sábado, 23 de fevereiro de 2013
The Genius of Brian Wilson Aldiss: About Time
I love the writings of Brian Aldiss, he is one of the great British writers and a major influence in the literature of science fiction, innovative, clever and above all very human writing across many decades. Chloe Evans and Stuart Turner shot the short documentary film About Time for the Sundance London short film competition. In it Brian discusses the experience of time passing, and, naturally enough, his writing, including a charming recollection of how he first started being published.
“When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them, they show us the state of our decay.”
“Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.”
“It is at night... that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull.”
“Perhaps that had been one of the ineradicable faults of mankind - for even a convinced atheist had to admit there were faults - that it was never content with a thing as a thing; it had to turn things into symbols of other things. A rainbow was never only a rainbow; a storm was a sign of celestial anger; and even from the puddingy earth came forth dark chthonian gods. What did it all mean? What an agnostic believed and what the willowy parson believed were not only irreconcilable systems of thought: they were equally valid systems of thought because, somewhere along the evolutionary line, man, developing this habit of thinking of symbols, had provided himself with more alternatives than he could manage. Animals moved in no such channel of imagination - they copulated and they ate; but the the saint, bread was a symbol of life, as the phallus was to the pagan. The animals themselves were pressed into symbolic service - and not only in the medieval bestiaries, by any means.
Such a usage was a distortion, although man seemed unable to ratiocinate without it. That had been the trouble right from the beginning. Perhaps it had even been the beginning, back among the first men that man could never get clearly defined (for the early men, being also symbols, had to be either lumbering brutes, or timid noble savages, or to undergo some other interpretation). Perhaps the first fire, the first tool, the first wheel, the first carving in a limestone cave, had each possessed a symbolic rather than a practical value, had each been pressed to serve distortion rather than reality. It was a sort of madness that had driven man from his humble sites on the edges of woods into towns and cities, into arts and wars, into religious crusades, into martyrdom and prostitution, into dyspepsia and fasting, into love and hatred, into this present cul-de-sac; it had all come about in pursuit of symbols. In the beginning was the symbol, and darness was over the face of the Earth.”
“Whatever terrific events may inform our lives, it always comes to that in the end; we just want to lie down.”
An Island Called Moreau
See also on Urania: