Brian Aldiss has died aged 92. In this interview from 2015, the acclaimed author asked Jake Kerridge why the UK still turns up its nose at science fiction
Brian Aldiss, one of the pioneers of British science fiction, has written or edited more than 100 books. He has met Dylan Thomas, John Masefield and T S Eliot, been a drinking buddy of Kingsley Amis (“Kingsley would land one in a lot of trouble, I have to say”), and shared a Jacuzzi with Doris Lessing. He spent years enduring the caprices of Stanley Kubrick as they worked on a screenplay of Aldiss’s story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long”, a project that eventually became Steven Spielberg’s AI – “a lousy film,” he says.
It has been a long and full life, then, and most of it is encompassed in an outsized German safe in the kitchen of his home in Oxford. Creaking a little at the age of 89 years and 11 months, Aldiss leans down to open the safe door and reveal a stack of red hardback notebooks: the 81 volumes of his journal.
“For my forthcoming birthday I’m giving a party here and I am determined to put these bloody things on display because nobody’s ever seen them,” he says. “Alison, that’s the lady friend, has had a look, but nobody else has. I don’t. They’re going to the Bodleian when I die, they can’t wait.”