This is non-fiction from Aldiss, not really on any particular subject, or arranged with any goal in mind, but a conversation between himself and the reader, importuned by a January 1969 night’s conversation between himself and Christopher Evans. If I may not be too bold, it’s much the same as what I imagine First Impressions to be, although Aldiss has me soundly beat in terms of far-ranging intellectual discourse. We all have to start somewhere, though.
Although in some ways this book is trapped in the time at which it was written, it also overcomes such by realizing that it would be. The title, of course, refers back to H.G. Wells’ Shape of Things to Come (or, at least I think that’s right). Aldiss tries to live up to that earlier volume by playing the prophet as well. And, like most prophecies when looked back on with hindsight, it’s interesting to note the things that didn’t come to pass more than what he’s gotten right. This is also a biographical and historical document as it relates the rise of SF in Britain, as well as describing some of the inner workings of the New Wave. Thanks to Paul di Filippo for sending this book to me (a perfect way to make sure I read your recommendation!).
[Finished 18 September 1993]