The twelve stories in this latest collection from Britain’s best-loved, most respected science fiction author assemble a mindscape of place as close as Prague, the Aswan Sheraton, an Oxford Garden where an orgy takes place, and Moscow; and as distant as the Afterworld, a cabbage planet, and the heart of our galaxy. The voices too, are various: the man in Budapest without memory, the solitary who sailed around the globe, the cockroach who finds he’s Kafka. But nothing is quite what it seems. Moscow, for instance, is not the Moscow expected by the salesman hero of the title story, who leaves Penge on a Royal Russian jet and lands in an Aeroflot, to discover an absence of ‘the high-tech sheen for which Russia was renowned’.
The imaginative and often erotic strain of Aldiss’s fiction, and his ability to make the bizarre and the absurd seem perfectly commonplace, are captured here more strongly than ever, frequently distilled in a glittering black humour.
FIRST EDITION: Harper Collins, 1993