Skip to main content

Brian Wilson Aldiss papers

Call Number: MS 214


Brain Wilson Aldiss is a British author best known for his science fiction novels and criticism. This collection includes letters, drafts, and other papers representing all stages of preparation for his Helliconia trilogy. The collection is organized to show how the Helliconia project evolved, from early planning and research to publication and reception.


  • Creation: 1978 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

When requesting materials, please use the box and folder numbers rather than the "214Aa" series call numbers.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Brian Wilson Aldiss

Brian Wilson Aldiss (August 18, 1925-August 19, 2017) was a British writer of more than 80 books. He is best known for his contributions to science fiction. Having first received acclaim in the 1950s, Aldiss earned nearly all of the major science fiction awards over the course of his career, including the Nebula, Hugo, and John W. Campbell awards. He is known for thematically dense work that uses genre tropes in compelling and experimental ways. In addition to his science fiction work, Aldiss wrote realistic novels, an autobiography, a travel book and a variety of essays and poems.

Summary of <emph render="italic">The Helliconia Trilogy</emph>

The Helliconia trilogy is an ambitious series of science fiction books by Aldiss, consisting of Helliconia Spring (1982), Helliconia Summer (1983) and Helliconia Winter (1985). The books are set on Helliconia, a planet with an orbit that takes thousands of Earth-years to complete, and on which the slowly changing seasons see the rise and fall of entire civilizations. Aldiss’s extensive research into astronomy, geology, biology and anthropology give Helliconia a realistic and credible quality, while themes such as environmental change and the frailty of civilization are explored.


7.5 Linear Feet (18 document cases + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder, 9 galley boxes) : Binding: Unbound. Loose sheets, placed in folders in boxes.; Material: Paper.; Ornamentation: Includes maps, charts, sketches, diagrams.

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in 6 series, the bulk of the materials located at MS 214. Oversize materials, located at MS Q15:5 or MS R4:3, and galley proofs located at MS GAL 1-6, are described at the end of each relevant subseries.


  1. Background material for the trilogy: development of the basic concepts and the setting.
  2. Helliconia Spring. Manuscripts and proofs for the first volume in the trilogy, published in 1982 (London: Jonathan Cape; New York: Heinemann).
  3. Helliconia Summer. Manuscripts and proofs for the second volume in the trilogy, published in 1983 (London: Jonathan Cape; New York: Heinemann).
  4. Helliconia Winter. Manuscripts and proofs for the final volume in the trilogy, published in 1985 (London: Jonathan Cape; New York: Heinemann).
  5. Publicity and public reception of the trilogy.

Physical Location

MS 214

Physical Location

MS Q15:5

Physical Location

MS R4:3

Physical Location

MS GAL 1-6

Custodial History

The author, his correspondents, his publishers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Bertram Rota, 1990

Related Materials

Helliconia Languages collection, MS 323, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Guide to the Brian Wilson Aldiss Collection
Brian Wilson Aldiss papers
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1990; eear, 2012. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2005; eear, 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Brian Wilson Aldiss papers, Department of Special Collections, MS 214, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States