Brian Aldiss

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Brian Aldiss at the 63rd World Science Fiction Congress ( Worldcon ) in Glasgow in August 2005

Brian Wilson Aldiss , OBE (* 18th August 1925 in East Dereham , England ; † 19th August 2017 in Oxford ) was a British science fiction - author .


Aldiss was born in 1925 in East Dereham, Norfolk . His parents sent him to boarding school, the West Buckland School in Devon, where, when he was six, he said he would tell ghost stories to older classmates in the dormitory so as not to get beaten up. After finishing school in 1943, he did his military service in Burma and Sumatra with the Royal Corps of Signals and the Fourteenth Army in India and Burma. After the end of the war he remained in the army until 1947, mainly in Sumatra in Southeast Asia .

In 1948 he took a job as a bookseller in Oxford . He published a series of short prose pieces under the pseudonym "Peter Pica" in the journal The Bookseller . In 1955 he revised these prose pieces so that they were summarized in a novella as The Brightfound Diaries by Faber & Faber . Until 1970 all of his books were published by this publisher. Book publication enabled him to leave his job as a bookseller. That year he took first place in a short story competition organized by The Observer in England with Not for an Age .

Even before the competition he had his first science fiction story Criminal Record in Science Fantasy magazine in 1954 .

From 1957 to 1970 he worked part-time as the editor in charge of the literature section of the Oxford Mail .

His literary breakthrough came in 1958 with the SF novel Non-Stop (also Starship , German drive without end , later Starship - lost in space ), which describes the journey in a generational spaceship. He deals very carefully with language and describes an end-time vision. These main topics can be found again and again in his works until 1966.

He had success in the USA in addition to Non-Stop in 1958 with the story Judas Dancing . The following year he received the Hugo Award for best young author. He received the Hugo Award again in 1962 for the Hothouse stories in the narrative category.

He then began a series of gloomy visions of the future: Greybeard (German: Uprising of the Old ) (1964), The Dark Light Years (1964) and Earthworks (1965) also exceeded their predecessors in terms of quality and increased Aldiss' good reputation.

In 1964 Michael Moorcock became editor of New Worlds magazine and initiated a change of direction for this magazine towards SF literature New Wave . Aldiss was enthusiastic about it and, together with James Graham Ballard, was very committed to this magazine, which soon saw sf as speculative fiction .

Aldiss, who dealt closely with language in his first work, was now able to give free rein to his linguistic and stylistic experiments. In his novel Cryptozoic - published as An Age in New Worlds in 1967 - he let time run backwards, and in Report on Probability A (1968) he alienated perception and questioned the cognitive method of observation.

Aldiss is the inventor of mini-sagas , a form of very short texts that tell a story in just 50 words.

Brian Aldiss was married twice and had two children in each marriage. He died in August 2017 on the night after his 92nd birthday.


Barefoot in the head

His preliminary major work, however, was Barefoot in the Head (1967 / 68–1969 in New Worlds ), which is difficult to read because of its complexity, which reminds some of James Joyce , and which breaks through the limitations of classic science fiction. The book is written in a frenzied, “ psychedelicstaccato style, which also shows William S. Burroughs ' book Naked Lunch as a model. Remarkably, the starting point of the story is a conflict between the Western European states and Yugoslavia , in which the Arab nations of the Middle East take sides against the Western states. The book begins shortly after the end of the war in France, where the inhabitants were driven into a state of general madness by bombs containing mind-altering substances.

The average reader was overwhelmed with this work and reacted cautiously. For his part, Aldiss was disappointed with the reader's reaction and withdrew from science fiction literature for several years. In the early 1970s he discovered the mainstream and wrote The Horatio Stubbs Saga , a trilogy on the subject of youth problems, of which only the first volume reached the bestseller lists. He returned to SF in 1973 with the literary history work The Billion Year Spree , in which he describes the development of science fiction from its first forerunners ( Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein ) to the 1970s.

In the same year, Aldiss published Frankenstein Unbound (1973) , believed to be his worst work, with a plot so modeled on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that it is almost plagiarism. His book Moreau's Other Island (1979) did not cling so slavishly to HG Wells ' The Island of Dr. Moreau .

In 1976 Aldiss went on a foray into the fantasy genre with The Malacia Tapestry . In a dreamy to cynical mood, he tells the story of the young actor Perian in Malacia, a northern Italian-looking Renaissance city ​​in a parallel universe, with colorful markets and bird people, the siege by the Ottomans and the fight as a matter of course belong to the authorities against the emerging technology.

Aldiss published other SF novels and short stories in the 1970s. The enduring appeal of his unconventional SF stories was shown by the fact that Stanley Kubrick developed one of his last film ideas from his short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long (1969), which, at Kubrick's request, was realized by Steven Spielberg after his death under the title AI - Artificial Intelligence and was released in 2001.


In 1981 Aldiss began his Helliconia trilogy with the novel Helliconia Spring , which was followed by Helliconia Summer (1983) and Helliconia Winter (1985). This 1700-page epic occupies a special place in Aldiss' work. It describes a world in a binary star system with centuries of seasons. The main theme is the rise and fall of civilizations over these climates; there are indications of a cyclical recurrence of the always similar cultures. This work has received several awards, among other things because it represents a new standard in the invention of a fictional world . The trilogy is significantly influenced by the Gaia hypothesis of the British scientist James Lovelock , whom Aldiss also thanks in the foreword to a complete edition.



"Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts."

"Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are for ghosts."


The selection bibliography below contains only the novels and short stories published in German. For a more comprehensive bibliography of the extensive work by Aldiss and in particular his very numerous short stories, see the main article with the work bibliography by Brian Aldiss .

Series of novels

The Horatio Stubbs Saga (novels)

  • 1 The Hand-Reared Boy (1970)
    • German: Gross by own hand. Translated by Dieter Holmblad. Gala-Verlag, Hamburg 1971, DNB 720016436 . Also as: Adventure on Sumatra: Horatio Stubbs' erotic apprenticeship and wandering years. Translated by Michael Kubiak. Goldmann # 9670, Munich 1991, ISBN 978-3-442-09670-1 .
  • 2 A Soldier Erect; or Further Adventures of the Hand-Reared Boy (1971, in: A Soldier Erect; or Further Adventures of the Hand-Reared Boy )
    • English: The upright soldier: Horatio Stubbs' erotic apprenticeship. Translated by Michael Kubiak. Goldmann # 9671, Munich 1991, ISBN 978-3-442-09671-8 .
  • 3 A Rude Awakening (1978)
    • German: School of Passion: Horatio Stubbs' erotic awakening. Translated by Michael Kubiak. Goldmann # 9672, Munich 1990, ISBN 978-3-442-09672-5 .


  • 1 Helliconia Spring (1982)
  • 2 Helliconia Summer (1983)
    • German: Helliconia: Sommer. Translated by Walter Brumm. Heyne (Library of Science Fiction Literature # 51), 1985, ISBN 978-3-453-31158-9 .
  • 3 Helliconia Winter (1985)
    • German: Helliconia: Winter. Translated by Walter Brumm. Heyne (Library of Science Fiction Literature # 52), 1985, ISBN 978-3-453-31159-6 .
Single novels
  • Non-Stop (1958; also: Starship , 1959)
    • German: Endless journey. Translated by Michael Fröhwein. Moewig (Terra # 2), Munich 1956, DNB 363272607 . Also as: Endless journey. Translated by Wulf H. Bergner. Heyne SF & F # 3191, 1970. Also as: The neverending journey. Translated by Bernd Seligmann and Brigitte Borngässer Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Bestseller # 22075, 1984, ISBN 978-3-404-22075-5 . Also: Starship - lost in space. Translated by Andrea Blendl. Mantikore Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2018, ISBN 978-3-96188-017-1 .
  • X for Exploitation (1960, in: New Worlds Science Fiction, # 92 March ; also: Bow Down to Nul ; also: The Interpreter , 1961)
    • German: Under the terror of strange stars. Translated by Clark Darlton. Translated by Walter Ernsting. Balowa-Verlag, DNB 770510205 . Also: Moewig (Terra # 250), 1962. Also as: The rule of the Nul. Pabel (Utopia Science Fiction # 553), 1967. Also called: Oppressor of the Earth. Translated by Clark Darlton. Ullstein 2000 # 133 (Ullstein books # 3364), 1977, ISBN 978-3-548-03364-8 .
  • The Male Response (1961)
    • German: O! Africa. Translated into German by Hans Wolf Sommer. Bastei-Verlag Lübbe (Bastei-Lübbe-Taschenbuch # 13094), Bergisch Gladbach 1987, ISBN 978-3-404-13094-8 .
  • The Primal Urge (1961; also: Minor Operation , 1962)
    • English: There is a light on: a novel about the 3rd sexual revolution in the name of English public health. Translated by Waltraud Götting. Bastei-Verlag Lübbe (Bastei-Lübbe-Taschenbuch # 13004), Bergisch Gladbach 1985, ISBN 978-3-404-13004-7 .
  • The Long Afternoon of Earth (1962; also: Hothouse )
    • English: On Eve's Eve: Science Fiction Novel. German translation by Walter Ernsting. Heyne books # 3030, Munich 1979, ISBN 978-3-453-30583-0 . Also called: The Long Afternoon on Earth: Science Fiction Novel. With an introduction by Joseph Milicia and an afterword by Franz Rottensteiner. German translation by Reinhard Heinz. Heyne SF&F # 61, Munich 1986, ISBN 978-3-453-31290-6 .
  • The Dark Light Years (1964)
    • German: The dark light years. German translation by Hans Maeter. Heyne SF&F # 3945, Munich 1983, ISBN 978-3-453-30873-2 .
  • Greybeard (1964)
    • German: uprising of the ancients. German translation from English by Walter Brumm. Heyne SF & F # 3107, 1967. Also called: Gray Beard. Heyne (Library of Science Fiction Literature # 74), 1989, ISBN 978-3-453-03449-5 .
  • Earthworks (1965)
    • English: Death in the Dust: Science Fiction Novel. Translated by Evelyn Linke. Lichtenberg (Science Fiction for Kenner # 1, Munich 1970).
  • Report on Probability A (in: New Worlds and SF Impulse, March 1967 ; separate issue 1968)
    • German: Report on Probability A. Translated by Karl H. Kosmehl. Ullstein 2000 # 123 (Ullstein books # 3293), 1976, ISBN 978-3-548-03293-1 .
  • An Age (in: New Worlds Speculative Fiction, # 176 October 1967 ; also: Cryptozoic!, 1968; also: Cryptozoic , 1973)
  • Barefoot in the Head (1969)
    • English: Barefoot in the head: science fiction novel. Translated by Joachim Körber. Bastei-Verl. Lübbe (Bastei-Lübbe-Taschenbuch # 24105), Bergisch Gladbach 1988, ISBN 978-3-404-24105-7 . Also as: Barefoot in the head: a psychedelic novel. Ed. Phantasia, Linkenheim 1988, ISBN 978-3-924959-24-1 .
  • Frankenstein Unbound (1973)
    • German: The unleashed Frankenstein. German translation by Irene Holicki. Heyne SF&F # 4103, Munich 1984, ISBN 978-3-453-31063-6 .
  • The Eighty-Minute Hour: A Space Opera (1974)
    • German: The eighty-minute hour. Translated by Sigrid's husband. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Bestseller # 22016, 1980, ISBN 978-3-404-01470-5 .
  • The Malacia Tapestry (1976)
    • English: The Malacia Tapestry: Fantasy Novel. German translation by Walter Brumm. Heyne SF & F # 3625, Munich 1978, ISBN 978-3-453-30535-9 .
  • Brothers of the Head (1977)
    • English: The Brothers of the Head. In: Dark Brother Future. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24034, 1982, ISBN 978-3-404-24034-0 .
  • Enemies of the System: A Tale of Homo Uniformis (1978)
    • German: enemies of the system. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): Enemies of the system. Heyne SF & F # 3805, 1981, ISBN 978-3-453-30707-0 .
  • A Chinese Perspective (1978, short novel in: Christopher Priest (Ed.): Anticipations )
    • German: Chinese Perspectives. In: Brian Aldiss: Dark Brother Future. Original compilation. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24034, 1982, ISBN 978-3-404-24034-0 .
  • Life in the West (Squire Quartet # 1, 1980)
    • German: The joys of the West: A civilization novel. Translated by Waltraud Götting. Lübbe (Bastei-Lübbe-Taschenbuch # 13031), Bergisch Gladbach 1986, ISBN 978-3-404-13031-3 .
  • Moreau's Other Island (1980; also: An Island Called Moreau , 1981)
    • German: Dr. Moreau's new island. Translated by Heinz Zwack. Hohenheim (Edition SF in Hohenheim Verlag), 1981, ISBN 978-3-8147-0012-0 . Also as: Dr. Moreau's new island. Heyne SF & F # 4205, 1985, ISBN 978-3-453-31179-4 .
  • A Romance of the Equator (1980, short novel in: A Romance of the Equator )
    • German: love at the equator. In: Friedel Wahren (Ed.): Isaac Asimovs Science Fiction Magazin 20th episode. Heyne SF & F # 4034, 1983, ISBN 978-3-453-30975-3 . Also as: A love story on the equator. In: Brian Aldiss: The Flight of the Tides. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24110, 1988, ISBN 978-3-404-24110-1 .
  • Ruins (1987, short novel)
    • German: ruins. In: Brian Aldiss: The Flight of the Tides. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24110, 1988, ISBN 978-3-404-24110-1 .
  • White Mars, or, The Mind Set Free: A 21st-Century Utopia (1999; with Roger Penrose)
    • German: White Mars or: Departure to Reason: a utopia of the 21st century. With a charter for the colonization of Mars by Professor Laurence Lustgarten, translated by Usch Kiausch. Heyne SF & F # 6350, 1999, ISBN 978-3-453-16168-9 .
  • HARM (2007)
    • German: Terror. Translated by Michael Plogmann. Ed. Phantasia (Phantasia-Paperback / Science-Fiction # 1011), Bellheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-937897-35-6 .
  • Space, Time and Nathaniel (1957)
    • German: Raum, Zeit and Nathaniel: Science Fiction Stories. German translation by Birgit Ress-Bohusch. Heyne-Bücher # 3406, Munich 1974, ISBN 978-3-453-30301-0 .
  • Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960)
    • German: The end of all days. Translated by Walter Brumm. Moewig (Terra-Taschenbuch # 120), Munich 1967, DNB 454555245 .
  • Starswarm (1964)
    • German: The swarm of stars. Translated by Wulf H. Bergner. Heyne books # 3124, Munich 1968, DNB 454555318 .
  • Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian Aldiss (1965; also: Who Can Replace a Man?, 1966)
    • German: The impossible star. Translated by Rudolf Hermstein. Insel (Fantastic Reality: Science Fiction of the World), 1972. Also: Suhrkamp (Fantastic Library # 80), 1982, ISBN 978-3-518-37334-7 .
  • Intangibles Inc. and Other Stories (1969)
    • English: The new Neanderthals. Translated by Walter Brumm. Heyne SF & F # 3195, 1970, DNB 454555261 .
  • The Moment of Eclipse (1970)
    • English: The moment of the eclipse. Translated by Annette von Charpentier. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24049, 1983, ISBN 978-3-404-24049-4 .
  • The Book of Brian Aldiss (1972; also: The Comic Inferno , 1973)
    • German: All the tears of this earth. Translated by Tony Westermayr. Goldmann Science Fiction # 0238, 1976, ISBN 978-3-442-23238-3 .
  • Last Orders and Other Stories (1977; also: Last Orders , 1990)
    • German: The last round. Translated by Annette von Charpentier. Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24056, 1984, ISBN 978-3-404-24056-2 .
  • Seasons in Flight (1984)
    • German: The flight of the tides: A journey to the limits of the human imagination Bastei Lübbe Science Fiction Special # 24110, 1988, ISBN 978-3-404-24110-1 .

German original compilations:

  • Dark Brother Future: Science Fiction Stories. German translation: Ralph Tegtmeier. Bastei-Verlag Lübbe (Bastei Lübbe # 24034), 1982, ISBN 978-3-404-24034-0 .
  • Galactic Gallery: Science Fiction Tales. Bilingual English-German. Translation by Richard Fenzl. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag (dtv # 9193), Munich 1982, ISBN 978-3-423-09193-0 .


  • Brian W. Aldiss: Helliconia: How and Why. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): Das Science Fiction Magazin # 12. Heyne, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-453-31125-6 , pp. 33-42.
  • Hans Joachim Alpers , Werner Fuchs , Ronald M. Hahn : Reclam's science fiction guide. Reclam, Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-15-010312-6 , pp. 9-12.
  • Hans Joachim Alpers, Werner Fuchs, Ronald M. Hahn, Wolfgang Jeschke : Lexicon of Science Fiction Literature. Heyne, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-453-02453-2 , pp. 160-164.
  • Joern J. Bambeck : The great wheel of the Kharnabhar on Helliconia. How it came about. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): Das Science Fiction Magazin # 12 , Heyne, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-453-31125-6 , pp. 43-49.
  • David V. Barrett: Aldiss, Brian W (ilson) . In: Noelle Watson, Paul E. Schellinger: Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers. St. James Press, Chicago 1991, ISBN 1-55862-111-3 , pp. 3-6.
  • Raimund Borgmaier: Brian W. Aldiss: Frankenstein Unbound. In: Hartmut Heuermann (Ed.): The science fiction novel in Anglo-American literature. Interpretations. Bagel, Düsseldorf 1986, pp. 331-345. ISBN 3-590-07454-X .
  • John Clute , David Pringle : Aldiss, Brian W. In: John Clute, Peter Nicholls : The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . 3rd edition (online edition), version dated May 7, 2020.
  • Don D'Ammassa : Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Facts On File, New York 2005, ISBN 0-8160-5924-1 , pp. 2-4.
  • Doris Dreßler: The world is so wonderful. Why the hell are we sending her? A conversation with Brian W. Aldiss. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): The Science Fiction Year 1994. Heyne, Munich, ISBN 3-453-07245-6 , pp. 431-444.
  • Michael Görden: Spring on Helliconia. A workshop talk with Brian W. Aldiss. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): Das Science Fiction Magazin # 7. Heyne, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-453-30924-3 , pp. 35-61.
  • Heinrich Keim: New Wave - the avant-garde of modern Anglo-American science fiction? An investigation of the literary phenomenon "New Wave" based on the works of James Graham Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Brian Wilson Aldiss, John Brunner, Norman Spinrad, Thomas M. Disch, John T. Sladek, Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany. Corian-Verlag, Meitingen 1983, ISBN 3-89048-301-1 .
  • George Mann : The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Robinson, London 2001, ISBN 1-84119-177-9 , pp. 31-34.
  • Willis E. McNelly: Aldiss, Brian W (ilson) . In: James Gunn : The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Viking, New York et al. a. 1988, ISBN 0-670-81041-X , p. 4 f.
  • Robert Reginald : Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. A Checklist, 1700–1974 with Contemporary Science Fiction Authors II. Gale, Detroit 1979, ISBN 0-8103-1051-1 , pp. 792 f.
  • Robert Reginald: Contemporary Science Fiction Authors. Arno Press, New York 1974, ISBN 0-405-06332-6 , pp. 1-4.
  • Donald H. Tuck : The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy through 1968. Advent, Chicago 1974, ISBN 0-911682-20-1 , pp. 3-5.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Brian Aldiss dies aged 92 , in: The Bookseller, August 21, 2017, accessed August 22, 2017
  2. a b Science fiction author Brian Aldiss dies aged 92 in: The Guardian , August 21, 2017, accessed on August 22, 2017 - time of death according to information from his publisher's representative
  3. a b Alexander Menden: Brian Aldiss died . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung of August 23, 2017.
  4. a b c d Brian Aldiss obituary in: The Guardian, August 21, 2017, accessed August 21, 2017
  5. 1959 Hugo Awards ( Memento of the original from May 7, 2011 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the official Hugo Awards website; accessed on May 17, 2019. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. 1962 Hugo Awards on the official Hugo Awards website; accessed on May 17, 2019.
  7. Brian Aldiss HELLICONIA - The classical epical trilogy in one volume . HarperCollins Publishers , London, 1996 (Paperback).
  8. ^ Brian M. Stableford : Science Fact and Science Fiction: an Encyclopedia . Routledge, New York 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-97460-8 , Steampunk, pp. 502 f . (English).
  9. This story German first published in 1973 in Damon Knight , Ed .: Panne in der Hölle. SF stories. Translated by Hans Maeter . Heyne TB 3344, Munich 1973, without ISBN. Later with ISBN 3-453-30221-4 . Engl. First in 1965 with the series title Nebula Award Stories, 1
  10. The London Gazette ( english ) on June 11, 2005. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
  11. ^ University of Liverpool announces 2008 honors. (No longer available online.) In: University of Liverpool, June 27, 2008, archived from the original April 19, 2013 ; accessed on January 14, 2016 .