BooksOfTheMoon

The Airs of Earth

By Brian W. Aldiss

Rating: 3 stars

This collection of short stories emerged as part of the so-called New Wave of science fiction of the ’60s and ’70s, bringing experimentalism, characterisation and ‘literature’ to the genre. I’ve never got on that well with New Wave SF, primarily because the experimentalism is often too much for me. I have no doubt that there’s good stuff here, but it often seems like it requires quite a lot of effort, and multiple readings, to appreciate.

In this collection, Shards is the worst for this, while A Kind of Artistry and O Moon of my Delight try to explore character in diverse circumstances. There are a couple of political stories, Basis for Negotiation telling of British neutrality in a third world war and The International Smile being a, from one perspective, somewhat light-hearted story of political chicanery (although from another perspective, it’s a grim story of political Realpolitik and the lengths that some will go to for power, and a warning as to what could go wrong).

I’m sure fans of the New Wave will enjoy this a lot, and even for someone like me, who prefers the derring-do of golden age SF to the New Wave, there are some stories to appreciate and enjoy.

Book details

ISBN: 9780450013294
Publisher: New English Library
Year of publication: 1963

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