Obituary Note: Brian Aldiss

Brian Aldiss, the "grand old man" of science fiction "whose writing has shaped the genre since he was first published in the 1950s," died August 19, the Guardian reported. He was 92. Aldiss was the author of science fiction classics, including Non-Stop, Hothouse and Greybeard, as well as the Helliconia trilogy. His short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" was adapted into the Steven Spielberg film AI. His Horatio Stubbs saga (The Hand-Reared Boy, A Soldier Erect and A Rude Awakening) "was based on his time during the war in Burma and the far east," the Guardian noted.

Aldiss received numerous awards, including Hugo and Nebula prizes, an honorary doctorate from the University of Reading, the title of grand master from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and an OBE for services to literature.

On Twitter, Neil Gaiman noted: "This just hit me like a meteor to the heart: Brian Aldiss died on his 92nd Birthday. A larger than life wise writer." In the introduction to a new edition of Hothouse, Gaiman had written that Aldiss's career "has recapitulated British SF, always with a ferocious intelligence, always with poetry and oddness, always with passion; while his work outside the boundaries of science fiction, as a writer of mainstream fiction, gained respect and attention from the wider world."

Natasha Bardon, Aldiss's editor at HarperCollins, said, "For the short time I had the pleasure of knowing Brian, there wasn't a moment when he wasn't writing something. His passion for language and literature was wonderful and he wielded his skill like a blade. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry: there was just no stopping him. Though I came to publish Brian later in his career, I feel the luckiest, because it wasn't just the fiction I heard about. Brian told the most incredible stories: of days when he and his contemporaries were writing books that would become classics of the genre, of evenings out among other giants of literature, and of much cheekier tales, always told with a smile and twinkle in his eye. It is with great sadness that we say farewell to such a beloved author and I am so proud I was able to publish him even briefly."

In a tribute, author Christopher Priest observed: "Aldiss was by a long chalk the premier British science fiction writer--that he was also one of the most versatile writers of any kind was a fact that only a comparatively few readers outside the SF field came to discover. His work is still, in this sense, to be discovered."

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