By in Books

Short Science Fiction Story Review – Brian W Aldiss – Outside

1955 - Spoiler alerts

Six people have been trapped for many years in a strange house from fear of the World outside, and even wondering if there is a World outside any more.

Life in the house is dull but pleasant, though every move is closely watched by some unsen intelligence. Lights go out in rooms unused by any of the six, trapping them in small pockts of light surrounded by darkness. This is strangely evocative of modern day timer switch lighting.

Gradually, one man in the house gets curious about outside and contemplates escape, but he is in for a terrible shock, more about himself than life outside the house.

Aldiss was and still is fond of stories about people in restricted knowledge environments and variations on Plato’s Cave scenarios. This is quite a typical story in that mode with chilling predictions of the current reality TV craze.

Arthur Chappell

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msiduri wrote on January 30, 2015, 7:34 PM

Sounds interesting, but frankly I can't stand the reality TV nonsense.

DWDavisRSL wrote on January 30, 2015, 9:51 PM

The story sounds intriguing and despite the possibility that it may have been a model for the drivel of reality TV I think I will seek it out and give it a read. Depending on whether it is age appropriate or not I may try to work it into a lesson for my ELA class.

BodieMor wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:04 AM

Thanks to you I've been rereading what I have of Brian Aldiss in my library. Next I will hit Amazon for Kindle, lol.

arthurchappell wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:40 AM

I think you'll find it will be an age appropriate work - it isn't by any means a graphic horror - it is in a current collection of his complete stories from the 1950's published by The Friday Project - they will be issuing his complete library over the next few years which is wonderful

scheng1 wrote on January 31, 2015, 8:10 AM

I think those who have been in jail for a long time will understand the difficulty of a life outside.