Born in the United Kingdom on the 18th of August 1925, Brian Wilson Aldiss is a prolific and acclaimed writer of science fiction, mainstream fiction and non-fiction. In his youth he attended several different schools, and was drafted in 1943: he served in the Royal Corps of Signals in Yorkshire. In 1944 he was transferred overseas and saw action in India, Assam, Burma, Sumatra, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In 1947 he left the army and became a book seller. In 1948 he married Olive Fortescue, whom he subsequently divorced in 1965.
In February 1954 Aldiss's first professional sale called A Book in Time was published in a magazine called The Bookseller. His first science fiction sale was published in July of the same year. His first book, a compilation of short stories, based on his experiences as book seller, called The Brightfount Diaries, was published in 1955. Not a science fiction work, it exemplifies Aldiss's nature as a diverse writer. In 1956 he quit as book merchant and became a full-time writer. He was the literary editor of the Oxford Mail from 1958 to 1969, and is renowned as a literary critic as well as an author.
Aldiss's second wife Margaret died in 1997 of cancer in the pancreas after 32 years of marriage. This prompted When The Feast is Finished: Reflections on Terminal Illness. Margaret Aldiss also authored some works on her own, including a bibliography of her husband's works, The Works of Brian W. Aldiss. He also has four children: Clive and Wendy with Olive, and Tim and Charlotte with Margaret.
Currently Aldiss is living in Boars Hill, near Oxford, and is still writing strong despite being already almost 80 years old, as well as "dabbling" with painting. As a seasoned traveller, a visitor of many places, a war veteran, a father and a widow, he has and will have many stories to tell. Aldiss's short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long was the basis for the Hollywood film A.I.
Aldiss's works have won several prizes and awards, including the coveteted Hugo and Nebula awards. They include light-hearted satire and comedy, moving autobiographies, hard and not-so-hard science fiction, and travel journals. Aldiss is a master of crafting a new world and society by following the rules of science very carefully, and creating a strangely realistic atmosphere for speculative fiction. For example, the Helliconia trilogy is a story of a planet and its people, on a peculiar orbit in a peculiar star system, which is based on extensive research on meteorology, astronomy and cultural anthropology. On the other hand, pure fantasy is not out of Aldiss's territory either: again, as a writer Aldiss is very diverse.
Prominent Awards (year awarded in):
- Hugo Best Short Story Winner, for Hothouse (1962)
- Nebula Best Novella Winner, for The Saliva Tree (1965)
- Nebula and Hugo Best Short Story Nominee, for Man in His Time (1966 and 1967, respectively)
- Nebula and Hugo Best Novellette Nominee, for Total Environment (1968 and 1969)
- British Science Fiction Award Winner, for The Moment of Eclipse (1972)
- British Science Fiction Special Award Winner, for Billion Year Spree (1974)
- Prix Jules Verne Winner, for Non-Stop (1976)
- Cometa d'Argento Winner, for Science Fiction Art (1977)
- Hugo Best Novella Nominee, for Enemies of the System (1979)
- Nebula Best Novel Nominee, British Science Fiction Best Novel Winner, British Science Fiction Best Novel Nominee, for Helliconia Spring (1983 to 1984)
- SF Chronicle Best Novel Nominee for Helliconia Summer (1984)
- Nebula Best Novel Nominee, British Science Fiction Best Novel Winner for Helliconia Winter (1985 and 1986)
- Hugo Best Non-Fiction Nominee, for The Pale Shadow of Science (1986)
- Hugo Best Non-Fiction Winner, for Trillion Year Spree (1987)
- Hugo Best Non-Fiction Nominee, for Bury My Heart at W.H. Smith's (1991)
The official website of Brian W. Aldiss, http://www.brianwaldiss.com