back to article Science fiction great Brian Aldiss, 92, dies at his Oxford home

Brian Aldiss OBE, one of the most popular and prolific science fiction writers of his generation, has passed way at his home one day after his 92nd birthday. Aldiss published an enormous number of science fiction books and short stories – as well as non-fiction work – but is perhaps best known for the Helliconia trilogy and …

  1. Steve Kerr

    Sad to hear this news

    Brian Aldiss was one of my all time favourite authors.

    Not read any of his books for some time though going to go back through them again now.

    Another classic sci-fi author gone.

  2. Paul

    Another great has passed on :-(

    I read every book of his I came across.


  3. Duncan Macdonald

    The Greats have gone

    And who is to replace them?

    Of the current SF authors only David Weber is of the same level as the great SF authors of the past (Heinlein, Norton, Asimov, Brunner, Bradley, Clarke, E.E. Smith etc) and he is over 60.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Greats have gone

      The 1920s onwards were times of great change in technology and its effects on the organisation of society. To some extent we are now seeing or anticipating the realisation of what sci-fi saw then as the apparently "impossible" future developments.

      It is difficult to see what current young authors can add to the mix when so many possibilities have already been explored so thoroughly. Has the fantasy genre become the new area for creative writing?

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: The 1920s onwards

        Actually the 1780s to 1800. Programmable power looms, then in 1800 we entered the Electrical Age (Steam was well established), due to Volta's battery. Hence Shelly's Frankenstien's Monster 1821 approx (there were revisions). Before the end of 1800s there was telegraph, lead acid batteries, dry cells, fax, voice telephony, radio, cars (Steam, Battery Electric, Petrol and Diesel), typewriters, punch card census analysis (Hollerith = IBM), Gestetner's Rotary Duplicator, photography, cine, phonograph & gramophone, hearing aids using carbon mic/moving iron, amplifier module, torpedoes. HG Wells WOTW "warships" were already obsolete.

        Maxwells famous equations only a hair's breadth from relativity than showed speed of light a constant (Einstein credited him) and the Michelson–Morley experiment was performed over the spring and summer of 1887.

        The modern novel is mostly an 18th C development. (Jane Austin rather famous now)

        Boolean Algebra for computers and the special non-Euclidian geometry need by Einstein for his 2nd Relativity equation.

        Improved vacuum pumps and the CRT (UK and Germany).

        Though SF can be argued to seriously start with Lucian's True Stories (about 150 AD?) they really took off due to 19th C industrialisation, science, mathematics and tech. Verne's 20,000 leagues was all based on EXISTING tech, he'd been inspired by a model of a French military submarine.

        Books were still only for well off people. Most people in 1830s to 1850s saw theatre productions of Frankenstein rather than book. London had many theatres with up to 5,000 people a night.

        The whole Victorian pre-Raphelite, neo-pagan, Celtic literature (English translations) and thus Fantasy writing took off in Victorian age, which fed into SF. Dracula (based on the Irish myths & lenann shee more than central Europe, he was Irish), McDonald's Lilith and many otthers without which SF would be rather boring (how much a debt does Hellconia owe to Fantasy?).

        Tolkien new all the Victorian stuff, though LOTR is more based on Celtic, Teutonic and Norse myth. & legend.

        EE "Doc" Smith in late 1920s "invents" Space Opera (he puts impossible "jokes", he knew science and that Iron is the lowest state were Fusion and Fission end, so the spacecraft powered on Iron is an "in joke").

        By the 1980s SF had seriously gone off and is now most is too Transhumanist "religion" and indulgent fantasy (Nano everything that's really just magic, immortality, General AI, resurrection clones and mind transfer to computers, the stuff of the comic end of SF in the 1940s).

        I like Aldiss's earlier works.

        1. m0rt

          Re: The 1920s onwards

          +1 for Alistair Reynolds. Great space operas.

          Another favourite is C.J.Cherryh. The Rimrunner universe is a firm favourite of mine. I have an Aldiss first edition of Heliconia Summer sitting around somewhere. The version of 'Spring I have is a reprint, unfortunately. But his works were imaginative and engaging.



          I think that Science fiction is still going strong, it is just harder to find those that don't feel re-cycled because, well, we have a greater wealth of what we consider science fiction to choose from. But a good story is a good story, the background is incidental.

          A few recomendations, that if you haven't read, I strongly recommened:

          A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller.

          The Postman, David Brin.

          The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: The 1920s onwards


            I agree. It seems odd to say all the greats are in the past. Also, what does great mean anyway? Philip K Dick had some great ideas, but a lot of his writing was pretty rubbish. He banged quite a few of his books out in a few weeks, just to pay the bills. And it shows. I still think 'A Scanner Darkly' is brilliant, and his stuff seems to be more variable in quality than most.

            I've been disappointed by plenty of books from "the greats", as well as from other writers. Sometimes because an idea just doesn't quite work out, or maybe works for other readers but not me personally. Or because they had a deadline to meet. You get made a great for your body of work, ignoring your early mistakes and occasional bits of dodgy output.

            Another vote for C J Cherryh. Sadly she got sidetracked into a long series (Foreigner) a while ago, that I guess sells well, so the publishers keep asking for more. And it's gone on way too long. Which is a shame, because she's had a wide and varied output, doing some space opera, some interestingly different fantasy, some alien world-building and a good bit of where does the future of the human race go stuff (hint: often not in very cheerful directions).

            Just to cheer you up, she's apparently finished a book called 'Alliance Rising' which is set in the Alliance-Union universe (where Rimrunners is also set).

          2. LesB

            Re: The 1920s onwards

            Have an upvote for mentioning Jasper fforde!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The 1920s onwards

              LesB: Have an upvote for giving an up vote for mentioning Jasper Fforde!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The 1920s onwards

          If we are going to mention possible sci-fi themes going back into the mists of time - then it should include E.M.Forster. As well as his famous "romantic" novels he also did what could be called fantasy stories.

          However he made a significant contribution to sci-fi in 1909 with the short story "The Machine Stops". An uncanny prediction of the social effects of the World Wide Web. Even the BBC "The Book Programme" once misattributed that story to H.G.Wells.

          1. EddieD

            Re: The 1920s onwards

            "However he made a significant contribution to sci-fi in 1909 with the short story "The Machine Stops". An uncanny prediction of the social effects of the World Wide Web."

            Radio4 made a stonkingly good adaptation of that story.

            On the same lines folk should read "The Shockwave Rider" by John Brunner - his vision from 1973 about how our lives would be online, and we'd run our lives from our mobile phones, was really quite prescient. It's a shame he died in such obscurity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The 1920s onwards

              Brunner was too clever and erudite to become popular. His books are, IMHO, some of the very best-quality SF ever writen. Both as SF and as literature.

              Not unlike Aldiss, come to think of it.

      2. hammarbtyp

        Re: The Greats have gone

        The 1920s onwards were times of great change in technology and its effects on the organisation of society. To some extent we are now seeing or anticipating the realisation of what sci-fi saw then as the apparently "impossible" future developments.

        It is difficult to see what current young authors can add to the mix when so many possibilities have already been explored so thoroughly. Has the fantasy genre become the new area for creative writing?

        Yep, nothing much has changed in the last 20 years (apart from the internet, mobile technology, robotics, genetics, etc). It must be a struggle to find something to write about

        I think the big change in Science Fiction is that we have moved away from using science fiction as a mirror to what is happening now to purely fantasy. The greats, Aldiss, Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Dick et al wrote about the human condition and how change effects us. There are a still few who do the same Banks(RIP), Bear, Reynolds spring to mind, but they do seem to be fewer and fewer

        This could be rather than too little change, the pace of change is to great, meaning that any science fiction set 10 years ahead will probably be overtaken by the time it is out.

        Wouldn't it be an irony is the coming of a technology singularity was the cause of the death of the very science fiction that predicted it...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Greats have gone

          People who are too heavy on "technology" and not well enough acquainted with history are apt to make hilarious mistakes in estimating the rate of progress and understanding when the really important advances were made.

          My favourite example was Tony Blair pouring scorn on "the Victorian era" as crudely primitive. Whereas in fact that was when almost all the really big breakthroughs were made that have contributed to our present civilisation.

          I'll give this idea away free to anyone who is looking for a "steampunk" theme to equal "The Difference Engine". What if Babbage and Ada Lovelace had got together with Faraday and Maxwell? Babbage and Maxwell both studied at Cambridge (although Maxwell was much younger) and both must have been very familiar with Faraday's results.

      3. A.A.Hamilton

        Re: The Greats have gone

        Without hesitation I would add Iain M Banks to the list of those who have passed but find hope for the future in the writings of Liu Cixin. His trilogy (The Three Body Problem, The Dark Forest and Death's End) are philosophically challenging, educational, moving and quite topical.

    2. cantthinkofabetterhandle

      Re: The Greats have gone

      There is no replacement.

      But, if you try, you'll find many that are more than just good writers out there.

      Just give them a chance.

      And, I'd like to say that "the search is the best part of the hunt". Though I'm not sure it translates OK, I think it says it all.

      So, good hunting.

      And good night, Brian (said as I hold a copy of Barefoot In The Head... Eh!... This time I'm gonna get till the end).

    3. Justicesays

      Re: The Greats have gone

      There are a lot of great authors out there.

      The problem when comparing old authors to new ones is that only the most popular books survive to be published 30 years on. That makes it easy to identify old masters, but not so much the current ones.

      There is also so much more out there, with smaller publishers/self published books/translations etc.

      And more people of course.

      Hard to find the jewels in the dross.

      but for a start try

      Peter F Hamilton (apart from night's dawn, mostly due to the ending).

      Charles Stross

      Alastair Reynolds

      Stephen Baxter (early stuff mostly)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The Greats have gone

        <cough > Iain M Banks </cough >

        1. A K Stiles

          Re: The Greats have gone

          For those with the stamina to enjoy Peter F. Hamilton, I'd also recommend taking a look at Ann Leckie and her somewhat more compact but still rewarding 'Ancilliary...' series.

          1. JDC

            Re: The Greats have gone

            Much as I enjoy Peter Hamilton, I find it hard to think of him as a "Great" - they're huge space operas, but beach reading rather than classics. And they could mostly do with a more assertive editor.

            Iain M. Banks is perhaps the only recent SF author that I know of who could be rightly considered Great. Be happy to hear more suggestions, though!

            1. EddieD

              Re: The Greats have gone

              "Much as I enjoy Peter Hamilton, I find it hard to think of him as a "Great" - they're huge space operas, but beach reading rather than classics. And they could mostly do with a more assertive editor."

              I couldn't agree more - what marked earlier sci-fi writers was that they could tell a gripping story, spanning generations and galaxies, and you didn't need a crane to lift the novel off the coffee table.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: The Greats have gone

                and you didn't need a crane to lift the novel off the coffee table.

                I wonder how much of that is the market.

                The golden age writers were in the magazine era, you had only a few pages to tell the story because even pulp printing was expensive

                On the bookstore shelf today it doesn't look good value to be buying a 50page book for the same price as one 3 inches thick

              2. RJG

                Re: The Greats have gone

                I'll just recommend "Watching Trees Grow" by Hamilton as an example of what he can do when he cuts out the excessive padding.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Greats have gone

          Your mileage may vary, but I quite like Neal Asher - his Polity universe is the conservative version of Banks' Culture. Not quite at the same level, but an enjoyable read.

        3. handleoclast

          Re: The Greats have gone

          @Yet Another Anonymous Coward

          But Iain M Banks was not one of them.

          Read The Hydrogen Sonata closely and you'll understand that it contains a metaphor for Banks's own view of SF. The "almost unplayable piece of music" for an "almost unplayable instrument" was written not as a challenging, intellectual piece of almost pure cerebration but as a biting satire on certain types of music and in no way represented the composer's musical tastes. One can view Banks's SF in the same vein.

          That's the problem with postmodern literature. You can read any damned thing into it that you want, but the actual truth is that the author is too far up his own arse. I mean it not as a compliment but as an insult to both Banks and the Booker Prize to say that Banks richly deserved a Booker prize.

          Yeah, I know, I'm going to get a gazillion downvotes on this.

          1. David Given

            Re: The Greats have gone

            I believe Banks was once accused (by a snobbish critic) of writing potboiler SF in order to fund his real literature.

            He said, hell no. His 'real literature' sold vastly better than the SF. He said that one of the reasons he wrote in two distinct genres was that that let the 'real literature' subsidise the SF, which is what he really enjoyed doing...

      2. Old Used Programmer

        Re: The Greats have gone

        Graydon Saunders has a series (still in progress) with an absolutely fascinating world. Plus, he doesn't "info dump" the details on you, but let's you discover the most interesting bits on your own.

      3. Mark 110

        Re: The Greats have gone

        I like Paolo Bacigalupi's stuff alot - not a great yet but has potential. Richared Morgan is a good read as well.

        The genre is definitely not dead.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Greats have gone

          I was just about to suggest Richard Morgan

      4. handleoclast

        Re: The Greats have gone


        I have to agree with you about Hamilton, Stross and Reynolds. The cream of the current crop. Well, that's if you prefer your SF hard rather than soft, squishy and postmodern.

        I've not read any of Baxter's early stuff. His _Long Earth_ collabs with Pratchett were OK, but I'm probably judging them in a better light than they deserve because of Pratchett.

        1. breakfast Silver badge

          Re: The Greats have gone

          Surprised I have got this far with nobody mentioning Adrian Tchaikovksy's Children Of Time one of the most enjoyable SF novels I have read lately.

          Also weird that everyone has apparently forgotten Neal Stephenson - Seveneves is pretty hard sci-fi and a lot of fun with it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Greats have gone

            Agreed. Adrian Tchaikovksy's Children Of Time is very good. His series "Shadows of the Apt" is pretty good too.

      5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The Greats have gone

        Peter F Hamilton (apart from night's dawn, mostly due to the ending).

        Charles Stross

        Alastair Reynolds

        Stephen Baxter

        You missed Neil Asher. The only person to create a Sci Fi universe to compete with Bank's Culture. Granted, it is a competition which it loses, but it comes close second.

    4. tony72

      Re: The Greats have gone

      I wouldn't personally put David Weber on the same level as some of those greats, but there certainly are more recent sci-fi authors I would put on that level, or that might be headed that way with a few more titles under their belts. Not many, but that's the point about greats - they are rare.

    5. dajames

      Re: The Greats have gone

      And who is to replace them?

      There's still a lot of good stuff being written. In addition to those that have been mentioned by other commentards I might add Jack McDevitt who can be relied upon for a well-told yarn incorporating plausible protagonists, Walter John Williams who writes well in a surprisingly broad range of SF sub-genres, Neal Stephenson, Justina Robson whose early work reminds me of John Brunner (in a good way), Liz Williams ...

      Whether any of these will be deemed by future readers to be "Greats" I can't say, but there's a lot of potential out there.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Greats have gone

      And who is to replace them?

      Alastair Reynolds? A few years back I'd have added Steven Baxter, but he's seriously gone downhill.

      Charles Stross is doing good things, but has been caught on the 'endless sequels == more cash' treadmill a bit. The occasional sex scenes he writes are cringeworthy. But apart from that, he's enjoyable, good - but not great (yet).

      P.S. I like Jasper Fforde, but until he writes the damn sequel to Shades of Grey, he's getting no publicity from me (except this bit).

    7. Andrew Moore

      Re: The Greats have gone

      I like Dan Simmons. And I have a soft spot for William Gibson.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a Web of Stories video series of Brian Aldiss remembering his life.

    It consists of several pages - each containing an index of ten short videos. They are episodic but are not in strict chronological order - as he jumps about in his reminiscences. One video did clarify that an apparently improbable part of the plot in "The Hand-Reared Boy" was autobiographical.

    His childhood was quite miserable - with both parents lacking affection for him. His mother's brother was a major positive influence on him during a short stay at his grandmother's house - just before was packed off to boarding school at the age of 5.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Did not realize he was still alive.

    And of course now he is isn't

    RIP Brian.

    As for the current crop of UK SF writers I'd give Stross, Hamilton and Brockmyre a good shot.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Did not realize he was still alive.

      Sad to hear about his death.

      Of the alternatives, I have tried several times to read one of Peter F Hamiltons tomes but failed. Just far too wordy for me.

      They make good door stops though since I sent the volumes of 'Method 1' to recycling.

    2. handleoclast

      Re: Did not realize he was still alive.


      I've heard of Brookmyre, but his stuff is essentially comedy built around various themes like crime, politics (a variant of crime), mystery, etc. Yeah, he did a few books that had a scientific element which debunked woo and/or fraud, but they don't really qualify as SF any more than Scooby Doo does.

      That said, his Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks is one of my favourites. And there is a lot of debunking woo in it. But I still wouldn't label it SF.

  6. Oengus


    I wonder what Brian thought of the latest series of Cloud enabled toys that have come out that are on their way to emulating "David".

    I'll raise a glass to one of the people who inspired my love of Sci-Fi as a child.

    Vail Brian Aldiss.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Super-Toys

      Vail Brian Aldiss.


      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    Not one mention so far - that was the book that started me on science fiction, lo those many years ago. I am rather fond of the Helliconia series too.

    Regarding other UK authors: I'd agree with the short lists above, though Baxter is not greatly to my taste, but I hate to point out to YetAnotherAC that he missed the words 'the late' from 'Iain M Banks'.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Hothouse

      I found Helliconia to be his best work and I must read it again.

      1. Chunky Munky

        Re: Hothouse

        Agreed - I'm sure it's on my reader somewhere

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Baxter

      I've read very little Baxter, but I loved "Evolution" - and I think it could well be set as a school textbook. (Or by some less unappealing name, ideally). It's a page-turner, a real doorstop, yet when you've finished it you have unconsciously absorbed a short history of the evolution of hom sap.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I admired Brian Aldiss

    For complaining to the BBC that they ignored him. He had enough stature, and his stories were interesting enough, to be adapted for TV. I don't think they ever did anything of his on TV but there were a number of radio adaptations after he took them to task

  9. KroSha

    A glass to you, sir.

    For your imagination, effort and the inspiration you provided to young minds reaching for the stars.

  10. Sanguma

    Another one bites the dust ...

    I've still got the copies of Helliconia I bought in the 80s. Re-reading them last year I thought how ironic that he after criticizing JRR Tolkien in Billion Year Spree (and later Trillion Year Spree) should, rather like Harry Harrison with his West of Eden Trilogy, fall back on some of Tolkien's own world-building tools, to make - in many cases - exactly the same points Tolkien was making in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Google "Tolkien ecology movement" and "Tolkien environmental movement" and compare and contrast with the ghouls (hint: they're ghouls even before they become ghouls) on the earth-human space station Avernus orbiting Helliconia ...

  11. VinceH

    His name is one of those I remember when I think of all the SF greats I read when I was young. However, when I initially read of his death, thinking I should reread whichever ones stood out most in my memory I looked at his bibliography - and didn't recognise a single title!

    I suspect I may not have read any of his books, after all, but more likely read some (many) of his short stories in anthologies. I don't recognise any of those titles, either, but there are more of them (and I read many anthologies, so I'm less likely to remember specific titles).

    On the subject of Supertoys Last All Summer Long:

    Aldiss said that he wasn't keen on the happyish ending that Spielberg tacked onto the film, but that was just his personal view. He said that the story of the unloved robot child David was inspired by his own difficult relationship with his severely depressed mother growing up.

    I've only seen the film once, and (unaware of this view) I said much the same thing at the time - there's a point where I felt the film should have ended (in the sub - that should be enough of a reminder to those who have seen it, without spoiling it for anyone who hasn't). Everything after that ruined it.

    If I ever watch it again, that's the point I will stop - especially now knowing Aldiss had a similar view.

    1. molletts

      Re: The AI ending

      >> Aldiss ... wasn't keen on the happyish ending...

      > I've only seen the film once ... I said much the same thing at the time

      Yes, I felt that too - it should have simply faded to black with the solemn narrator voiceover. The tacked-on ending feels like gratuitous added sugar.

      That said, when I saw the film again some years later, the epilogue seemed less "jarring", but maybe that's just because I was expecting it. Watching it "without prejudice", it didn't feel quite as "empty" either, although I still don't think anything would really be lost by simply truncating the film (and arguably the whole might be improved as a result).

      I suppose we should just be grateful Disney didn't get their hands on it. I don't even want to think what the result might have been like after they'd finished dumping truckloads of sugar into it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greg Egan

    Not a writer for wild adventures or shoot-'em-ups, but very much a programmer's SF author. Strongly recommended. For instance, he was writing about the cloud 30 years ago.

    And he doesn't just do recherche high-tech stuff - try "Zendegi".

  13. wheelybird

    Adam Roberts

    I'll nominate Adam Roberts as a British author in the vein of authors like Aldiss. Jack Glass is a fantastic novel.

  14. andy 28

    Whip Donovan Adventures

    After I saw an article about this in the torygraph a few years ago, and put some money in, I kept hoping that it would made it's funding target

    Perhaps it will now, though not in the way that I'd hoped.

  15. lorisarvendu

    The author of "STAN"

    I admit to have read few of his novels, but his collections of short stories published by NEL (New English Library) definitely started me on my love for Science Fiction. He was the master of the weird and scary and his stories often took a 90 degree turn to the left. I was particularly impressed with the way he populated his future worlds with invented jargon, something I do myself in my own writing. Who but Aldiss could write a novel about aliens who fly wooden spaceships and like to wallow in their own faeces? ("The Dark Light Years")

  16. Pat Harkin

    He was the third author I ever met. Sadly missed.

    As an aside - he died on his 92nd birthday. Does that make him 91 or 92 when he died? Because it's possible only 91 years, 364 days and a few hours had passed since his birth...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was the third author I ever met. Sadly missed.

      I thought Brian's death was on the day after his birthday?

      Western cultures increment a birthday normalised to the time of 00:00 on the anniversary of the day of birth. See video of Kevin's transition to a teenager.

      Other cultures may still increment everyone's age on a single universal day in the year - apparently as is done for horses.

  17. Buzz Buzz Buzz

    There are good current authors!

    Brian Aldiss was a great, no question. But there are many good and very interesting current Science Fiction writers, although it seems that one has to look much harder to find interesting stuff than in my youth when I began reading SF with E. E. Doc Smith.

    Part of the challenge is that the "Future isn't what it was cracked up to be" which is to say that convincing extrapolation has been slow to emerge from our current starting point. Gibson was great for the 80's but seems somewhat distant from today's reality, much in the way that the great space opera's of the 50's now seem more like fantasy than SF. Gibson really influenced several generations of writers, game producers, and movie makers with his dystopic vision for the world, but a lot of the assumptions don't ring as true for me as they used to. For some stimulating present day extrapolations try David Brin, Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Cory Doctorow, or China Miéville.

  18. JayEmmay

    New authors

    For interesting current authors I'd add Dan Abnett - much of his work is set in 40K universe but it's all about people. If the setting puts you off try Embedded.

  19. tiggity Silver badge

    SF History

    And of course Aldiss wrote some very good non fiction works on the history of SF, he was keen on studying the genre he (mainly) wrote.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A table of the greats

    Didn't El Reg publish or build a list a while back of the best SF books that had never been made into films?

    That might be a good place to start.

    There is also the SF Masterworks editions that appear in book shops and libraries (if anyone remembers them).

  21. armyknife


    A great writer and a decent man, he said to me his favourite work was the Helliconia trilogy; I shall re-read it as a mark of remembrance.

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