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5 February 1987
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... BrianAldiss gives his definition of Science Fiction on page one of Chapter One of a five-hundred-page volume. This is admirably bold of him – more timorous scholars tuck their definitions away inconspicuously ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young

25 February 1993
The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly. He was presumably referring to her heroin addiction. Friends and mentors over the years – Rhys Davies. Peter Owen, BrianAldiss – have made considerable efforts to dispel such feelings of uncase by stressing how smart and cheerful she, was how little her drug addiction appeared to affect her. Such loyal friends did ...

Generations

John Sutherland

4 March 1982
The Survivors 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 316 pp., £7.95, February 1982, 0 09 145850 1
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Helliconia Spring 
by Brian Aldiss.
Cape, 361 pp., £6.95, February 1982, 0 224 01843 4
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The Great Fire of London 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 169 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 241 10704 0
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A Loss of Heart 
by Robert McCrum.
Hamish Hamilton, 282 pp., £7.95, February 1982, 0 241 10705 9
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... his will, for instance – but is seen as understandable quirkiness. By the same authorial good will, virtue is gilded. Benjy, Diana’s father, is idealised to the point of cloyingness. Since 1980, BrianAldiss has been thrashing around somewhat. We have had a rewrite of Wells’s Island of Dr Moreau, a text which, together with Frankenstein (which he also rewrote), Aldiss conceives as central to SF ...

Aliens

John Sutherland

21 January 1982
Brave Old World 
by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox.
Allison and Busby, 262 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 407 0
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The Insider 
by Christopher Evans.
Faber, 215 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 571 11774 0
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Genetha 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 185 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 410 0
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From the Heat of the Day 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 159 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 0 85031 325 2
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One Generation 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 202 pp., £2.50, March 1981, 9780850312546
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Sardines 
by Nuruddin Farah.
Allison and Busby, 250 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 85031 408 9
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... In his history of the genre, BrianAldiss suggests that most SF is what he calls ‘prodromic’: we must read it less as a prophecy of the future than as symptomatic of the present. By this rule 1984 will be 36 years out of date when we get ...

Naming of Parts

Patrick Parrinder

6 June 1985
Quinx or The Ripper’s Tale 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 201 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 571 13444 0
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Helliconia Winter 
by Brian Aldiss.
Cape, 285 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 224 01847 7
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Black Robe 
by Brian​ Moore.
Cape, 256 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 224 02329 2
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... novel, which Pynchon presumably exemplifies: but that is all part of the magician’s patter and bluster. If naming in the ‘Avignon Quintet’ is a slippery and enigmatic casting of spells, in BrianAldiss’s ‘Helliconia Trilogy’ its function is remorselessly cognitive. Helliconia is a remarkable instance of what is nowadays called world-building, a specialist activity which has reached the ...

End of the Century

John Sutherland

13 October 1988
Worlds Apart 
by David Holbrook.
Hale, 205 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 9780709033639
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Story of My Life 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 188 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 7475 0180 7
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Forgotten Life 
by Brian Aldiss.
Gollancz, 284 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 575 04369 5
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Incline Our hearts 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 241 12256 2
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... McInerney bounces it off his tough little heroine with an infectious gaiety. Line for line, it’s one of the funniest novels I have ever read. Yet add the whole thing up and it’s hell, 1988-style. BrianAldiss’s Forgotten Life has a strikingly good dust-jacket. The front reproduces Lucian Freud’s Interior with plant, reflection listening (self-portrait), a picture of the painter, ear cupped ...

Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann

17 March 1983
Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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Bluebeard 
by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... texture of Turner’s narrative, his capacity for making concrete both the familiar and the strange, contribute a real solidity to his guiding ideas. Greenland’s study notes, with reference to BrianAldiss, the need for Science Fiction to outgrow a vapid Utopianism. George Turner takes the detour of futurology to persuade us that we will never be much better than we are. Equally telling evidence ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder

18 November 1993
The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... meet with Bradbury’s approval. This, surely, is unexceptionable. But what is the novel, and where are its boundaries? Look up the checklist and you will find a large number of genre writers, from BrianAldiss to P.G. Wodehouse, whose names are virtually absent from the main narrative. Bradbury’s book is based on an entirely conventional notion of the fictional mainstream. One can imagine a very ...

Making a Break

Terry Eagleton: Fredric Jameson’s Futures

9 March 2006
Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 431 pp., £20, September 2005, 1 84467 033 3
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... style, as secretly at work in the grain and texture of literary language. Along with its reflections on the idea of utopia, the book has some supple, remarkably powerful readings to offer of Le Guin, BrianAldiss, Philip K. Dick (‘the Shakespeare of science fiction’), A.E. Van Vogt, Kim Stanley Robinson and a range of others. Jameson has always been an energetic retriever of the neglected and ...

Diary

Sherry Turkle: Tamagotchi Love

20 April 2006
... will love their machines and be more concerned about their machines’ happiness than their test scores. This conviction is the theme of ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’, the short story by BrianAldiss that was made into a film by Steven Spielberg. In Spielberg’s AI, scientists build a humanoid robot, David, who is programmed to love. David expresses his love to a woman, Monica, who has ...

I and I

Philip Oltermann: Thomas Glavinic

14 August 2008
Night Work 
by Thomas Glavinic, translated by John Brownjohn.
Canongate, 384 pp., £8.99, July 2008, 978 1 84767 051 9
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... t seen a soul. An alien abduction? An Alpine tsunami? A nuclear attack? If so, ‘why should anyone take the trouble to waste such expensive technology on an old city that had lost its importance?’ BrianAldiss coined the term ‘cosy catastrophe’ to describe the kinds of story, especially popular in the 1950s, in which the end of the world outside was an excuse for a return to scenes of domestic ...

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