Although Brian Aldiss cannot be pigeon-holed as a science fiction writer there is no doubt that he is a master of the art of conceiving other worlds. His fertile imagination has created intriguing and often shocking narratives which have become classics of the genre and have also translated into cinema. This collection of his essays, most of which are revised for this volume, is a testimony to the influences behind his writing, showing how the circumstances and events of his childhood are translated into strange metaphors in his novels and stories (the lonely boy playing on the beach in Walcot), how his identification with the 'exile' is a recurring theme throughout his work (it is surely no accident that he was asked to write an introduction to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago), and how a world without children (Greybeard) expressed his grief at the temporary loss of his own children after his first marriage broke up. In these writings we witness the main events of Aldiss's life, and through his honesty and vulnerablity we are able to trace the alliance between incidents in his life and his creative imagination. For the lovers of his many books and poems this volume reveals new insights into the man and his world, giving us a better understanding of his place in the history and literary criticism of science fiction and of his interest in the cultural importance of SF as a genre.