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Brian W. Aldiss R.I.P.

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Legendary author Brian W. Aldiss in what must be the most British thing ever, passed away the day after celebrating his 92nd birthday.  In a career that saw him win every literary award imaginable (save the Nobel & Booker, and I could make a pretty good argument as to why he should have won the latter), Aldiss was a one-man literary movement. He gets lumped in with SF's New  Wave of the early 1960s, but the fact of the matter is that Brian was already experimenting with using the tropes of SF to comment on current social conditions.  From early classics like "The Saliva Tree" to the Hellconia Trilogy two decades later, Aldiss continued to push himself as a writer. His books of non-fiction are a delight, often overlooked, they shouldn't be, Aldiss was one of those writers who could write compellingly on any subject.  I'd recently turned in a two-volume set collecting as much of his best short fiction as I could fit in (I really needed five or six books to do the project justice), and I'm totally bummed that he never got to see the finished product.

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Goddamn.  He will be missed.

Re-reading Super-Toys Last All Summer Long went a long way to me not hating Kubrick / Spielberg's movie, A.I,, so much.

I had no idea that Frankenstein Unbound was one of his works and not some crazy bullshit that Roger Corman came up with.

I also had no idea that Brothers Of The Head was also a novel that he wrote and not the coke fueled fantasy of Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe.

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And this just barely scratches the surface... People are sleeping on this, or just need us to do what we do best, educate, enlighten, and inform. So as a starting point. 

SF Novels? But of course, let's try The Dark Light Years, Report on Probability A, The Hellconia Trilogy, Moreau's Other Island, etc.

SF Short Fiction? I already mentioned that I've put together a two-volume set that comes in at half a million words and I really needed two or three more volumes to really do the project correctly. I could post the whole list here, but Rippa would kill me. Go to ISFDB.org and look it up, you can't expect J.T. and me to do everything

Fantasy Short Fiction? Try Romance of the Equator, nearly 350 pages of the best fantasy stories ever written.

Mainstream Novels: How about The Hand-reared Boy, A Soldier Erect, and A Rude Awakening?

Autobiography? How about Bury My Heart at W.H. Smith's

Other Non-fiction? The Pale Shadow of Science, The Lurid Glare of the Comet, and a must-have for anyone interested in the history of SF, Billion Year Spree, or the revised version, Trillion Year Spree.

Poetry? Not really my thing, but I can appreciate it when it's done well, and BWA did it as well as he did anything else. Try Farewell to a Child as a sampler, or if you prefer, At the Caligula Hotel & Other Poems. 

Looking at this before I post it, I still feel like I'm not doing the subject justice. Maybe it's due to the order of magnitude we're talking about here, let me try to put that in perspective... The 1960s were not an unusually prolific decade for Aldiss, just business as usual. There's an e-book set of his short stories from that decade that runs to 1800 Kindle pages. Think about that for a minute in the same ten years that saw him write no less than eight novels, he also found time for a volume of short fiction that many writers would be happy to call a life's work...

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

I'm not much of an e-book guy as I spend far too much time in front of a computer screen as it is, but this collection is a splendid place to start. The same folks that put this out are the ones that collected his 1960s work in four volumes. Oh, and just in case y'all want a nice two-volume, archival set of his best short fiction (IMHO), for less than $100, here's what will be coming out as part of my Masters of Science Fiction series for Centipede Press. Plus a guest intro and an afterword by yours truly... 464,000 words, can you dig it?

Masters of Science Fiction: Brian W. Aldiss

The Impossible Star
No Gimmick
O Moon of My Delight!
Flowers of the Forest
Intangibles Inc.
Not for an Age
Poor Little Warrior!
Let's Be Frank
Who Can Replace a Man?
Skeleton Crew
Dumb Show
New Father Christmas
Basis for Negotiation
The Failed Men 
Gesture of Farewell
All the World's Tears 
A Kind of Artistry
Man on Bridge 
Pink Plastic Gods
Total Environment
The Girl and the Robot with Flowers 
Man in His Time 
Heresies of the Huge God 
The Source
Judas Danced
Confluence Revisited
The Saliva Tree 
Working in the Spaceship Yards
The Small Stones of Tu Fu
Indifference (novelette)
Super-Toys Last All Summer Long 
Sober Noises of Morning in a Marginal Land
The Dark Soul of the Night 
Enemies of the System (novella)
An Appearance of Life 
Last Orders
A Chinese Perspective (novella)
Old Hundredth 
Door Slams in Fourth World 
Horse Meat
The Gods in Flight 
Friendship Bridge
The Worm That Flies
The Difficulties  Involved Photographing Nix Olympica 
Into the Tunnell
The God Who Slept with Women (novella)
The Girl Who Sang 
My Country 'Tis Not Only of Thee 
An Apollo Asteroid
The Hibernators
The Madonna of Futurity (novella)

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