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Encountering TS Eliot

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My journals in the Bodleian Library
Brian Aldiss Writer
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And somewhere along the line... I must tell you this... somewhere along the line, I started to keep a journal, and that's what the journal looked like. It was hard bound – this is A4, isn't it? And it has illustrations in it, it's all handwritten, and it's a record of my life and the life around me and what goes on.

And this is Volume 79. So when I finish this, it will be volume 80. And just fancy – 80 of these volumes... it's about that much book space... and the Bodleian wants it.

The Bodleian are being very nice to me, because, apparently, I can only suppose there's a shortage of people doing such things. Anyhow, there it is, with everything in, everything – all that I see from my narrow perspective goes into this journal.

And it's one consolation to think that when I'm dead and gone, this thing will still exist as a kind of phantom life.

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: Bodleian Library

Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015