The news arrived of the death of the British writer Brian Aldiss (photo ©Szymon Sokól). It happened last Saturday, August 19, 2017. His family didn’t report the death causes but he had just celebrated his 92th birthday.
I already wrote a tribute to Brian Aldiss almost exactly two years ago, on his 90th birthday. I mentioned his most important works with biographical notes but with such a prolific author who worked a lot as an anthology editor as well one could easily write more articles. To analyze in depth what he dis during his long life, one could write an entire encyclopedia and that’s not just a figure of speech.
Brian Aldiss was an author who went beyong genres and subgenres, one of the cases where labels are really limiting. In the 1960s he was considered one of the most important authors of the British New Wave but he always worked in his own way, without being forced within boundaries that would prevent him from telling his stories the way he wanted. That’s also why he won award in both the genres of science fiction and fantasy. In fact, even literature in general wasn’t enough for him, so he also wrote essays, articles on various topics and poetry.
At least some of Brian Aldiss’s various activities continued practically until the end. His latest novel, “Comfort Zone” (2013), concerns a present issue since it’s set in the Oxford of the present telling the prejudices and negative consequences that emerge from the project to build a mosque in the city. The last anthology edited by him was published in 2016.
It’s impossible to measure the impact that Brian Aldiss’s long career had in the field of science fiction on readers as well as on writers who considered him as a source of inspiration and had stories included in the anthologies he edited. Various colleagues described him as a man with an intense passion for literature and poetry who spent all his life reading and writing.
These are some of the reasons why Brian Aldiss’s death is a huge loss. He certainly leaves an extraordinary legacy that goes far beyond the science fiction genre.