Illustrated by Florian Schommer
In this collection created exclusively for The Folio Society, legendary science-fiction writer Brian Aldiss selects and introduces a series of electrifying short stories.
Science fiction has always been a fertile home for the short story. Brian Aldiss, award-wining author of science-fiction classics such as Non-Stop and the Helliconia trilogy, is also a master of the short story – Hothouse, his collection of novelettes, won the Hugo award for short fiction in 1962, while his ‘Super-Toys Last All Summer Long’ was the inspiration for the Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. A central figure in the genre for over 60 years and a hugely respected editor of numerous anthologies, Aldiss has selected and introduced each story in this special Folio collection. The result is a shining constellation of science-fiction stars, each story exemplifying the very best of the genre.
‘He was falling. Struggling frantically, he tried to get hold of something, but there was only empty darkness around him, no substance, no reality, only the depth beneath him and the din of his own terrified shrieks’
An intruder in the solar system has disastrous consequences for Earth in H. G. Wells’s ‘The Star’, while fans of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series will get the chance to revisit his universe in ‘Bridle and Saddle’. ‘Recall Mechanism’ is a typically mind-bending story from Philip K. Dick, author of The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and ‘Poor Little Warrior’ is a somewhat sardonic tale of time-travel from Aldiss himself. Also included are stories from Harry Harrison, James Tiptree Jr, Tom Godwin, James H. Schmitz, Voltaire and Anna Kavan, the writer whom Aldiss once described as ‘Kafka’s sister’. Writing under a pen name, Aldiss has also provided an extra story exclusively for this anthology, making it an irresistible collection for any science-fiction fan.
Each of the stories is prefaced with an introduction by Aldiss, often touching on his relationships with the genre’s greats – he describes eating dinner with Philip K. Dick on the roof of a glamorous hotel in California – or providing a wider commentary on the vital role of short stories. Florian Schommer has created seven atmospheric colour illustrations which cleverly shadow the chronology of the book; Voltaire’s ‘Micromégas’, the earliest story featured, is accompanied by a beautiful illustration composed of greys and blacks, and as the stories move towards the modern age a palette of deep oranges and reds is gradually introduced. The spectacular binding features a three-colour foil design, evoking the glittering golden age of science fiction.
‘Brian Aldiss is one of the most influential, and one of the best, science-fiction writers Britain has ever produced’
Brian W. Aldiss is one of the UK’s most prolific and influential science fiction writers. He has written over three hundred short stories and forty-one novels and novellas, including the award-winning Hothouse (1962), The Saliva Tree (1965) and The Helliconia Trilogy (1982–5). He is a pre-eminent critic within the SF genre and a hugely successful anthologist, with over forty anthologies to his name. In 2000 he was named a SFWA Grand Master, in 2004 he was inducted into the SF Hall of Fame, and in 2005 he was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. He was born in 1925 in Norfolk, England, and now lives in Oxford.
Florian Schommer is an illustrator and graphic designer. In 2013 he graduated from Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences with a degree in Communication & Graphic Design, and since then has been continuing his artistic practice in Hamburg. In addition to his freelance work, he co-founded the kjosk collective, creating original designs for clients all over the world. He received the FWA site of the day in 2013, the ADC Bronze Award in 2013, the ADC Student of the Year Award in 2014, the Illustrative Nominee Award in 2014, and three ADC Gold Awards in 2014.
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Review by anon on 18th Mar 2017
"This book is a perfect combination of short stories both old and new. It is a beautifully presented and cleverly designed collection that is a very welcome addition to my bookshelf."
Review by davidjbrown10 on 6th Oct 2016
"Almost needless to say, this is a fabulous production per se, with the intricately decorated buckram cover a particularly lovely feature (I hope the gold and silver blocking doesn’t wear off with ti..." [read more]