iPlayer Radio What's New?

Brian Aldiss

Brian Aldiss

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 28 Jan 2007

Science fiction writer

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Brian Aldiss. He is best known for pioneering, alongside JG Ballard, a new wave of British science fiction writing in the 1960s. He says science fiction is not so much a prediction of the future as a metaphor for the human condition; and for him, at least, writing it offered an escape route and a filter through which to view his own extraordinary upbringing. He grew up in a small Norfolk village in a very devout and austere home. While his father was distant, his mother was still suffering from the grief after her first child, a daughter, was still-born. He was the second child and even when he was very small, remembers feeling a strong sense of his mother's disappointment in him.

The army finally offered a way out for him and it was on his return to England that he started writing seriously while also working in a bookshop. One of his early works was a short story describing the sadness felt by a boy who was never able to please his parents, which was turned into a film by Stanley Kubrick. While he remains best known for his science fiction writing - and has won every major award in the field - he has also written novels, poetry and biographies and short stories. Now, he says, he aims not for high sales but to become a better and better writer.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Walter Brennan

1.

Castaway's favourite

Walter Brennan

Old Rivers

Performer: Walter Brennan

Others who chose this artist

Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

2.

Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

Opening movement of Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Composer: Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

Others who chose this artist

Ella Fitzgerald

3.

Ella Fitzgerald

Cow-Cow Boogie (with the Ink Spots)

Performer: Ella Fitzgerald

Others who chose this artist

Alexander Borodin

4.

Alexander Borodin

In the Steppes of Central Asia

Performer: Alexander Borodin

Others who chose this artist

Jacques Offenbach

5.

Jacques Offenbach

Quand j'étais roi de Béotie (from Orpheus in the Underworld)

Composer: Jacques Offenbach

Others who chose this artist

The Choir and Tambouritza Ensemble of Radio Osijek

6.

The Choir and Tambouritza Ensemble of Radio Osijek

Oj Lolo Moja or Oh My Darling

Performer: The Choir and Tambouritza Ensemble of Radio Osijek

Tom Lehrer

7.

Tom Lehrer

So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)

Performer: Tom Lehrer

Others who chose this artist

Gustav Holst

8.

Gustav Holst

Saturn (from The Planets)

Composer: Gustav Holst

Others who chose this artist

Book

Biography of John Osborne by John Halpern

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

A banjo

Others who chose a similar luxury

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sat 17 Apr 1982

Novelist and critic

Roy Plomley's castaway is novelist and critic Brian Aldiss.

Choices

Alexander Borodin

1.

Alexander Borodin

Symphony No. 2 in B minor

Performer: Alexander Borodin

Others who chose this artist

Bronislav Simorovic, Danica Obrenic

3.

Bronislav Simorovic, Danica Obrenic

Kazi Vaske

Performer: Bronislav Simorovic, Danica Obrenic

Franz Schubert

4.

Castaway's favourite

Franz Schubert

Sonata in A major

Composer: Franz Schubert

Others who chose this artist

Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra

5.

Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra

Kansas City Breakdown

Performer: Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra

Others who chose this artist

Pietro Mascagni

6.

Pietro Mascagni

Inneggiamo, il Signor (Easter Hymn) (from Cavalleria rusticana)

Composer: Pietro Mascagni

Others who chose this artist

Gustav Holst

7.

Gustav Holst

Saturn (from The Planets)

Composer: Gustav Holst

Others who chose this artist

Tom Lehrer

8.

Tom Lehrer

The Vatican Rag

Performer: Tom Lehrer

Others who chose this artist

Book

Rasselas by Dr Samuel Johnson

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Time machine

Others who chose a similar luxury

Occupations

Contact us

This site contains archive material. To comment or bring something to our attention, please get in touch.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.