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Supertoys Last All Summer Long: And Other Stories of Future Time [Paperback]

Brian W. Aldiss
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Mythmaking? June 13 2003
The first three stories have obvious parallels (which Aldiss apparently denied) with Pinnochio (and also the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz and Pygmalion and seal-wife and fairy-wife legends). Maybe I'm reading too much into this (making me guilty of deconstructionism) but I saw a pattern of recreation of old stories. "Nothing in Life is Ever Enough" tells the story of Shakespeares "Tempest" from Caliban's angle. "The Old Mythology" is what its title suggests; a visitor from a future age is present at events (told with a sharp sense of humor) that precapitulate (if that's a word) Greek and Hebrew creation myths. "Headless" is a version of the sacrificed hero described in Fraser's "Golden Bough." "A Matter of Mathematics" is about Plato's cave. In "Becoming the Full Butterfly" the breaking of a divine law results in the destruction of a world by flooding. "Talking Cubes"= "The Picture of Dorian Grey." "Steppenpferd"=the Temptation of St Anthony (I couldn't make a connection to Hesse's "Steppenwolf").
Most of the stories have down-beat endings. Whenever anybody has a good time they get their come-uppance, so it's a pessimistic view of the future. Even "The Marvels of Utopia" is dystopic - at least it's far from Thomas More. In spite of they're enjoyable because of Aldiss's sheer good writing,excellent jokes, wild imagination and page-turning action.I
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4.0 out of 5 stars There's more to this book than "Supertoys" July 18 2001
By Shinobi
That said, the three Supertoy stories are here, and are quite nice. I think some of the imagery in the three are superior to that of the movie, the first in particular (Monica's response to being allowed to breed is incredible). However, there is much more to this book than just Supertoys.
To start off Aldiss apparently hates humanity, or at the very least human vanity and self-centeredness. He also seems to think that humankind will not grow out of these flaws, instead humanity will become more and more self-centered as time goes on, so be prepared for a future that is at the same time utopia and distopia...
Aldiss's writing style does seem to swing between brilliant and not so good, but there is enough brilliant to make up for the rest. III was particularly grim (the image of what humanity does to the inhabitants of Triton will stick with you), and "A Matter of Mathematics" could possibly be made into a decent screenplay. All told, "Supertoys..." is an incredible collection of eerily plausible sci-fi that just about everyone should read once, if not more. (if just to avoid turning the inhabitants of Jupiter's moon Europa into Campbell's Canned ET)
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By Craig
I shelled out [price] for this book because I wanted to read the title story, which inspired the movie “A.I.”, and its two sequels, which formed an outline of how Aldiss wanted the screenplay to evolve. In the three stories, Aldiss poses two good questions: “Can robots feel love?” and “If so, are they human?”, but he never gives us satisfactory answers. Throughout the trilogy, David remains a static, unchanging little boy incapable of articulating or learning from his experiences. The only character the audience can empathize and grow with is the aging, philandering father, who learns nothing in the end except that greed can ruin your life. The worst thing about these stories, though, is that they fail to cover any new ideas that have not already been discussed before, most notably by Isaac Asimov’s far superior “Bicentennial Man”.
The sixteen short stories that follow are much, much worse. Most of them teeter on the edge between dramatic fiction and satire, so that they are neither interesting nor funny. Only “Apogee Again” contains any imaginative ideas and descriptions. Some of the stories, such as “A Whiter Mars” and “Cognitive Ability and the Light Bulb”, are not really stories at all; they are summary descriptions of how society will evolve into a vegetarian, religion-less utopia. Others, such as “Dark Society” and “Steppenpferd”, start out promising but leave the reader with lady-or-the-tiger endings, without any resolution to the conflict.
Please, please don’t waste your money on this collection.
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By A Customer
Brian Aldiss knows how to envelop you in a story. He doesn't waste time on descriptions of people or places, but just gives you the characters and their situation and goes from there. Some of the stories are just descriptions of a future corporation's plans or a strange occurance. But most become epic in meaning by the time you hit the end of the story. One thing that might bother some readers is the way some of the stories seem to go on and on and on and nothing is really happening. Don't let it get to you because at the end of each story the REAL meaning is shown and it makes total sense. You'll be reading one of the stories thinking you know what's going to happen, but you never do with Aldiss. As far as the Supertoys/A.I. stories they are among the weakest of the collection and are almost totally different from the movie. No Gigolo Joe, No Rouge City, NO BLUE FAIRY. Just David, Monica, a completely different Henry, Professor Hobby, and of course, Teddy. Aldiss is truly a master of Sci/Fi and somehow his bleek view of the future seems eerily possible...
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars only "supertoy" is worth to read
The supertoy story is quite different from the film, but I still love it because it gives another angle to see what happens to the the supertoy. Read more
Published on May 24 2002 by E-lee
2.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant or just so-so
The book contains an interesting collection of short stories. Being a SF master, Aldiss cannot escape the fate of old-fashioned writing. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2001 by "hatter10_6"
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, There's More Than "Supertoys", But...
Without question, Brian Aldiss is a good writer, capable of writing memorable tales such as his "Supertoys" trilogy. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2001 by John Kwok
1.0 out of 5 stars A.I. is the best of the stories in this collection
The three short stories that make up what we all know as A.I., are the best of the lot in this collection. As Kubrick told Aldiss, he either writes exceptionally, or just so-so. Read more
Published on July 10 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb alternative to going to the movies!
I saw A.I. and was thoroughly disappointed in every respect. I purchased this book on the basis that the original story must have been great and that the "creative" minds... Read more
Published on July 9 2001 by Tony F
2.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Buy This Book If You Are Drawn To It Because of A.I.
Although A.I. is based off this book, it should be noted it's loosely based. The short stories in this book that are on the supertoy theme are only a very small portion of the... Read more
Published on July 8 2001 by K. Gaskins
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Trash the Movie
The movie is "loosely" based on the book. It does not even share the title. the movie was great but should never be compared with the book. Read more
Published on July 6 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Book VS movie
Movies never do justice to books. I can't believe Mr. Speilberg put his name on something like this. It was the MOST ridiculous movie I have ever seen. Read more
Published on July 5 2001 by "laurieb2"
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