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Schooldays in wartime


My friend Eddie Breeze
Brian Aldiss Writer
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[Q] Were you very fond of him – Eddie?

Oh yes. We got on fine - great jokes, great fun. Yes, and since most of the chaps, actually, in that… I suppose platoon would be the word – in the platoon I was being trained, most of them were pretty thick. We'd been to a public school, and whatever else it had done to us, it had made us pretty well alert.

And for instance, there was one guy who had decided he would become friendly with the lance-corporal and the corporal and the sergeant who were in charge of our platoon, thinking that this would get him off lightly. And so – they were bastards actually, they were horrible. That was the Royal Norfolk.

And these guys said, 'Oh yes, come on, come on, Derek, come with us!' And so they took him out and they got him absolutely smashed. And I can remember him. They delivered him at the top of the stairs and then let him drop. And he fell on the stone and spewed all over himself, and that was the way they treated you if you tried to be friendly. And Eddie and I would have none of that. We were used to wickedness after years in a public school. And so, poor old Eddie, he got killed in Italy, but I survived Burma.

And then… then came a whole hiatus.

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017) was an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. He was educated at Framlingham College, Suffolk, and West Buckland School, Devon, and served in the Royal Signals between 1943-1947. After leaving the army, Aldiss worked as a bookseller in Oxford, an experience which provided the setting for his first book, 'The Brightfount Diaries' (1955). His first science fiction novel, 'Non-Stop', was published in 1958 while he was working as literary editor of the 'Oxford Mail'. His many prize-winning science fiction titles include 'Hothouse' (1962), which won the Hugo Award, 'The Saliva Tree' (1966), which was awarded the Nebula, and 'Helliconia Spring' (1982), which won both the British Science Fiction Association Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award. Several of his books have been adapted for the cinema. His story, 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long', was adapted and released as the film 'AI' in 2001. His book 'Jocasta' (2005), is a reworking of Sophocles' classic Theban plays, 'Oedipus Rex' and 'Antigone'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Eddie Breeze

Duration: 1 minute, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015