The death was announced of Brian Aldiss in this way ‘Author of British Science Fiction classics Non-stop, Hothouse and Greybeard, Aldiss’s writing spanned genres and generations, bridging the gap between classic ‘science fiction’ and contemporary literature with his Helliconia Trilogy…’
When I sent him to Oxtopia for Oxford Castaways he insisted it wasn’t SCIENCE fiction that he wrote- it was SPECULATIVE fiction the literature of ideas of ‘What if?’
He told me that Hot House was inspired by a visit (on the way back from WW2 in Burma) to the Botanical Gardens in Calcutta. His description of the arrival in Southampton of returning soldiers from Burma ( including him )being completely ignored was poignant.
I love his account of visiting Oxford for the first time when back from Burma and on impulse walking into Sanders on the High and asking them for a job! That life changing moment could be the opening of a novel. The personal story that drove him to write Greybeard was one of loss and despair.
Here is his full Oxtopian biography . Brian Aldiss