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Brian W. Aldiss, 1925-2017

(13 posts)
  • Started 6 months ago by Gordon Van Gelder
  • Latest reply from Greg

  1. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Brian Aldiss's first appearance in F&SF was "The New Father Christmas" in our Jan. 1958 issue.

    He went on to contribute "Poor Little Warrior!", "Hothouse", "A Kind of Artistry," "The Saliva Tree," and about two dozen other stories.

    Very sad to learn that he passed away this week.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  2. MattHughes
    Member

    I had dinner with him at Worldcon in London. Lovely man.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  3. Mark Pontin
    Member

    Alas.

    That said, ninety-two is a good innings in itself and dying at home among loved ones on the day after your birthday party is a good way to go. The classical European cultures understood that dying well is an achievement, requiring discipline and preparation; we moderns, conversely, mostly live in semi-denial and make no preparation, and consequently often die badly.

    And as far as achievements that concern the rest of us who weren't close to the man, Aldiss leaves behind many novels and an enormous number of short stories, which take astonishingly various tacks -- he could do the most eccentric things in his short stories and make them work, when anybody else wouldn't have been able to.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  4. Marian
    Member

    I've enjoyed what I read of his work. Was astonished to learn just how much he had written! But I'm with Mark Pontin. Ninety-two with an enormous body of work accomplished, is a good age to go.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  5. MattHughes
    Member

    "...we moderns, conversely, mostly live in semi-denial and make no preparation, and consequently often die badly."

    The slightly less modern generation before us thought it was best not to tell patients they were dying, giving many terminals no time to prepare.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  6. CarlGlover
    Member

    Aldiss's "Hothouse" series of novelettes in F&SF is one of the brightest memories of my Golden Age. I couldn't wait for the next installment of the adventures of Gren and company in such a beautifully delineated alien environment. It felt as though I was really there, fighting gigantic insects and encountering wonder upon wonder at every turn. I believed every minute of it. It was truly a triumph of the imagination, among the very best ever published in the field.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  7. CarlGlover
    Member

    Mark & Matt: In my 35 years in medicine as a clinical psychologist, our usual practice was to break the news to the family first, in the anticipation of their gently breaking the news to the patient, thus softening the blow which eventually had to come from the physician as a matter of professional responsibility. We found that this worked better all around, not least because the doctor was often not the most sympathetic bearer of bad tidings. Many of them simply do not have the knack for it. I had a psychiatrist tell me once that he left internal medicine for psychiatry because he found it impossible to effectively communicate with patients or their families in this situation.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  8. Mark Pontin
    Member

    Carl Glover wrote: 'Many of them simply do not have the knack for it.'

    That makes sense, sadly. Thanks for the response.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  9. Mark Pontin
    Member

    A brief tribute to Aldiss by Neil Gaiman --

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/22/brian-aldiss-science-fiction-writer-neil-gaiman

    Posted 6 months ago #
  10. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    And another nice one by Chris Priest:

    https://christopher-priest.co.uk/here-it-began-here-it-ends

    Posted 6 months ago #
  11. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Chris's piece puts me in mind of how much working with Brian felt like being co-conspirators in a mad plot.

    In 1995, I worked on the US reprint of THE SECRET OF THIS BOOK. Brian altered one word in the book and said, "There, that's our secret of this book."

    No, I shall not reveal what word it was.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  12. Ron
    Member

    One of the science fiction writers I most admired was Brian Aldiss. Rest in Peace.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  13. Greg
    Member

    A segment concerning Aldiss on the BBC, featuring his daughter Wendy Aldiss, Neil Gaiman, and David Wingrove. It begins at the 13:35 time mark.

    Posted 6 months ago #

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