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The black olives of Yugoslavia
Brian Aldiss Writer
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We had our chicken and eventually we went back to Trieste, and then back to England. And I had in my mind those black olives, and I thought, oh, I would love to be in Yugoslavia.

The political situation there was such that, although it was a communist state under President Tito, he had evidently had some difference with... who was… who was the boss of the Soviet Union?

[Q] Khrushchev?

Khrushchev, was it Khrushchev? Well, whoever it was, they had fallen out. But nevertheless, the Soviet Union would, to a certain extent, finance Yugoslavia because otherwise, they were afraid it would turn capitalist. However, the capitalists decided that if they weren't careful, Tito might become more communist, so they also supplied money to Tito. And so it was actually, cash-wise, quite a sensible place. And Tito, I think... well, I had an affection for Tito probably totally misguided, but such is life. And, I bought myself a second-hand Land Rover, and I was off to Yugoslavia.

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: Yugoslavia, Josip BrozTito, Nikita Khrushchev

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015