Brian Aldiss began his enormously successful career as a bookseller in Oxford before becoming Literary Editor of the Oxford Mail. His two outspoken and best-selling novels, The Hand-Reared Boy and A Solider Erect, established his reputation, which was soon enhanced by a psychedelic novel of European dimensions, Barefoot in the Head. He is also the author of a Gothic adventure, Frankenstein Unbound, a space opera, The Eighty-Minute Hour, a remarkable opus entitled The Malacia Tapestry and an epic extravaganza illustrated by Mike Wilks, Pile. But his fame, built up over many years, is as one of the most innovative, prolific and popular writers of science fiction of our day. His most recent books in this field have been Last Orders and Other Stories; Enemies of the System, which Anthony Burgess described in the Observer as 'rich, allusive, full of real people and unfailingly interesting'; New Arrivals, Old Encounters and Moreau's Other Island. Now Brian Aldiss has gone beyond the normal parameters of science fiction. Helliconia Spring is the first volume of a gigantic new odyssey, introducing an entire planetary system: to use the term coined by H. G. Wells, a magnificent 'scientific romance'.