The Twinkling of an Eye

My Life as an Englishman

By Brian W. Aldiss
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312193461, 512pp.)

Publication Date: April 1999

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"All my past is accepted."

Science fiction's most eloquent creator of visions of tomorrow, Brian Aldiss, spins out his most fascinating story yet: his own.

Born in 1925, Aldiss is representative of the unique generation that reached adolescence in the era of World War II. Growing up in the rural hells of Norfolk and Devon, the son of a department store owner, he was formed and altered by wartime, serving three years in Burma and Asia with the Forgotten Army. Intrigued by science fiction and the near-apocalyptic imagery of the London Blitz, Aldiss became intoxicated by the beautiful lands, tropical climate, and horrific brutality he discovered in Burma and Sumatra, an "enchanted zone" that later provided the catalyst for much of his work.

Poignantly and passionately, Aldiss recalls the camaraderie of the army and the sobriety of postwar England; bookselling in Oxford; marital breakdown and financial impoverishment; life as a struggling novelist and literary editor; his seminal role in the science fiction's New Wave in the 1960s; and his friendships with Kingsley Amis, J.G. Ballard, Doris Lessing, and Michael Moorcock, among others.

Versatile, prolific, and outspoken, Aldiss writes revealingly on many issues and experiences, from literary inspiration to childhood illness, from mental breakdown to the critical attitudes toward science fiction.

For most of his life, Brian Aldiss has concerned himself with re-creating our present. In this moving, candid, and compelling autobiography, he reflects on a future that, in the twinkling of an eye, has become the past.

About the Author

Brian W. Aldiss was born in East Dereham, Norfolk, in 1925 and served with the Royal Signals in the Far East. His first book, The Brightfount Diaries, was published in 1955. He has since gone on to publish more than fifty books, including such classics as the Helliconia Trilogy, Greybeard, The Malacia Tapestry, Frankenstein Unbound and the Squire Quartet (comprised of Life in the West, Forgotten Life, Remembrance Day, and Somewhere East of Life). His most recent book is the story collection Common Clay, which was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He continues to live in Oxford, his home for the past forty years.

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