OBITUARY : Sir Kingsley Amis

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kingsley Amis's science fiction was more than the brief experiment that David Lodge [obituary, 23 October] suggests, writes Paul Kincaid.

In the late 1950s, when Amis was invited to deliver a series of lectures at Princeton, he chose to speak on science fiction. The lectures reveal a deep and serious knowledge of the subject, especially in the opportunity science fiction offers for satire. They were later published as New Maps of Hell (1960) - the first book-length study of the genre to appear.

Amis's involvement continued throughout the Sixties, when he co-edited with Robert Conquest five anthologies entitled Spectrum. That he waited so long to publish science fiction of his own seems not so much a mid- career experiment as Lodge suggests but rather a belated fulfilment of a lifetime's interest. The Alteration (1976) in particular, which contains numerous references to other science-fiction writers, seems to be something of a hommage to the genre.