Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Page 7
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Seacon. 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 7. August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 27, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/346.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon. (August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979). 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 7. Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/346

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon, 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 7, August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979, Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 27, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/346.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Creator (Local)
  • Seacon
Date August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979
Description Information regarding the guests of honor for Seacon '79.
Donor Leiber, Fritz; Leiber, Justin
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Science fiction conventions
  • Fantasy fiction
  • Science fiction
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Leiber, Fritz
  • Aldiss, Brian W.
  • Shaw, Bob
Subject.Name (Local)
  • Seacon
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Brighton, England
Genre (AAT)
  • brochures
  • documents (object genre)
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 1984-003, Box 57, Folder 29
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/5301
Original Collection Fritz Leiber Papers
Digital Collection Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/1984_003
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Rights Undetermined
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 7
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_1984_003_b057_f029_068_009.jpg
Transcript BRIAN ALDISS There are some obvious things to say about Brian Aldiss: that he is a distinguished novelist, not only in the science fiction field, that he has compiled many influential anthologies, beginning with the Penguin Science Fiction one that did as much as anything to break British sf out of its ghetto, that he won the Pilgrim Award of 1974 for his critical book Billion Year Spree. What / have remembered about him for longest is the lift of the heart I felt fifteen years ago, in 1964, when I came upon a copy of his then-just-published The Dark Light Years. That means more than you might think, because just at that moment there wasn't a lot of lift left in my heart, since I was newly graduated from Cambridge, newly entered on my chosen career as a marketing manager, and newly fired out of it as redundant-to-requirements-and- recruited-in-error. The shock to the psyche was considerable, and mooching round Maida Vale looking for work no great fun either. Still, there I was, and there the book was in the Public Library (an institution about which Brian in his role as ex- Chairman of the Society of Authors has considerable doubts), and things looked better straight away. I still recall that first great moment of incomprehension in chapter 1, as the Earthman looks at the utods and their grorgs wallowing in the mire, and the utods look right back: If he were a utod he would now be a thousand years old', remarks Quequo. 'Then we must expect he will soon evolve into the carrion stage', replies Snok Snok Karn. That, I take it, is what the fungus on his skull signified by changing to white', confirms his mother. Polite, reasonable, logical speech full of subjunctives and qualifiers, and all of it wrong! After only a few brief months of marketing I knew enough to realise that was funny and not-funny too. Writing like that is one of the qualities that single Brian out from all the other authors who ever lived. Everybody remembers his robots in 'Who Can Replace A Man?': 'We are not in the city. We should not go into the city.' 'We are country machines.' 'Therefore we should stay in the country.' 'There is more country than city.' 'Therefore there is more danger in the country!' And in the same collection, The Canopy of Time, there's the classic scene of the future film presentation dominated by the tactics of yesmen's yesmen, and dialogue which inside its own treacherous conventions means exactly the opposite of what it says. Even the early space-opera The Interpreter (also published as Bow Down to Null one of the great publisher-derived titles) was about interpreting: its basic point even in a cliche-haunted plot was that words turn upon themselves and baffle the understanding of the wisest. You cannot separate expression from content. Brian knew that all along, well before the medium started getting itself touted as the message; it's a lesson sf has learnt, a bit slowly, from Brian as from others. But Brian's stories have also continually gone for genre cliches of plot. Non-Stop was among other things a kind of answer to Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, Barefoot in the Head a twist on the whole set of 'after the Bomb' stories. One of his most daring ideas has, several times, been to deny the convention that says sf characters (besides being male and white) have to be young. Greybeard is not only about a society which has no young people, it's about a whole society creeping down the ladder we all individually have to descend; Hothouse is about the old age of the Earth, with the entire planet hot, stuffy, festooned with spider-webs that reach out to the unturning Moon, like some people's visions of Hell. The short story 'Old Hundredth' has ancient characters and characters from an ancient past, megatherium and baluchitherium, preparing themselves for a sort of death: releasing themselves into musicolumns, like the sloth who becomes 'Old Hundredth' itself, 'All creatures that on Earth do dwell Dreary? No. Sad? A bit. Sometimes sf is short on facing facts, like death, failure, unemployment, taxes (though not entropy, scale, and cold equations). It would be a mistake to think Brian isn't properly appreciative of life — as indeed will be evident to those who see his burly frame loping down hotel corridors. But to see where he's at, read The Malacia Tapestry, if you haven't already, not his last nor even his latest novel, but his latest big one. In a lot of ways it stitches together what Brian has been writing about for a long time. It's funny; the main character is Perian de Chirolo, a vain lecherous butterfly-minded joculator. It's farfetched: this 'alternate universe' took off from the famous Battle of Itssobeshiquetzilaha, over three million, one thousand and seven hundred years ago, in which homo saurus was not wiped out but survived to contest with homo simius the domination of the planet (Perian is a homosaurus too). It's full of the traditional themes of science fiction: Galileo-like innovator executed by the forces of repression, hydrogenous balloon sows bacterial warfare on invading army, hero retires to plot further revolution, etc. Yes, but it's about art too. Some of the art in The Malacia Tapestry is good, some sad, and some silly, which is a fair selection. At one extreme you have the folk art of the magic lanterns and marionette shows of old Malacia; at another you have perfectionist Risorgimento glassmakers and frescoists. In between, Otto Bergsohn from Tolkhorm, the Galileo who is also a kind of mad Ernie Wise, is trying to immortalise on camera, or anyway zahnoscope, the godawful play (what he has just wrote) called Prince Mendicula, or The Joyous Tragedy of the Prince and Patricia and General Gerald and Jemima. No words can do justice to the horrors of this scientist's vision of art; but the medium is the message, which is why the story of the play gets replayed in the story of The Malacia Tapestry too. Sometimes life is like soap- opera, and I dare say (somewhere) like space-opera as well. The characters of all three pay more attention to joculating (and worse) than to theories about themselves. Still, the art survives, aere perennius, as us cultured Britons like Peter Weston often animadvert one to another. You might even go so far as to say that it's better to be a lover upon a Grecian Urn (or has that thought been used somewhere before?): in the middle of Malacia butterfly-minded Perian comes upon a poor hurdy-gurdy man with the images of his grandchildren, now dead, engraved for ever upon his instrument by the brilliant Giovanni Bledlore. The images are like the characters in The Malacia Tapestry itself, or like the living musicolumn in 'Old Hundredth', hanging on the edge between being and not-being, but hanging there for ever as we cannot. Perhaps I should add that Brian's own idea of heaven is an enormous console in the sky, full of whisky, where you can lounge, talk to your friends, and watch it all happen. Coarse fellows, some of these authors. Terrible shock, meeting them in the flesh. Better than the Public Library, though. Tom Shippey