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Born in a shower of tears

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My secret romance
Brian Aldiss Writer
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So that was the end of that romance.

But it was an early romance and after that… up Norwich Street. Norwich Street was a shopping street, up which HH Aldiss' Outfitters looked. And up there was Lamberts.

Now, were Lamberts furnishers? I believe they were. And my family was friendly with them, and there weren't many people with whom my family were friendly, but they were friendly with that particular shop.

And there was... was her name Sheila? Oh, she was wonderful! She was wonderful. And they had a little stable at the back where things were delivered, and we would go… get into the stable and check each other over, to see what the sexual differences were. And I was determined, too, that I would marry her because, well for one thing she didn't throw up and also, she would perform. Her father would put her on the stage once a year and she would sing, 'Today I feel so happy, so happy, so happy. Today I feel so happy, I don't know why I am'. I knew why she was happy, because I'd been feeling her that very afternoon.

So, the secret life that went on was one aspect of that particular imperilled childhood, because there was a black side to all this, not a back side, a black side. 

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: romance, stables, childhood, family

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015