The Complete Short Stories: The 1960s

The Complete Short Stories: The 1960s
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Following on from the 1950s collection, this is the second collection of Brian Aldiss’ short stories, taken from the 1960s. A must-have for collectors. Part two of four.This collection gathers together, for the very first time, Brian Aldiss’ complete catalogue of short stories from the 1960s, in four parts.Taken from diverse and often rare sources, the works in this collection chart the blossoming career of one of Britain’s most beloved authors. From stories of discordant astronauts, approaching a star-swallowing vortex, to a mother and son, in danger of becoming ever younger when they are captured by an alien race and taken to a world where time runs backward, this book proves once again that Aldiss’ gifted prose and unparalleled imagination never fail to challenge and delight.The four books of the 1960s short story collection are must-have volumes for all Aldiss fans, and an excellent introduction to the work of a true master.THE BRIAN ALDISS COLLECTION INCLUDES OVER 50 BOOKS AND SPANS THE AUTHOR’S ENTIRE CAREER, FROM HIS DEBUT IN 1955 TO HIS MORE RECENT WORK.


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HarperVoyager an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF

First published in Great Britain by HarperVoyager 2015

Stories from this collection have previously appeared in the following publications:

The Book of Brian Aldiss, Science Fantasy (1963), Daily Express Science Annual (1963), Starswarm, New Worlds Science Fiction (1964), Galaxy (1964), Science Fantasy (1964).

Copyright © Brian Aldiss 2015

Cover illustration © Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2015

Brian Aldiss asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright-Space-After Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780007482290

Ebook Edition © September 2015 ISBN: 9780007586394 Version: 2015-07-31



Title Page



1 Comic Inferno

2 The Impossible Star

3 In the Arena

4 The International Smile

5 Sector Violet

6 Skeleton Crew

7 The Thing Under the Glacier

8 Counter-Feat

9 Jungle Substitute

10 Lazarus

11 Man on Bridge

12 Never Let Go Of My Hand!

13 No Moon Tonight!

14 One-Way Strait

15 Pink Plastic Gods

16 Unauthorised Persons

About the Author

Also by Brian Aldiss

About the Publisher


Both blessings or curses can fall upon us in early childhood, but in many cases there may exist, underlying such fortunes or misfortunes, a submerged vein of temperament. That vein may continue throughout life, guiding our fortunes.

Indeed, we may encounter loving women who read – or claim to read – that characteristic in our eyes.

In any case, it seems I was writing short stories at the age of three. My mother was so delighted by this feat that she preserved my brief tales by folding them into covers cut from an unused roll of wallpaper. So I was frequently told. Of course, old Father Time, of bad reputation, did away with those tales many years ago.

Nevertheless, we may regard such infant tales as products of my temperament, as an urge to tell a story, perhaps a wish to display or at least ornament a truth or a falsity. In any case, accidents would befall my young self which served to fortify – indeed almost destroy – this aspect of my temperament. Traces of it can be found in several of my stories including, most markedly ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’.

My mother, May Wilson, married to become May Aldiss, gave birth to her first baby, a daughter. Alas, the child was stillborn, and deep was my mother’s sorrow regarding this poor dead offspring.

The causes for this disaster? My father in World War I had been injured in the Dardanelles, to spend the rest of the conflict in a hospital in Cairo. Could that have had its effect on the pregnancy? It certainly had an effect on my future father’s temper.

Five years after the birth of this dead sister came my birth – in a shower of tears, because a daughter was what was hoped for. But there I was, unwanted but determined to make the best of things.

Another five years passed. Once more my mother became pregnant. Ah, but this time I was decidedly in the way, for I had contracted whooping cough. Just supposing, if I gave this vile disease to my dear new baby sister …!

My parents decided they had to get rid of me. One of the assistants in Father’s shop drove me the sixty miles from East Dereham, Norfolk, to Peterborough, Northants. From virtually a village to a vivid and busy city.

Thus, fate showed its hand. Well, both hands.

The Peterborough Wilsons, my mother’s family, were different company from the Aldisses. Wilsons were genial and sociable and kind to little boys. Especially sick little boys; such attributes applied most liberally to my Uncle Bert. He took charge of me. He was an architect and well-occupied, but he cared.

Uncle Bert took me with him to the great arena of the Fens; he was involved in their drainage. So there I stood among all that alien greenery, which stretched to the far horizons. And I thought about it. Indeed, I marvelled.

Uncle Bert took me to the railway station, when the great LNER locomotive flier rocketed through on its journey from London to Edinburgh, shaking the entire edifice, us included, as it hammered past. Wonderful!

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