Award-winning science fiction author Brian W. Aldiss passed away on Saturday, August 19th, his family confirmed today via Twitter.
Aldiss was the author of over 100 books, and was an accomplished nonfiction and poetry author in addition to his work in speculative fiction.
He was honored with the Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction in 1962 for his short story anthology Hothouse; a 1964 Nebula Award for his novella The Saliva Tree and Other Strange Growths; and in 1987, won another Hugo for his nonfiction work Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, which he co-authored with David Wingrove. In 2000, Aldiss was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.
In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph, Aldiss revealed that he became a storyteller to cope with childhood trauma: "My father was very unfeeling when I was growing up, and sent me off to boarding school when I was six. I was so upset that I used to wet the bed in the dormitory. To stop other boys teasing me, I told terrifying stories. If any of them cried out in horror for me to stop, I had triumphed; they were never going to mock me. Eventually I wrote the stories down."
It's clear why Aldiss' schoolmates were scared—throughout his career, he demonstrated an ability to make iconic tales even more chilling. His novels Dracula Unbound and Frankenstein Unbound reimagined Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley's respective classics; Aldiss' 1981 novel An Island Called Moreau breathed new life into H.G. Wells' story of a castaway stranded on an island with a diabolical scientist.
Among the many mourning the late, great author today, Neil Gaiman took to Twitter to praise Aldiss as a "larger than life writer." Harper Voyager publishing director Natasha Bardon, who worked with Aldiss through Voyager in recent years, told The Bookseller, "His passion for language and literature was wonderful and he wielded his skill like a blade. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry: there was just no stopping him."
The Portalist suspects that Aldiss' imaginative, vast, and occasionally chilling work will continue to transport fans of speculative fiction for generations to come.
If you're looking for more influential books by Brian W. Aldiss, check out these great reads.