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Forced to move into digs

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Brian Aldiss Writer
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The situation was this at the time: that after all, the invading Japanese had laid waste all that great coastline of Asia, killing off many Chinese men and armies. The women had had to flee from all kinds of horrible adversity and had come down, for safety, to Hong Kong and elsewhere. It was full of women who had had to flee from their homes.

There was no industry worth speaking of in Hong Kong. The only way they could keep body and soul together was by use of the body, and the charges were very reasonable. We had come to an economic agreement that it was... was it four bucks... whatever a buck was, something like that. But occasionally... did I tell you this? The American fleet would come in... and moor up in Hong Kong, and instantly, the women, like a flock of birds, would go down to accommodate the American ship. And we found there they charged, and indeed got, twice as much as they got from the British. I mean, there is an example of economics working. Very, very good. Happy days!

So then I came back to England and it was a lot more boring, let me tell you, and all kinds of dreadful respectability went on.

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: Hong Kong

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015