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When the Feast is Finished - a eulogy to my wife
Brian Aldiss Writer
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My wife, Margaret, became ill. And whereas she had tended my garden on Boar's Hill. Boar's Hill was outside Oxford.

But eventually, Margaret said to me, 'You know, I'm tired of having to get into a car whenever I want to do the shopping. I want to go back to a town'. Perfectly reasonable argument. So, back to the town we came. And I then realized she was not particularly well, and so I was in haste to buy a house. And in fact, I bought this house in which we are now talking, that is to say, in Headington, one of the elegant suburbs of Oxford.

Here Margaret stayed and alas, here Margaret died.

And I wrote a book in her memory, called When the Feast is Finished. It's a quote from there and it starts, 'But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire, there falls thy shadow, Sonara. The night is thine, and I am desolate and sick of an old passion, yea, all the time, because the night is thine'.

And that was how I felt about the death of Margaret.

However, life goes on and so does storytelling. And, well, she must be dead now for some years.

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: garden, wife, daughter, house, death, eulogy

Duration: 2 minutes, 39 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015