Brian Aldiss RIP

I started attending the London SF Meeting on the first Thursday of the month in November 1972 – at the Globe pub in Hatton Garden.  Met various people there, including Rob Holdstock and John Brunner – and Peter Nicholls,  who was then running the SF Foundation at the North-East London Polytechnic.  And I heard about SF conventions.  So I joined the 1973 Eastercon, OMPAcon, which took place at the Grand Hotel in Bristol.  Had a great time, met some people I still run into at cons.  On the Sunday night I left the con hall around 2am after watching DOCTOR STRANGELOVE. Walked into the bar (which was open as long as people wanted to drink) and saw Peter Nicholls sitting with others at a big, round table.  He waved me over.  As I sat down I realised I had Peter on one side of me, Brian Aldiss on the other and Jim and Judy Blish across the table.  Bloody hell. Brian and Jim were among my heroes – naturally enough.


We sat there chatting about life, the universe and everything.  Jim and Judy went to bed about 4.  Peter, Brian and I stayed there, drinking and talking, until breakfast time, when we decamped to the restaurant and ate a hearty meal.  I caught the train back to London later that Easter Monday morning, feeling ten feet in the air.  I had come home.


I didn’t see Brian again until the 1974 Eastercon in Newcastle. When I arrived and walked into the hotel bar he was ensconced in the corner, chatting to members of Hawkwind, who used to turn up at cons sometimes, back then.  I thought I’d say hello if I got a chance later in the weekend.  I was halfway to the bar when Brian shouted “Hello, John!  Not going to say hello!!!” Amazing. There are more stories over the 40-odd years since, but those early meetings, and the huge fun, stay with me always.  And I haven’t mentioned the magnificent novels and stories.  I think I might seek out a CD with All Creatures That on Earth Do Dwell tonight…


• August 21st, 2017 • Posted in News