It becomes clear when reading these stories that two things, above all, distinguish Brian Aldiss’s work. The first is the scope and fertility of his imagination, which ranges from the day after tomorrow to the distant future, and from our front doorstep to the farthest corners of the galaxy. The second is his ability, whatever the idea behind the story, to find the human factor that will illuminate it, and give it meaning and importance for us. This is by any standards an exceptionally distinguished collection.
It was not easy to select only twenty-two stories out of about 250 candidates. There was a chance to retrieve an early favourite “The Failed Men” from oblivion. Two errors spoilt an excellent book. Despite protests from the author, the collection was given the same title as two earlier books. And the author did not provide an introduction to frame a selection covering thirty years of short story writing. Both these lapses were corrected in the paperback edition, Man in His Time.
FIRST EDITION: Victor Gollancz, 1988