Brian Aldiss - short and long fiction

Stephen Palmer

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Currently reading Helliconia Summer I think it is brilliant. And the idea of the Avernus watching it all and (mostly) resisting the temptation to interfere is very interesting. I'm a fan of Lovelock's Gaia books, so I was fascinated to read that Aldiss was influenced so strongly by that concept.
As a fellow Lovelock reader (the man is a genius!) I'm pleased to read this. You have read Spring already, though? If you have, then the gothic, gloomy delights of Winter await you...
 

antiloquax

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Oh yes, I loved Helliconia Spring. :)
Already looking forward to Winter - I can't imagine what the Phagors will get up to when the ice returns!
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Stephen Palmer

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Oh yes, I loved Helliconia Spring. :)
Already looking forward to Winter - I can't imagine what the Phagors will get up to when the ice returns!
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Well, I shan't spoil it for you - fantastic book crowning a unique achievement. As I've said elsewhere, Helliconia is second only to The Book Of The New Sun for me.
 

Venusian Broon

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It's not fiction but Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove's Trillion Year Spree, I found to be an excellent literary history and overview of the SF genre. I partly used it as a 'buying guide' when exploring the multitude of authors, as it helped to place them in context. And Aldiss's love and enthusiam for the genre really comes through. This book really sparked, nay, lit a fire under me, to really get to grips with it all.

Not sure if it has been updated - the version I had I bought ~1992, so the discussion in the book peters out at the end of the 90s and cyberpunk. However I think it's still worth it for the discussion from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, up to the 1980's.
 

donovan s. brain

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Brian is well-known for championing Mary Shelley as the first SF writer. I agree with him partly because I think it's true, and partly because he might challenge me to a duel if I disagreed. H. Bruce Franklin put up a good fight for Wells and Verne, chiefly on motive and intention, saying that Shelley never meant to write SF while Verne and Wells clearly meant to invent a new genre of scientific romances. But that's what I find the most convincing, because I think Wells and Verne invented the idea of SF before actually writing the books, while she just wrote FRANKENSTEIN.
 

Fried Egg

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I read Aldiss' "Frankenstein Unbound", where Mary Shelly was a character but I didn't think it was among his best novels...
 

wam

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Everybody seems to have read the stuff I haven't. Admittedly, I wouldn't recommend all of it. Nobody should have to read "report on probability a" and if you didn't like "Frankenstein Unbound", I can't see you touching "Dracula Unbound" (the sequel) or "Moreau's other island". On the other hand there's always "Non Stop" - that should be fairly easy for anyone. As to the movies, "Brothers of the Head" wound up as a straight rock biopic even if Brian did get a cameo and "AI" is much closer to Kubrick's Pinocchio than anything written for the Supertoys saga.
 

Bick

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There don't seem to be many threads on Aldiss, funnily enough, considering his quality. I've just started his short novel The Dark Light Years, and I'm really enjoying it. He has a style that's all his own; there's a suggestion of the fantastic even in his hard SF. I think he may be the most 'literary' of the SF authors I've read. It's quite an admission, but I've not read the Helliconia books, so I shall have to fix that in the near future.
 

chrispenycate

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I must have read 'Non-stop' weeks after Heinlein's 'Universe'. Gave me too many clues, picked up on some details too fast.

Liked the guy, though. Got into a 'heated discussion (read out and out argument) with him in '66, the H G Wells John Wyndham in my corner, Kingsley Amis in his, organisers hovering nervously. When I met him again in Glasgow in '05 he didn't remember anything of it, which suggests he'd been less concentrated on the cheese;).

My Hellicona trilogy was under one cover, and too big and clumsy to read in bed. It doesn't seem to have made the move. Perhaps I should look for it in Kindle.

In 'Frankenstein Unbound' he put Swiss German speaking peasants on the shores of the Leman (never been the case, even when the Bernois held the territory – or should that be 'Territetory'? {very in joke}), demonstrating he didn't always push his research to its limits.
 

Bick

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Sooner rather than later! You won't regret it.
Yes, I've located the old Grafton paperbacks under separate cover on Ebay and ordered them. Like you Chris, I have been put off reading the big compendium edition that's currently available. I like those old Grafton editions of his books anyway - they are what was available in the shops in my youth (early-mid 1980's).

I'm impressed you got into an argument with him Chris!
 

Stephen Palmer

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I know I go on and on about the Helliconia books, but to my mind the only genre series greater is The Book Of The New Sun. There's something magical about Helliconia, and not just the James Lovelock influence... ;)
 

Bick

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Grrr. Need to vent...
Well, the used copies of the 3 Helliconia books arrived from Ebay - all different sellers. I specifically searched high and low for copies descibed as excellent or very good condition. Turns out that they are all in very 'average' condition (i.e. beaten up, badly cracked spines, water damaged etc, and I just cannot read/own such books. Given the shipping was much more than the books themselves, I cannot return them without being more out of pocket, so I shall be throwing them out and now I still don't have readable copies of the books and I'm about NZD$50 down! Bollocks, as they say. Not that that's in any way a commentary on Aldiss or authors or SF, its just me mouthing off, but I needed to. Grrr.
 
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