Supertoys Trilogy

Supertoys Trilogy
О книге

For the first time ever all three Suptertoys stories are collected in one essential volume.Featuring one of Brian Aldiss’ most renowned works, ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’, which was adapted into the 2001 film ‘A.I.’ directed by Steven Spielberg.David is just a little boy, a little boy who loves his mother and his teddy bear. David wants to make his mother happy, and tell her he loves her, but can't quite seem to find the words.His verbal communication centre is giving him trouble again. He may have to go back to the factory.With a brand new introduction from Brian Aldiss, ‘The Supertoys Trilogy’ is essential reading for all Science Fiction fans. Also includes ‘Supertoys When Winter Comes’ and ‘Supertoys in Other Seasons’.


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Supertoys Trilogy


The sound of that title, ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’, is, on the face of it, pleasant and soothing. Yet there is sorrow in the package, for summer is followed by the frosts of autumn – sorrow, and the kinds of things that may afflict us all. Of course, we know that summer does not last forever. So what else will this story tell us? Well, of course it is the story of an artificial boy who is programmed to believe himself to be human. The tender tale also tells us about over-population, and regulation, and the progress of technology.

After it was first published, in 1969, Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a film of it, and so for a year or so a limousine would come to my house in the morning and take me to the Kubrick fortress just outside St Alban’s.

We worked away but got nowhere. Kubrick sacked me, and turned his back on me (a gesture I found he had practiced on others). Then, sadly, he died, and in the end, Stephen Spielberg took over the completion of a film by now called A.I.

Spielberg is a brilliant film director, from his first movie, Duel, onwards to the recent Lincoln. Spielberg wrote to me saying he wanted my permission to use one sentence of a letter I had written him. Around this time I now wrote the other two ‘Supertoys’ stories, and took care to use in one the sentence Spielberg had requested.

He paid me, paid me generously and without quibble. He said he would shortly be staying at the Ritz in London and invited me to have tea with him. That treat did not materialise, but the vital sentence he wanted is transformed in the final A.I. into a telling visual sequence where my small boy ventures into a factory and finds there, to his shock, a production line of bodies much resembling his own.

The flooding of New York in the movie is well enough as spectacle, but the poor animated lad’s fate and failure could have attended better to our sensibilities, as I would guess Spielberg understood.


Title Page


Supertoys Last All Summer Long

Supertoys When Winter Comes

Supertoys in Other Seasons

About the Author

Also by Brian Aldiss


About the Publisher

In Mrs Swinton’s garden, it was always summer. The lovely almond trees stood about it in perpetual leaf. Monica Swinton plucked a saffron-coloured rose and showed it to David.

‘Isn’t it lovely?’ she said.

David looked up at her and grinned without replying. Seizing the flower, he ran with it across the lawn and disappeared behind the kennel where the mowervator crouched, ready to cut or sweep or roll when the moment dictated. She stood alone on her impeccable plastic gravel path.

She had tried to love him.

When she made up her mind to follow the boy, she found him in the courtyard floating the rose in his paddling pool. He stood in the pool engrossed, still wearing his sandals.

‘David, darling, do you have to be so awful? Come in at once and change your shoes and socks.’

He went with her without protest, his dark head bobbing at the level of her waist. At the age of five, he showed no fear of the ultra-sonic dryer in the kitchen. But before his mother could reach for a pair of slippers, he wriggled away and was gone into the silence of the house.

He would probably be looking for Teddy.

Monica Swinton, twenty-nine, of graceful shape and lambent eye, went and sat in her living-room arranging her limbs with taste. She began by sitting and thinking; soon she was just sitting. Time waited on her shoulder with the manic sloth it reserves for children, the insane and wives whose husbands are away improving the world. Almost by reflex, she reached out and changed the wavelength of her windows. The garden faded; in its place, the city centre rose by her left hand, full of crowding people, blow-boats, and buildings – but she kept the sound down. She remained alone. An overcrowded world is the ideal place in which to be lonely.

The directors of Synthank were eating an enormous luncheon to celebrate the launching of their new product. Some of them wore plastic face-masks popular at the time. All were elegantly slender, despite the rich food and drink they were putting away. Their wives were elegantly slender, despite the food and drink they too were putting away. An earlier and less sophisticated generation would have regarded them as beautiful people, apart from their eyes. Their eyes were hard and calculating.

Henry Swinton, Managing Director of Synthank, was about to make a speech.

‘I’m sorry your wife couldn’t be with us to hear you,’ his neighbour said.

‘Monica prefers to stay at home thinking beautiful thoughts,’ said Swinton, maintaining a smile.

‘One would expect such a beautiful woman to have beautiful thoughts,’ said the neighbour.

Take your mind off my wife, you bastard, thought Swinton, still smiling.

He rose to make his speech amid applause.

After a couple of jokes, he said, ‘Today marks a real breakthrough for the company. It is now almost ten years since we put our first synthetic life-forms on the world market. You all know what a success they have been, particularly the miniature dinosaurs. But none of them had intelligence.

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