The extraordinary Brian Aldiss was born 95 years ago

Photo: John Lawrence

Science Fiction Grandmaster Brian W. Aldiss’ prodigious output of over 100 books began with the collection Space, Time and Nathaniel (1957) and grew to include the science-fiction masterpieces Non-Stop (1958), Hothouse (1962), Greybeard (1964), Frankenstein Unbound (1973), The Malacia Tapestry (1976), and the Helliconia Trilogy (Helliconia Spring [1982], Helliconia Summer [1983], and Helliconia Winter [1985]). The short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” served as the basis for the Stanley Kubrick-developed Steven Spielberg-directed movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Frankenstein Unbound was adapted to film as Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound (1990), and the 2005 picture Brothers of the Head derives from the 1977 novel of the same name.

His numerous short stories and essays have been collected in Space, Time and Nathaniel, Starswarm (1964), The Book of Brian Aldiss (1972), Science Fiction Blues Programme Book (1987), Supertoys Last All Summer Long and Other Stories (2001), CULTURAL BREAKS (2005), The Brian Aldisss Collection: The Complete Short Stories (The Complete Short Stories: The 1950s [2013] and The Complete Short Stories: The 1960s Parts 1-4 [2015]) and many more. Among Aldiss’ several volumes of nonfiction are the pioneering book of science fiction criticism Billion Year Spree (1973; revised as Trillion Year Spree [1986 with David Wingrove]), … And the Lurid Glare of the Comet (1986), The Detached Retina: Aspects of SF and Fantasy (1995), and An Exile on Planet Earth: Articles and Reflections (2012).

 As an anthologist, Aldiss produced many influential collections such as Penguin Science Fiction (1961), More Penguin Science Fiction (1963), Yet More Penguin Science Fiction (1964), Best Science Fiction (1967-75 with Harry Harrison, Volumes 1-6), Galactic Empires Volume One (1976) and Two (1976), The Penguin World Omnibus of Science Fiction (1986), and The Folio Science Fiction Anthology (2016). His amazing output, also, included eight volumes of poetry. 

John Brunner, Brian Aldiss, Carol & Fred Pohl, and Walter Ernsting at LonCon II, the 1965 World Science Fiction Convention

Aldiss’ works garnered him a myriad of awards and accolades, including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Locus, British Science Fiction, Ditmar, and Eaton awards. In 2005, he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature. The electronic pop duo Echoes In Rows released a song entitled “Brian Aldiss” in 2010.