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Spanning more than 30 years of Aldiss's career and encompassing a remarkable range of ideas, moods, and styles, Man in His Time is a generous collection of this writer's finest work. Spanning more than 30 years of Aldiss's career and encompassing a remarkable range of ideas, moods, and styles, Man in His Time is a generous collection of this writer's finest work.


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Spanning more than 30 years of Aldiss's career and encompassing a remarkable range of ideas, moods, and styles, Man in His Time is a generous collection of this writer's finest work. Spanning more than 30 years of Aldiss's career and encompassing a remarkable range of ideas, moods, and styles, Man in His Time is a generous collection of this writer's finest work.

30 review for Man in His Time: The Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Best SF Stories of Brian W. Aldiss - Stellar batch by one of my favorite SF authors since so much of his writing can be classified as New Age SF, as in Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock and Christopher Priest, as in a focus on inner space over outer space. As Brian Aldiss wrote in the book's Introduction: "The stories in this collection are meant, in their own way, to open gates to the mind." Open my mind and blow my mind, Brian! Special thanks to Goodreads friend Manny Rayner for bringing this o Best SF Stories of Brian W. Aldiss - Stellar batch by one of my favorite SF authors since so much of his writing can be classified as New Age SF, as in Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock and Christopher Priest, as in a focus on inner space over outer space. As Brian Aldiss wrote in the book's Introduction: "The stories in this collection are meant, in their own way, to open gates to the mind." Open my mind and blow my mind, Brian! Special thanks to Goodreads friend Manny Rayner for bringing this outstanding SF collection to my attention. Rather than highlighting the better known of the British author's SF tales, stories like Man in His Time and Who Can Replace a Man?, I'll spotlight two pieces not nearly as well known as they should be. OUTSIDE In his novel Nonstop, Brian Aldiss puts his main character, a hobbit-size hunter and member of the Green tribe, through a series of discoveries, each one requiring he shed all previously held notions of who he is and his place in the world. We as readers are right there with pint-size Roy Complain every step of the way, sharing Roy's progressively broader and more complete comprehension of his own personhood, his environment and his mission. Aldiss' story Outside features a similar structure, only here we have one devastating revelation disclosed in the final scene. Although - and this is what makes Outside a fun read as well as a philosophical one - a handful of well-placed hints are sprinkled in along the way. Matter of fact, after you've read the story once, you'll want to go back and reread - the hints will pop out (drat! why didn't I catch that the first time?). The story begins thusly: "They never went out of the house." As we learn quickly, "they" number six - four men, two women: Harley, Calvin, Jagger, Pief, Dapple, May - and the house is a substantial building with living rooms, billiard room, bedrooms, kitchen, corridors and a small room with a shelf where all their needed supplies - food, clean clothes, clean bedding - are restocked every morning, an arrangement accepted, never questioned. One day, surprise, surprise, no supplies, not even food. Oh, well, they all decide to simply make due without; after all, they found a similar empty shelf some years back. Harley and Calvin walk off - the house has windows and doors but neither the windows nor doors have ever been opened; indeed, none of the six have ever been outside the house, at least according to memory. Outside. Outside was merely a vast abstraction, a great unknown, although Harley has a vague recollection of four bits of knowledge: 1) Earth was at war with Nitity; 2) the Nititians could assume the appearance of humans here on Earth; 3) Nittitians could mingle in human society; 4) Earth was incapable of viewing Nititian civilization from the inside. Inside. Outside. Baffling. What is really going on here? Like Harley, we as reader are left to wonder. Then one evening, perplexed beyond endurance, Harley decides to break routine and take action. We follow his every step, spooky Alfred Hitchcock music playing in the background, all leading up to . . . the stunning truth. SF at its finest. With this yarn, Brian Aldiss proves himself master of the craft in two ways: 1) the story's construction is sheer perfection, every single sentence charged with significance - creating mood, framing action, conveying characters' thoughts and emotions - all driving the tale to its rousing climax, and 2) there's a second, minor SF trope contained within the major trope. What are these SF tropes? For a reader to uncover. SWASTIKA! It's 1965 and our narrator, a journalist living in Belgium, a chap by the name of Brian, interviews the former Führer of Germany, 75-year-old Geoffrey Bungelvester. Oh, yes, in order to save his skin, good ol' what's his name had to take on an assumed name. After exchanging some pleasantries, as pleasant as it gets with the likes of Geoff, Brian asks if he had any regrets, to which Geoff looks off in the distance and answers wistfully that he should have stuck with landscape painting since he always had an eye for pretty fields, mountains and trees. After a deep breath (not a gasp as that might be taken for indiscreet), Brian asks if Geoff had any regrets regarding, well, military judgements? Geoff ask Brian, in turn, if he's being sarcastic. Brian assures him he most certainly is not. Then Geoff leans over the table, takes a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure nobody will overhear him and at this point we read: "You are Aryan, aren't you?" "I went to an English public school, if that's what you mean." "That's good enough for me. Very fine unrivaled disciplinary system! Well, I apologize, I though you were trying to get at me for attempting to apply a final solution to the Jewish problem." "It never entered my head, Geoff." "Very well, only I'm a little touchy on that score, you see. I've been very unfairly criticized there ever since the Third Reich collapsed in 1945. You see, here was a much deeper intention behind the extermination of the Jews; that was little but a warming-up exercise to get the machinery going. The ultimate target - the course on which I was intending to embark by 1950 at the latest, before I was so rudely interrupted - was the extermination of the Negro race." Did your jaw drop? The above is just for starters as it gets better and better. Considering unfolding world events between 1945 and 1965, Geoff declares psychological victory. And now with even greater and greater amounts of resource and money fueling war efforts across the globe . . . A Brian Aldiss tale not to be missed. British author Brian Aldiss, 1925 - 2017

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Absolutely first-class collection of short stories by Aldiss. My favourite, which I have read any number of times, is "Swastika!", in which a journalist interviews an elderly Adolf Hitler, living in retirement in Belgium under an assumed name. A couple of samples. Here's Hitler reminiscing about the invasion of Czechoslovakia:Beautiful city, Prague! The sun shining, the Wehrmacht in their best uniforms, the tanks rolling, everyone shouting 'Heil -' ... well, 'Heil Me', let's say, and the pretty Absolutely first-class collection of short stories by Aldiss. My favourite, which I have read any number of times, is "Swastika!", in which a journalist interviews an elderly Adolf Hitler, living in retirement in Belgium under an assumed name. A couple of samples. Here's Hitler reminiscing about the invasion of Czechoslovakia:Beautiful city, Prague! The sun shining, the Wehrmacht in their best uniforms, the tanks rolling, everyone shouting 'Heil -' ... well, 'Heil Me', let's say, and the pretty Czech girls hanging flowers round our necks...and here are his opinions on the US:Let's be fair to the Americans. I know as well as you do that their whole continent is overrun by a rabble of Slavs and Jews and Mexicans and Spaniards and the sweepings of Africa and Scandinavia, but fortunately there is a backbone of Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon military morale there too. They aren't all semi-Asiatic ghetto-infesting decadents like Roosevelt. I know a backstreet racially inferior lackey mentality has often prevailed in the past, but just recently a more upright no-nonsense element is coming to the fore and triumphing over the flabby democratic process. I'm extremely encouraged to see the vigorous uncompromising attitudes of American leaders like Reagan and Governor Wallace. President Nixon also has his better side.You can find the whole thing here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    1982 'Door Slams in Fourth World' The Fourth World is Europe, reduced to that status by Islamic attacks. There is even anthrax. The science fiction writers I've been reading lately come into two distinct groups, ones like Banks who is simply writing a rollicking good tale without being tied to our world in any way and the ones like Dick and Aldiss who are concerned with what will be, their 'what will happen?'s are always tied to a 'why might it?' I guess one could argue this is monkey on a typew 1982 'Door Slams in Fourth World' The Fourth World is Europe, reduced to that status by Islamic attacks. There is even anthrax. The science fiction writers I've been reading lately come into two distinct groups, ones like Banks who is simply writing a rollicking good tale without being tied to our world in any way and the ones like Dick and Aldiss who are concerned with what will be, their 'what will happen?'s are always tied to a 'why might it?' I guess one could argue this is monkey on a typewriter stuff: a gadzillion sci fi stories get written, some of them are going to attain the air of 'I told you so' as time separates the writer from his story. I guess you could. But some of these writers have themes to which they are committed and which we see unfolding one way or another before our eyes. PK Dick, certainly and I'd say, based on this one volume of short stories, Aldiss too. He, like Dick, sees a world which will be ruined by depletion, by science, by greed, by all the things that, fifty years later, are becoming more and more obvious. Like Dick, he tells us what that world will be like. It is ghastly and terrifying. These get a bit - modern? arty? - I'm not sure, but the earlier ones are just terrific and some of the later ones are well worth sticking with the book for.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    A real mixed bag of short stories most of which aren't terribly compelling. I sought out this book because I wanted to read "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" which is the short story which was used as the inspiration for the film AI. In that main interest I was thoroughly disappointed. This really provided no insight into the film, for which some people believe there were unanswered questions which I felt to be pretty straightforward, but rather focuses on a very small part of the film in a fairly A real mixed bag of short stories most of which aren't terribly compelling. I sought out this book because I wanted to read "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" which is the short story which was used as the inspiration for the film AI. In that main interest I was thoroughly disappointed. This really provided no insight into the film, for which some people believe there were unanswered questions which I felt to be pretty straightforward, but rather focuses on a very small part of the film in a fairly superficial way. A few of the players are there, those being David, Teddy, Monica and Henry but aside from that we don't get into anything beyond the home. Even Martin is not in this story and that's really where the dynamic of David and his family becomes interesting. Instead of an interesting tale of a grieving family and reluctantly lets David into their lives instead it's just a bit of a shocker story about a boy who we don't really know is a robot who's mother gives zero fucks about it. While David's feelings for Monica somewhat match how he feels in the film, with the main resemblance being the drawings he makes at one point, Monica's feelings for David aren't anywhere close. The rest of the stories vary from mildly interesting to plain boring. One particularly compelling one describes a man who returns from Mars a few minutes out of sync, living in the future. While this is fun to think about ultimately it's not terribly thoroughly considered and quickly leads to paradoxes. Another has a researcher mistakenly causing two sorts of AI holograms to talk to each other which causes him to inadvertently discover that all of humanity are basically artificially created and going through some kind of script. Fun idea but again not really explored too well. The title of the book is "Best SF Stories" suggesting these are Brian Aldiss's best offerings. If this is to be believed there aren't a ton of good ones. That said I am open to the possibility that the title may simply have been chosen to sell books and that these might not truly be the best of the best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Midu Hadi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Best SF Stories by Brian W. Aldiss –An Anthology that will force you to think! Who Can Replace a Man? As the human civilization collapses around them, the robots try to race their way to freedom. Read to find out, if they succeed! Not for an Age Get a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in the past. Like literally! A quote that stayed with me: Psyclops A father reaches across the boundaries of space and time to impart wisdom to his newborn kid. Outside Four people are trapped in a house. The Best SF Stories by Brian W. Aldiss –An Anthology that will force you to think! Who Can Replace a Man? As the human civilization collapses around them, the robots try to race their way to freedom. Read to find out, if they succeed! Not for an Age Get a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in the past. Like literally! A quote that stayed with me: Psyclops A father reaches across the boundaries of space and time to impart wisdom to his newborn kid. Outside Four people are trapped in a house. Or are they? Dumb Show A sort of apocalypse is caused by the use of sound as a weapon. The New Father Christmas You’d better hope the new Father Christmas doesn’t pay you a visit! Ahead The human race is drafted by another superior race to help the Failed Men from becoming extinct. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. At other times, it can turn you into a nervous wreck! An excerpt that I loved: Surrey was silent a moment, surprised to hear pride in his own voice. Pride left, after that experience! Yet there was no pride in him; it was just the voice running in an old channel, the naked soul crouching in an ancient husk of character. A new word learned and savored: Poor Little Warrior! A hunter may hunt as many animals (dinosaurs in this case) and yet the act won’t give any meaning to their otherwise inane life. Another beautiful word: And a quote that I think all hunters should be made to read: Those century-old lights, dim and sacred, go out with no indecision. These cloisters are closed till Judgment Day. Your reflection is torn and bloodied from them for ever. Over their ravaged panes nictitating membranes slide slowly upwards, like dirty sheets covering a cadaver. The jaw continues to munch slowly, as slowly the head sinks down. Slowly, a squeeze of cold reptile blood toothpastes down the wrinkled flank of one cheek. Everything is slow, a creepy Secondary Era slowness like the drip of water, and you know that if you had been in charge of creation you would have found some medium less heartbreaking than Time to stage it all in. Man on Bridge Those more suited to cerebral pursuits have formed a separate group called the Cs. But nothing is ever enough for man and this time, he wants to create geniuses without pesky notions, such as fear and morality to stop them. The Impossible Star A murder takes place on board a spaceship while it is trying to escape the gravitational pull of the Impossible star. Basis for Negotiation Britain declares neutrality in the American-Chinese war, which leads to some of its own citizens rebelling against it. The twist at the end was a lot of fun! Old Hundredth Humans have vacated the Earth and sentient animal-like beings populate it now. This is the story about one of them. I loved two things about it: 1. I started with a presumption that I was reading about a human. I wasn’t! This became clear in a later reveal. 2. The animals could choose their moment of death as they saw fit. When they did die, they turned into a column –a musicolumn to be exact — that would produce music when a living organism was in the vicinity. A Kind of Artistry A new living and sentient entity called the Cliff has been born from a non-living asteroid. The story is about a human’s attempt to contact it and bring back a sample. What I loved about this story is how it challenged another one of my presumptions. If Man will change the world, shouldn’t the world change him too? Man in his Time A man becomes out of sync with time on Earth after spending some time in space. While he treats his life like a science experiment, it is especially hard on his loved ones. Kind of reminded me of the whole science has consequences mindset that Mary Shelley was in when she wrote Frankenstein. While I wasn’t blown away by this anthology, it has given me ideas for future stories, things to think about, and challenged some of my previously conceived notions. What else should I expect from a good book? Image Also reviewed at: BL BS WP LI ME BO FB Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 03, 2017.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Costa

    2.5 I get the technological dystopian take, the criticism of the asphyxiating bureaucracy and the ecological stance but honestly apart from 2 or 3 really great stories here, most of this did not click with me. I felt at times that the concept of parallel realities was pushed beyond its limits and nothing was familiar or made sense. Indeed I did wonder here and then whilst reading what kind of psychadelic vapes Aldiss was into...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bill FromPA

    Outside (1955) – A group of humans infiltrated by one or more aliens. The Failed Men (1956) – Time travel as humanitarian mission to the future; enigma of communication. All the World's Tears (1957) – Dying Earth – dying passion (Liebestod) vs. living logic Poor Little Warrior! (1958) – Brontosaurus hunt; satirical; elementary Wakespeak Who Can Replace a Man? (1958) – Machines need to go it alone Man on Bridge (1964) – After seaparating themselves from the rest of the population, the “Cerebral’s” ref Outside (1955) – A group of humans infiltrated by one or more aliens. The Failed Men (1956) – Time travel as humanitarian mission to the future; enigma of communication. All the World's Tears (1957) – Dying Earth – dying passion (Liebestod) vs. living logic Poor Little Warrior! (1958) – Brontosaurus hunt; satirical; elementary Wakespeak Who Can Replace a Man? (1958) – Machines need to go it alone Man on Bridge (1964) – After seaparating themselves from the rest of the population, the “Cerebral’s” refuges have been turned into concentration camps by the militant non-C population (Galt’s Gulch?). The story concerns the subject of a radical brain, Adam X, surgery performed by a C under the watchful eye of the camp commander. The Girl and the Robot with Flowers (1965) – Metafiction. A non-SF story about the conception of an SF story. The Saliva Tree (1965) – The longest story, and the best so far. Set in later Victorian England, with an explicit nod to H. G. Wells, a first contact story. Invisible aliens infest a farm after landing in its pond; echoes of “The Colour Out of Space”, “The Damned Thing”, and The War of the Worlds. Told in a pseudo-Victorian manner: straightforward action and clear descriptive prose. Man in His Time (1965) – An astronaut returns from Mars perceiving time over 3 minutes ahead of everyone on Earth. It seems like more could be done with this concept, but the story seems a bit of an inconclusive mess. Heresies of the Huge God (1966) – A religious tract written 1000 years after a vast but torpid creature lands on earth, creating apocalyptic conditions. A satire on religious belief in the face of the scientfically inexplicable. Confluence (1967) – A supposed glossary of words from the language of a vastly older alien race – in part an indirect description of alien life, and in part The Meaning of Liff-type humor. Working in the Spaceship Yards (1969) – Androids are second class citizens among the workers – satire of racial prejudice. Super-Toys Last All Summer Long (1969) – A mother, her son, and his AI teddy bear interact and avoid interaction while the father touts the newly commoditized frontiers of AI to his corporate board. Sober Noises of Morning in a Marginal Land (1971) – A prisoner is tortured by the Interrogator; the prisoner attempts to escape and things are revealed to be other than they seem(view spoiler)[: the imprisonment and torture are paid for by the prisoner and undertaken voluntarily (hide spoiler)] . A deeper point about society beyond the simple undercutting of expectations is obviously intended, but unclear. The Dark Soul of the Night (1976) – The narrator leads a stranded party across the surface of an inhospitable planet. (view spoiler)[Indications are he is mentally reliving the trauma of survival after the party’s rescue. (hide spoiler)] Appearance of Life (1976) – A vast structure created by a vanished alien race is repurposed as a galactic museum. The setting is nicely established, but the story attempts to make a point about human relationships using an advanced technology (but one long obsolete at the time the story is set). The human poignancy gets kind of lost in the layers of briefly sketched future history. Last Orders (1976) – A Captain attempts to rescue two barflies from a doomed Earth. A bit silly. Door Slams in Fourth World (1982) – The SF idea: Israel and Europe have been annihilated by an Islamic attack combining nuclear, chemical, and biological WMD. Europe is being rebuilt as a kind of theme park by the Chinese with Saudi funds. The story is told from the POV of an unfaithful American-Israeli wife in a broken marriage while on vacation in Europe (the “Fourth World”). Even though the trauma that broke the marriage is loosely related to the SF element, it seems ultimately superfluous to the complicated relationships in the story. It comes across as a rather lame attempt to write “grown up” SF with emotional issues at the story’s center. The Gods in Flight (1984) – Much better than the previous story, the naïve and simplified POV, a child on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, allows the SF concept, worldwide nuclear devastation, to occupy the center of the story while remaining peripheral to the narrator’s sensibility. The POV also helps carry the otherwise unlikely ending. My Country 'Tis Not Only of Thee (1987) – The US re-fights the Vietnam War in Britain. The first pages leave the setting ambiguous – the reader is obviously meant to think the story is set in southeast Asia. Rather than letting the parallels speak for themselves, Aldiss at several points rather heavy-handedly drives home the analogy. Echoes of “The Battle of Dorking” and other late 19th and early 20th century British invasion literature.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    2 ⭐ Outside 1955 4 ⭐ The Failed Men 1956 Far in the future, humans had turned into "failed men." "The Failed Men had no real hands. From the wrist grew five long and prehensile fingers, and the middle digit touched the ground lightly when they walked, for their spines curved in an arc and their heads were thrust far forward. To counter this, their skulls had elongated into boat shapes, scaphocephalic fashion. They had no eyebrows, nor indeed a brow at all, nor any hair at all, although the pores of 2 ⭐ Outside 1955 4 ⭐ The Failed Men 1956 Far in the future, humans had turned into "failed men." "The Failed Men had no real hands. From the wrist grew five long and prehensile fingers, and the middle digit touched the ground lightly when they walked, for their spines curved in an arc and their heads were thrust far forward. To counter this, their skulls had elongated into boat shapes, scaphocephalic fashion. They had no eyebrows, nor indeed a brow at all, nor any hair at all, although the pores of their skin stood out flakily, giving them a fluffy did a distance." And... " 'The failed men could only think in abstractions,' he said. 'Perhaps that was a factor involved in their failure -- I don't know. You see, language is the most intrinsic product of any culture; you can't comprehend the language till you've understood the culture -- and how do you understand the culture till you know it's language?' " 4 ⭐ All the World's Tears 1957 A story for misanthropists "Automatic screens came up, covering the windows, SmithLau moved into the presence of other humans. He could only see and be seen via telescreens. Such was the hatred ( equals fear ) man bore for his fellow man, he could not tolerate their regarding him direct." 4 ⭐ Poor Little Warrior! 1958 Oh ho ho ho, this was wonderful! A time travel agency lets rich pecker heads go back to the Jurassic and shoot a dinosaur. This human goes back to murder a brontosaurus, but good old karma rears its head. "So you pause and, as you pause, something lands socko on your back, pitching you face forward into tasty mud. You struggle and scream as lobster claws tear at your neck and throat. You try to pick up the rifle but cannot, so in agony you roll over, and next second the crab-thing is greedying it on your chest. You wrench at its shell, but it giggles and pecks your fingers off. You forgot when you killed the bronto that its parasites would leave it, and that to a little shrimp like you they would be a deal more dangerous than their host." 3 ⭐ Who Can Replace a Man? 1958 Too anthologized 1 ⭐ Man on Bridge 1964 2 ⭐ The Saliva Tree 1965 Some really bizarre happenings in this story. I'm getting disillusioned with this author. 1 ⭐ Man in His Time 1965 Ugh. Mansplaining story. 2 ⭐ Heresies of the Huge God 1966 1⭐ Confluence 1967 And then I gave up, because I lost my liking of this author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I was brought to this thanks to an essay by Neil Gaiman about one of Aldiss' novels. I was already familiar with him because of "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" (the basis for Stephen Spielberg's A.I., which I quite like though I know I'm in the minority), which I personally thought was great on the idea end of things but somewhat lacking in execution. Some of Aldiss' stories suffer from the same problem (particularly, somewhat wooden writing and simplistic characterization), which is a shame be I was brought to this thanks to an essay by Neil Gaiman about one of Aldiss' novels. I was already familiar with him because of "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" (the basis for Stephen Spielberg's A.I., which I quite like though I know I'm in the minority), which I personally thought was great on the idea end of things but somewhat lacking in execution. Some of Aldiss' stories suffer from the same problem (particularly, somewhat wooden writing and simplistic characterization), which is a shame because his premises are almost without fail excellent and intriguing, if not always perfectly explained. Other stories, however, are great, and there are some real standouts with passages of surprisingly lyrical writing, biting humor, or other fun surprises. So, Aldiss isn't in my top 5 SF writers but probably top 50 and this is definitely a solid collection with lots of thought-provoking pictures of where humanity might be headed or how we would fare in different situations. I'm definitely adding more of his work to my to-read list. Favorite stories: "The Saliva Tree" wonderful, chilling homage to H.G. Wells "Who Can Replace a Man?" a brilliant and surprisingly funny story about the consequences of automation. "Confluence" basically a dictionary of hard-to-translate terms from an alien language, which was a really cool idea I'd never seen before. Some of them are just plain bizarre, but on the whole it's a really interesting way to do world-building in little pieces, and some of the entries are very funny. I think a lot of these terms would actually be really useful to have in English. "My Country 'Tis Not Only of Thee" the parallels to history here are fascinating "Man In His Time" possibly a bit heavy on theory for some, but I thought this was great. "An Appearance of Life" really interesting story about using technology to memorialize people and events, especially potent in our modern age of social media. Honorable mention to "Supertoys" for being my first Aldiss story and for inspiring A.I., though it doesn't do nearly enough with its premise in my opinion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Simon Lee Brotherton

    Aldiss is perhaps best known to the casual observer as the author of the short story that formed the basis of Spielberg's AI. It's included here, but is little more than an aside. What takes centre stage is the classic invasion yarn the Saliva Tree; along with several great tales filled with wry and chillingly accurate socio-political observations. It's interesting to see this coming to the fore as the stories go on and the author gets older and wiser. Aldiss is perhaps best known to the casual observer as the author of the short story that formed the basis of Spielberg's AI. It's included here, but is little more than an aside. What takes centre stage is the classic invasion yarn the Saliva Tree; along with several great tales filled with wry and chillingly accurate socio-political observations. It's interesting to see this coming to the fore as the stories go on and the author gets older and wiser.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Louischa

    Difficult and boring read. I had to push myself to finish it. The main problem is, you don't know what to expect at the beginning of every short story, so there are multiple things that may be consistent with what is written. When reading "Man in his time", I had 3-4 various interpretations of what I was reading on the first page, and the correct one (revealed only later) was not even one of them. Another problem: at times, the usual english grammar/vocabulary is altered to refer to the new engl Difficult and boring read. I had to push myself to finish it. The main problem is, you don't know what to expect at the beginning of every short story, so there are multiple things that may be consistent with what is written. When reading "Man in his time", I had 3-4 various interpretations of what I was reading on the first page, and the correct one (revealed only later) was not even one of them. Another problem: at times, the usual english grammar/vocabulary is altered to refer to the new english spoken in these imaginary worlds, usually grim dystopias. This contributes to the atmosphere, but decreases readability. And at last, I have to admit that I did not get the point of several of these stories - despite the fact that there seemed to be a point. Perhaps I am not smart enough to understand what the author meant? One of the short stories in the collection is so bad that it makes you cynical about the title ("Best" stories?) of the collection. Most stories are just of atmosphere, i.e. they introduce to another world but their plot is quasi non-existent. I am not sure how to consider this collection - sometimes I feel that the author has written poetry, and that the absence of plots is a minor problem, and sometimes I just feel that the reward to the reader is not proportional to the effort reading this takes. Two things are certain, though: some of the worlds described in this collection are truly memorable, and Brian Aldiss has a hell of an imagination. One star, though, because I had such trouble finishing this book, and I have read elsewhere sci-fi short stories far more enjoyable than this (try Richard Matheson, for instance).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Gasques

    Trinta anos da obra do autor britânico são cobertos pela antologia Man in his time: the best science fiction stories of Brian W. Aldiss, que reúne 22 contos escolhidos pelo próprio escritor. A seleção cobre vários temas visitados por Aldiss, da ciência presente ao futuro, distopias, alienígenas e até um toque de humor. A qualidade das tramas é desigual, a começar de Super-toys las all summer long, conto que Stanley Kubrick programou fazer mas foi executado por Steven Spielberg. O filme Inteligênc Trinta anos da obra do autor britânico são cobertos pela antologia Man in his time: the best science fiction stories of Brian W. Aldiss, que reúne 22 contos escolhidos pelo próprio escritor. A seleção cobre vários temas visitados por Aldiss, da ciência presente ao futuro, distopias, alienígenas e até um toque de humor. A qualidade das tramas é desigual, a começar de Super-toys las all summer long, conto que Stanley Kubrick programou fazer mas foi executado por Steven Spielberg. O filme Inteligência artificial é melhor do que o texto. Entre outras narrativas, gostei de All the World's Tears, mas minha história preferida nessa antologia é Last orders. Divertidíssimo, o conto acompanha um policial encarregado de evacuar uma cidade - Londres? - diante da iminência do fim do planeta Terra, que será atingida por um fragmento desprendido da Lua. Encontra um casal bebendo tranquilamente em um bar, e a urgente retirada é a todo momento adiada em um diálogo intercalado por "mais uma dose". Curiosamente, Arthur Dent e o alienígena Ford Prefect, de Guia do mochileiro das galáxias, dedicam os últimos minutos de sua permanência na Terra - antes de sua destruição - em um pub. A famosa obra de Douglas Adams foi veiculada primeiro como série transmitida pela rádio BBC 4, em 1978. No ano seguinte, foi publicada como livro, transformado em filme em 2005. O conto Last orders foi publicado em 1977. Minha opção por conhecer a antologia por audiolivro não foi muito boa: a dicção, clareza, entonação e ritmo do narrador Arthur Blake não são dos melhores. Há suspiros no meio da leitura, vazamento de ruídos de páginas viradas e até de Blake engolindo.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    In honesty, I had not heard of Aldiss before picking up this book. My lovely significant other had brought the book home is it had the short story the 'interesting' A.I. movie was based on (the story Super-toys Last all Summer Long was much better than the film) The other stand out story (the namesake of the piece) Man in His Time, combines humor technology and prophetic caution together into a witty tale. Unfortunately the rest of the stories blur together, some had promise, but interesting plotl In honesty, I had not heard of Aldiss before picking up this book. My lovely significant other had brought the book home is it had the short story the 'interesting' A.I. movie was based on (the story Super-toys Last all Summer Long was much better than the film) The other stand out story (the namesake of the piece) Man in His Time, combines humor technology and prophetic caution together into a witty tale. Unfortunately the rest of the stories blur together, some had promise, but interesting plotlines became lost behind dithering dialogue and comic yet difficult to like characters. The Saliva Tree, almost Novella length had stronger characters, but by the end of its 60 odd pages I realized I had lost track of what was happening. To Summarize - read the short stories: Super Toys Last All Summer Long and Man in His Time and you would have got the best from this collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

    Does alright when there's an actual story to tell. Only two were standouts: "Man In His Time" (though I'm not quite sure I believe in all of it--or that it would work, or that way) and especially "Girl and Robot With Flowers"--very original (though not really science fiction), and a nice message; hard to think somebody with such an otherwise effete and jaded style/outlook could come up with that. The rest (for the most part) is cutesy-wootsy-rootsy-tootsy Joycean wordplay, or artsy-fartsy dated Does alright when there's an actual story to tell. Only two were standouts: "Man In His Time" (though I'm not quite sure I believe in all of it--or that it would work, or that way) and especially "Girl and Robot With Flowers"--very original (though not really science fiction), and a nice message; hard to think somebody with such an otherwise effete and jaded style/outlook could come up with that. The rest (for the most part) is cutesy-wootsy-rootsy-tootsy Joycean wordplay, or artsy-fartsy dated New Wave crap--or smarmy shit like "Swastika" and "Another Little Boy." The farther along in the book we got, the more impenetrable it became. "Judas Danced" and "Still Trajectories" he might as well have written in Basque (and maybe he did).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott Golden

    Very good collection from a very good science fiction writer. As a "best of" it suffers, perhaps, from the desire to include stories ranging across Aldiss's entire career -- some of his early stories are a bit pedestrian, while a few of the later ones are didactic and hectoring -- in the main, this serves as a more than adequate introduction to this important writer's work. Very good collection from a very good science fiction writer. As a "best of" it suffers, perhaps, from the desire to include stories ranging across Aldiss's entire career -- some of his early stories are a bit pedestrian, while a few of the later ones are didactic and hectoring -- in the main, this serves as a more than adequate introduction to this important writer's work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Taylor

    Actually, my 5 star rating is for the short story "man in his time" which is a superb example of the science fiction of inner rather than outer space that I read many years ago. The use of a dislocation in time as a concrete externalisation of the psychology of emotional and social alienation has not been bettered. Actually, my 5 star rating is for the short story "man in his time" which is a superb example of the science fiction of inner rather than outer space that I read many years ago. The use of a dislocation in time as a concrete externalisation of the psychology of emotional and social alienation has not been bettered.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jon Norimann

    A collection of good, creative short stories. And I am usually not a big fan of such collections.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Strange, just: strange.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sci-fi master Brian Aldiss' award-winning story read by Jamie Glover Broadcast on: BBC Radio 7, 12:30am Monday 14th December 2009 . Sci-fi master Brian Aldiss' award-winning story read by Jamie Glover Broadcast on: BBC Radio 7, 12:30am Monday 14th December 2009 .

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Made me want to read more Brian W. Aldiss.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Nice collection of British science fiction writer Aldiss best short stories.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Damien Ryan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lies Bonte

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Kanás

  25. 4 out of 5

    StevenF

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grant F

  27. 4 out of 5

    The Real Fred Bloggs

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ryleigh McClure

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    Read title story, Nebula runner up.

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