Aldiss, Brian


Aldiss, Brian
(1925– )
   The author of “SUPERTOYS LAST ALL SUMMER LONG” (1969), the basis for the STANLEY KUBRICK–STEVEN SPIELBERG film, A. I. , is a distinguished SCIENCE FICTION writer, critic, and anthologist. A superb stylist and a socially committed thinker, Aldiss is a product of the “New Age” of science fiction in the 1960s and 1970s. He was born in England and educated at private schools. During World War II he served in the Royal Corps of Signals in Burma. After his demobilization in 1948 he began his writing career with a series of essays about bookselling which were collected under the title The Brightfount Diaries (1955). His true métier, however, was science fiction, and after publishing his first science fiction story,“Criminal Record” (1954), he embarked on a prolific career, writing short stories and novels. His first collection of stories appeared in America in 1959 under the title No Time Like Tomorrow and was quickly followed by two other collections, Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1959), and Starswarm (1963). Among his classic novels are Starship (1958), Breakthrough (1959), the Hugo Award– winning The Long Afternoon of Earth (1962), Greybeard (1964), the Helliconia series (1982–1986), and Frankenstein Unbound (1974), a time-travel yarn whose characters were drawn from the real-life Mary Shelley’s circle of friends and associates. (Aldiss claims that science fiction was born in the “heart and crucible of the English Romantic movement. ”) An indefatigable anthologist,Aldiss has edited many titles in the Penguin Science Fiction series, and, with fellow writer Harry Harrison, titles in the Year’s Best Science Fiction series. He also was the literary editor for many years of the daily newspaper The Oxford Mail. In the foreword to a recent anthology,Aldiss affectionately recalls his relationship with Stanley Kubrick. After selling him the rights to “Supertoys,” he met with Kubrick frequently in the early 1980s to hammer out a treatment of the film that would eventually be made as A. I. under the guidance of Steven Spielberg. “Every day, a limo would come to my door on Boars Hill,” writes Aldiss,“and I would be driven to Castle Kubrick, Stanley’s Blenheim-sized pad outside St. Albans. Stanley had often been up half the night, wandering his great desolate rooms choked with apparatus. He would materialize in a rumpled way saying, ‘Let’s have some fresh air, Brian. ’” Inevitably, perhaps, their discussions, while amiable, ended in a stalemate. “[Kubrick] did not permit argument or the consideration of any line of development he did not immediately like,” says Aldiss. For example, Aldiss rejected Kubrick’s allusions to the Pinocchio story, preferring to confront his character of David, who hitherto had been unaware of his mechanical identity, with the revelation of his true nature. “It comes as a shock to realize he is a machine. He malfunctions. . . . Does he autodestruct? The audience should be subjected to a tense and alarming drama of claustrophobia, to be left with the final questions, ‘Does it matter that David is a machine? Should it matter? And to what extent are we all machines?’”
   By the mid-1990s Aldiss and Kubrick’s working relationship was over, their issues unresolved. “He needed not only to sustain his independence but to nourish his myth,” writes Aldiss, “the myth of a creative but eccentric hermit-genius. ”
   In his history of science fiction, The Billion Year Spree, Aldiss proudly notes that science fiction “had made itself a part of the general debate of our times. ” He continues: “It has added to the literature of the world; through its madness and freewheeling ingenuity, it has helped form the new pop music; through its raising of semireligious questions, it has become part of the underworld where drugs, mysticism, Godkicks, and sometimes even murder meet; and lastly, it has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment in its own right, a wacky sort of fiction that grabs and engulfs anything new or old for its subject matter, turning it into a shining and often insubstantial wonder. ”
   References
   ■ Aldiss, Brian, The Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction (Garden City,N. Y. : Doubleday and Company, 1973);
   ■ Aldiss, Brian, Supertoys Last All Summer Long (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001).
   J. C. T.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aldiss, Brian W. — ▪ English author in full  Brian Wilson Aldiss   born Aug. 18, 1925, East Dereham, Norfolk, Eng.       prolific English author of science fiction short stories and novels that display great range in style and approach.       Aldiss served with the …   Universalium

  • Brian Aldiss — Brian Wilson Aldiss (* 18. August 1925 in East Dereham, England) ist ein britischer Science Fiction Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 2 Zitat 3 Bibliographie (Auswahl) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brian W. Aldiss — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Brian Wilson Aldiss es un escritor británico de ciencia ficción nacido en Norfolk en 1925. Brian W. Aldiss …   Wikipedia Español

  • Brian Aldiss — en 2005 Nom de naissance Brian Wilson Aldiss Activités Romancier …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brian W. Aldiss — Brian Wilson Aldiss (* 18. August 1925 in East Dereham, England) ist ein britischer Science Fiction Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 2 Zitat 3 Bibliographie (Auswahl) 3.1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brian Wilson Aldiss — (* 18. August 1925 in East Dereham, England) ist ein britischer Science Fiction Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 2 Zitat 3 Bibliographie (Auswahl) 3.1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Aldiss — Brian Wilson Aldiss (* 18. August 1925 in East Dereham, England) ist ein britischer Science Fiction Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biographie 2 Zitat 3 Bibliographie (Auswahl) 3.1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brian W. Aldiss — Brian Aldiss Brian Aldiss Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE, né le 18 août 1925 à Norfolk est un écrivain anglais de fiction et science fiction anobli en 2005 pour service rendus à la littérature. Il a également ét …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brian Wilson Aldiss — Brian Aldiss Brian Aldiss Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE, né le 18 août 1925 à Norfolk est un écrivain anglais de fiction et science fiction anobli en 2005 pour service rendus à la littérature. Il a également ét …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Aldiss — Brian Aldiss Brian Aldiss Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE, né le 18 août 1925 à Norfolk est un écrivain anglais de fiction et science fiction anobli en 2005 pour service rendus à la littérature. Il a également ét …   Wikipédia en Français


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