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Supertoys Last All Summer Long: And Other Stories of Future Time Paperback – 2001

3.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312280610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312280611
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 395 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #583,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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