It has been a while since I read his “Trillion Year Spree”, but I would respectfully submit that Aldiss may very well have made his case for the essential nature of science fiction in making and moving on the modern world.
It is difficult to think of another genre so relevant, and at the same time (in its various forms) so popular and influential. I think he did much to point out the debt we owe the revolutionary authors like Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), and the hot-housing role of science-fiction short stories in incubating new (or reheated) ideas.
Brian Aldiss championed SF to the world outside, and occasionally gave those of us who were a little bit . . . insular . . . the ticking-off we deserved. He was part of the community in a good way, attending sf conventions, always approachable, and being the life and soul of the party but always producing books and criticism which challenged us. You could never quite predict what the next Aldiss novel would be, but you always knew there would be something to think about. He was a remarkable man. Even though he received an OBE and an honorary doctorate for "services to literature", I suspect he would have been much more successful in "critical" terms if he had jettisoned science fiction, and he would have been more successful in the sf world if he had buckled down to churn out identikit trilogies. "His work is still [in a sense] to be discovered." Yes, that's correct. It was wide, various, and deep. But those of us who discovered even a part of it are grateful to have done so.
Thank you, Brian.
If you're into SF, read on.