An entertaining collection of very assorted pieces--with something of a British accent--on how sf's influence pervades every aspect of modern life, by one of sf's foremost practitioners. In the first section, ""Writing,"" Aldiss traces the development of sf out of medieval romance (a familiar preoccupation); looks at contemporary British sf and the New Wave revolt; and examines the work of Blish, Dick, Sheckley, Verne, and Vonnegut. ""Hoping"" features a speech delivered to the Oxford Union, ""Looking forward to 2001,"" complete with ghastly jokes; in ""Living,"" Aldiss ponders Hiroshima, drug literature, the right brain/left brain theory as applied to writing, and the strange world of 1951 England (newspaper headline: ""Pig Shoots Butcher""). ""Seeing"" considers the paintings of G. F. Watts, the illustrations of A. Moreland (a very funny piece), sf art, Tarkovsky's film Solaris (""bids fair to stand as the best sf film so far""), the various sf TV series, and Steven Spielberg. In ""Rough Justices,"" Aldiss tackles pseudoscience, politics in sf, the underrated Charles L. Harness, Edgar Rice Burroughs (""has a lot to answer for""), the craft of sf, and futurology. And, finally, four travel pieces: on San Diego, Trieste, the USSR (""hotels. . . resembling a slavonic Gormenghast""), and Sumatra. Some of the pieces that were originally book introductions are confusing without the book at hand; but, if Aldiss shows no great incisiveness, he is never less than an interesting, witty commentator.