Brian Aldiss’ new book consists of five brilliant long-shorts. ‘Neanderthal Planet’ turns on Anderson’s dilemma when he’s captured by the primitive inhabitants of Nehru, a planet about which he’s been writing an SF story. ‘Send Her Victorious’ (or send up Victoria) features a psychiatrist who thinks he’s the Emperor Franz Joseph and a client posing as Freud. The third story is an ingenious variation of the Lysistrata theme, while the title story concerns a small man with spectacles and a long, long face who sold intangibles and bets Arthur that he won’t move the pepper and salt for ever. How about a president with a schizoid son and drug-pushing wife? That, apparently, was just what was needed in the highly unusual circumstances of ‘Since the Assassination’.
FIRST EDITION: Faber & Faber, 1969