interpretation.

Aldiss is more "literary" than many harder sf writers, and sometimes a bit denser in texture (though Ballard, certainly, can be one of the densest writers around; he can also sometimes be one of the leanest), and I find this makes his books something one can revisit numerous times and the experience never be quite the same -- with his fiction, at least; his nonfiction much less so.

I'd be interested in hearing which of Aldiss' other works you've read, as well. Enjoying the discussion -- thanks for starting the thread!:)
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Hmmm i've yet to find Non stop,am waiting for a copy to become available on bookmooch. There's a discussion about the layout of the ship on the Brian Aldiss site.but i can't comment on that yet.
Hmmm other Aldiss books i've read. Well not many. GREYBEARD
I can't remember that much about it but I wasn't thrilled by it.
THE DARK LIGHT YEARS.
One of the first of his I read and recently re read. I feel for the aliens in that book,and i guess its about being misunderstood too. He actually wrote it when he was annoyed at the treatment of some dolphins at the time.
EARTHWORKS.
A minor novel about a stranger in a strange land,but I need to re read it.
The novella THE SALIVA TREE was brilliant,loved that one. In my encyclopedia it compares it to H P Lovecraft's The Colour out of Space from 1927.
FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND
I enjoyed this too,again worth a re visit.
MOREAU'S OTHER ISLAND
Ditto.
CRACKEN AT CRITICAL
This more than any other reminded me of Philip K Dick,a strange one!
Thats about it really! A lot more of his to read including last year's HARM
 

Omphalos

הדרךקפיצת
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
777
I havent read Lem yet. Library only has Fiasco and i wanted his earlier,him at his prime work to read first. Why ? Is he that type SF writer ?

Have you read Vance before Pao book ? I think if you have read only a few read his best SF first .

Demon Prince,Emphyrio,To Live Forever. He has written so many SF books that not everyone is high quality.

What you think of his prose ? The blurb in my To Live Forever cover say Jack Vance is the premier stylist in SF. I havent seen more correct than that blurb ;)
I have read Emphyrio and a few others. I like his style, but like I said, he seems to have some extremly rabid fans, and I am not one of them. I do enjoy some of his stories, though. There is something new out from Subterranean called The Kragen, which looks pretty good. I might pick it up soon.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
Nice selection there. Certainly The Dark Light Years presents what would be (psychologically, at least) one of the most alienating of species I've encountered in fiction, and in such a way as to cause one to reflect on why they are so uncomfortable for so many....
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Yea,in that book civilisation is defined as the distance man puts between himself and his excreta! Or as one the characters says,their ship is full of sh$t! Funny thing is certain animals on earth exhibit similar behaviour.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
Yes, that's one of the things I like about Aldiss. He frequently takes the classic "what if" attitude, and explores it in ways that few others would take.... Also, I rather like his frequent tone of what might be called bemused irony....
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
I must admit for a 'lesser novel' i got quite involved and found myself wanting to shout at the earth crew, "Woa,leave them alone,they're intelligent creatures,they're just disinterested in us!"
It left me wondering about their fate and hoping that they did manage to re establish a colony. I'd love it if he did another book dealing with the Utods as the aliens are known.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
That's not really the sort of tale Aldiss seems interested in, I'd say; and at this late date, it's highly unlikely... but not impossible, if it should be the proper vehicle for something he wants to say.....
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Maybe another author could do it. I'd have a go if i could write. I'm just not a fiction writer. Anyway there are a few other novels i want to read,what do you think of Cryptozoic!(An Age), Malacia Tapestry, and of course the Helliconia trilogy? Have you read either of these? And do you have any other title recommendations?
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
I quite liked Cryptozoic/An Age and The Malacia Tapestry, myself. The Heliconia books are quite an achievement, but they do seem to divide people. Myself, I rather liked Enemies of the State, as well; and I like quite a few of his story collections, such as Man in His Time, for instance. Then again, I've always had a fondness for The Brightfont Diaries, but that's hardly sf. The Eighty-Minute Hour is worth a whirl, too...
 

Omphalos

הדרךקפיצת
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
777
You know, I did not much care for Hellonica as I read it, but someone brought up the subject the other day and I realized that I have spent a lot of time lately reminiscing about those books. Maybe I like them more now that time has gone by. Hmmmmm.
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
and I like quite a few of his story collections, such as Man in His Time, for instance. Then again, I've always had a fondness for The Brightfont Diaries, but that's hardly sf. The Eighty-Minute Hour is worth a whirl, too...
Yea I have mooched Space Time and Nathaniel,just waiting on that, also I have Canopy of Time on my shelf upstairs which I believe is another name for Galaxies like Grains of sand?

What about these titles-The Primal Urge,Report on Probability A,and Null A? (I know thats not the full title but I cant remember it!)
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
Yea I have mooched Space Time and Nathaniel,just waiting on that, also I have Canopy of Time on my shelf upstairs which I believe is another name for Galaxies like Grains of sand?
Both are early collections, so rather uneven, though both have some very good pieces in them. (And yes, the second has been released under both titles.)

What about these titles-The Primal Urge,Report on Probability A,and Null A? (I know thats not the full title but I cant remember it!)
I don't think, given your response to Barefoot, you'd be likely to enjoy Report on Probability A; possibly The Primal Urge, though I've got to admit I don't feel it's one of his strongest books. As for Null A -- are you thinking of Bow Down to Nul (a.k.a. The Interpreter)l? Null A sounds more like A. E. van Vogt's The World of Null-A....

(Incidentally, on Probability A: you might give it a whirl and see. It is a very short -- if very dense -- book; so it's unlikely to take a great deal of your time either way....)
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Yea i think it was BOW DOWN TO NULL tho I couldn't find it on fantastic fiction. (Van Vogt is another author i've enjoyed.tho only stories so far)
I'll have a look for PROBABILITY A on Bookmooch.
 

iansales

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
3,447
The Interpreter is fun. Dated, but fun. I can recommend Equator, which is a sort of spy story set in the near future where the villains are aliens.
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,119
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
Hi Ian,EQUATOR,not familiar with that one. There's also THE EIGHTY MINUTE HOUR(AKA SPACE OPERA?) ALL ABOUT VENUS(non fiction?) and A SOLDIER ERECT but i'm sure thats biographical stuff-still interesting tho as i like biographies.What's the BRIGHTFONT DIARIES about?
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,886
Hi Ian,EQUATOR,not familiar with that one. There's also THE EIGHTY MINUTE HOUR(AKA SPACE OPERA?) ALL ABOUT VENUS(non fiction?) and A SOLDIER ERECT but i'm sure thats biographical stuff-still interesting tho as i like biographies.What's the BRIGHTFONT DIARIES about?
As far as I know, Space Opera is actually an anthology of such stories that Aldiss edited, not a novel of his own. I can't see any way in which it would be a title for The Eighty Minute Hour. All About Venus (a.k.a. Farewell, Fantastic Venus!), is an anthology edited by Aldiss and Harry Harrison (iirc), of sf stories about that particular planet, made obsolete by the new information gathered by the probes sent there. A Soldier Erect is a novel, continuing the adventures of a character introduced in The Hand-Reared Boy:

A Soldier Erect by Brian Aldiss

(Not read either of those, I must admit.) The Brightfount Diaries (sorry, my misspell first time out) is a very loosely autobiographical, humorous novel about Aldiss' early years whilst working in a bookshop. Witty, urbane, sharp, and at times almost Wodehousian in tone, it is a brief book, quite delightful to read, but definitely not science fiction....
 

iansales

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
3,447
The Eighty-Minute Hour is often described as a space opera. Mind you, the contents of the anthology he edited, Space Opera, don't always qualify as that. The same is true of Space Odysseys.
 
Top