Archive for Brian Aldiss

The Grey Magician with a Porcelain Beard??

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 29, 2012 by Aaron

Picked up another couple of titles over the past couple of days.  The Porcelain Magician by Frank Owen and Brian Aldiss’ Greybeard.  The acquisition of The Porcelain Magician is significant as it brings my GP collection up to the 75% mark.  Expect a Progress Report when it arrives.  Greybeard is just another Aldiss first edition to add to the library.


Close Up: The Saliva Tree and Other Strange Growths

Posted in Close Up with tags , , on April 22, 2012 by Aaron

closeup Brian W. Aldiss

This is a departure from the norm as this is the first ‘official’ Close Up I’ve done for a non GP book.  This blog contains a couple of pseudo-Close Ups of some Gene Wolfe’s books, but none conform to the regular GP template.  So, as one of my favorite short story collections, I have always wanted a first edition of The Saliva Tree.  I picked this up off eBay for a reasonable – though not bargain – price compared to others I’ve seen around the ‘net.  This copy has some special provenance which I’ll outline later.  It’s in pretty good condition, so let’s have a closer look.

The cover and, importantly the spine, are bright and exhibit no fading.  Two things to note on the cover are a sort of a graze mark that has deposited some dark substance upon the top right of the cover and a 1cm closed tear to the bottom edge.  The cover art by Charles Mozley is interesting.  Depicting a scene from the title short story (1965 Nebula Award winning novella, actually..) seems to be at odds with what was the normal SF cover art around that time, though it fits very well with that particular tale.  There is a nice little bio about Mr Mozley at the University of Reading here.

Nice cloth in perfect condition.

The top and bottom views reveal nothing we haven’t seen already.  It looks very nice.

There’s a little wear to the head and tail of the spine, but nothing really noteworthy or damaging.

The back of the jacket looks good except for a slight score just to the left of Best Fantasy Stories, and some staining across the blurb for Earthworks.

I mentioned some provenance earlier.  This copy was a complimentary issue, issued about three weeks prior to publication to one Ritchie Calder – then president of the H.G. Wells society.  We see in the laid in letter how The Saliva Tree ties into the association with H.G.Wells.  Also (if you’ve read it..), how the cover art relates very well to this association and the title story.

Click image for a larger view.

Year: 1966
Paid: $85
Art: Charles Mozley
Copies: ? (I’m trying to contact Faber and Faber regarding volumes..)
Binding: Currey priority ‘A’- Dark green cloth with gold lettering on spine.
Edition Notes:First published in mmcmlxvi” on copyright page
Chalker & Owings: Absent. Chalker and Owings only references independant/specialty publishers.  Faber and Faber are neither.
Currey: THE SALIVA TREE AND OTHER STRANGE GROWTHS. London: Faber and Faber, [1966]. Two bindings, priority as listed: (A) Dark green cloth, spine lettered in gold; (B) Dark green boards, spine lettered in gold. First published in mcmlxvi on copyright page.
Comments: I’m proud to have this.  It’s one of my favorite collections from one of my favorite authors.  Extra special is the provenance as I mentioned.  It’s a great collection!!  Highly recommended reading.
Expand Upon: wikipedia – see Brian Aldiss’ page, Internet Speculative Fiction Database



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 19, 2012 by Aaron

I’ve always been a huge fan of Brian Aldiss.  The first book of his I read was Helliconia Spring when I was about… I dunno, about 12 or 13 years old or so.  I enjoyed it hugely, and went on to read the other books in the series – Helliconia Summer and Helliconia Winter.  Aspects of these books were a little too adult for me at the time, though I did appreciate them more upon a second reading several years later.  As an aside, GP book The Survivors takes place in a solar system very similar to that of Helliconia.  Or rather, the Helliconia trilogy takes place in a system that perhaps draws it’s inspiration from that in which Tom Godwin’s Ragnarok orbits.  I commented on this in the Review.  I have subsequently read many of Mr. Aldiss’ books and have enjoyed his writing immensely.  In my library are a couple of his first editions – The Malacia Tapestry from 1976 and the 1963 collection The Airs of Earth – as well as five or six various paperbacks.  The reason for this post is that last week I picked up a first edition of what is my favorite of his short story collections, The Saliva Tree and Other Strange Growths, published in 1966.  I’m excited about that, it should arrive next week.  We might get a photographic look at it sometime…