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I’m a sort of artist


Science fiction writers can be perceptive
Brian Aldiss Writer
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This is the recent re-print of the third volume of Helliconia – Helliconia Winter and this is published in the United States. Now, that's the crucial thing, and you see what the publisher, called E Reeves, he says, 'Brian Aldiss's NASA telescopes in 2011 detected a planet with two suns: a lesser sun and a bigger sun. Some astronomers thought this was impossible, but of course, it's precisely what Helliconia is all about. As yet, it seems that the newly-discovered planet is called Kepler 16B. I think they should call it Helliconia, in acknowledgement of the way in which science fiction writers can be totally perceptive about something, without necessarily making predictions'.

Several fans and readers wrote to me, pointing to this discovery in deep space.

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: Helliconia

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015