For forty years the creator of science fiction’s most eloquent visions of tomorrow, Brian Aldiss, has turned his distinctive conviction and clarity of thought to a subject no less vivid, strident or fascinating – the making of his own life. . . Poignantly and passionately, Aldiss recalls the cameraderie of the army and the sobriety of post-war England; bookselling in Oxford; marital breakdown and financial impoverishment; life as a struggling novelist and literary editor . . . his seminal role in the ‘new wave’ of science fiction writing in the 1960s, and the friendships with, amongst others, J.G. Ballard, Kinglsey Amis, Doris Lessing, Michael Moorcock and William Boyd. Versatile, prolific and outspoken, Aldiss writes revealingly on many issues and experiences, from literary inspiration to childhood illness, from mental breakdown to the critical standing of science fiction.
It was on the 15th November, 1990, in the gloom of winter, as I sat in the car with my wife, a tape of old Jugoslav folk music playing, that I beheld the town where I was born, much changed, and decided to begin the toil that would result in my creature, my book. The story of my life – to me so individual, yet objectively so commonplace! Myself now subject to decay, I have witnessed the decay of countries, empires, and ideologies; to counterbalance which, I have enjoyed the growth of my own family and survived to see the continuation of my line . . .
FIRST EDITION: Little, Brown, 1998