Introducing Liyi Brunner

As many of you will know, John Brunner, one of the finest SF writers the UK has produced, died during the 1995 Worldcon in Glasgow. I was only just getting back into fandom at the time, and didn’t know anyone much, so I wasn’t really aware of Brunner’s family. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to get an email last week from his widow. Mrs. Brunner, it turns out, is still living in the same house she shared with John, which is in a part of Darkest Somerset that is even more remote, if rather prettier, than where I live. For a Chinese lady who has lost her English husband, this must be rather hard.

Thankfully we have the Internet, which not only helped Liyi find, somewhat accidentally, someone else in the SF community who lives in the same county, but has also allowed her to share her memories of her husband. The BBC is currently running a competition called My Story in which people from all over the UK are encouraged to write short autobiographical tales. Liyi managed to get hers online, and is getting a lot of votes from readers. You can find it here.

Liz Williams and I are going to try to get over to see Liyi once the various religious festivities are over. In the meantime, if any fans of John Brunner’s work want to send her Christmas greetings, please do so in comments.

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27 Responses to Introducing Liyi Brunner

  1. Cuddles says:

    I remember meeting her at either an Eastercon or Albacon just before Intersection.

    I bought some of her lovely paper art at one of those conventions as well, although I think they are buried in the loft now, since I don’t have enough wall space for all the art I’ve bought over the years!

    Please let her know I’ve been thinking of her and John a lot, with all the publicity regarding My Story.

  2. Liyi Brunner says:

    Thank so very much you for your interested of my art, very kind of you to think of me and John a lot, and my story.

    It’s so very important to have some cherished love in the bottom of our heart, isn’t? Life is more beautiful because of this.”

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  3. J C Lawrence says:

    Thank you. John Brunner and his work did a lot to guide and form my trembling teenage years. He asked the questions and probed the thoughts that have coloured and informed much of my life, and I am grateful to him for that. Again, thank you.

    Li Yi: I admire your story and am honored to have read it. Please, do not stop writing. You have all the emotion and more. Practice will bring the language; don’t worry about it. Please continue. I, we, want to read more.

  4. Liyi Brunner says:

    J C Larrence,

    I am very glad to hear that you enjoyed reading John’s books when you were teenage, you were luck to brought up to respectful of literature and the writer who respected of readers, I am sure John would have been very happy for it.

    Thank you for reading my story, you were right, I have all the emotion… do you know when I studied at Yeovil College, my teacher told me my story about my two big lovely death dogs made her teacher cry? And she asked me to put the one which set in China in the College Yearl Book.

    Your words was a great encouragement to me. I much appreciate it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  5. Spike Greenwood says:

    Dear Mrs. Brunner,
    When I was much younger I picked up a book called “The Complete Traveller in Black”. It changed the way I read books for ever. It showed me that characters matter more than action; ideas mean more than fight scenes. It is the greatest thing a writer can do, change the way someone reads. And Mr. Brunner did this for me. He made me very happy, and I’m so very glad he made you so happy.
    I hope you are enjoying living in England, We’re very lucky to have you.
    Spike
    Oxford, England.

  6. Dear Mrs. Brunner,

    I´m a longtime fan of John Brunner. I was there in Glasgow during the 1995 Worldcon, and I saw both you and John at a distance in the first day of the convention. But, alas, it was my first Worldcon, I was a young fan from Brazil, and I told myself, “oh, well, I will try to talk to him later – I´ll have plenty of time.” Sadly, that was not true.

    I just want you to know that John Brunner was (he still is) one of the biggest influences behind my writing, and I was very happy to read your story as well. Please don´t stop. I want to read more – and I´m sure that all John Brunner´s fans feel the same.

    All the best,

  7. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear Spike,

    John gave a vivid account of his character as a blind traveller in his book you mentioned THE COMPLETE TRAVELLER, I am glad to hear that it changed the way of your reading for ever.

    I was very luck to marry John, even though my life with him was only a few years but, those were the happiest days of my life. Glad John made you happy, he made a lot of people happy, too.

    Thank you for your nice saying, I like England but the summer is too short and cold.

    Best wishes,

  8. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear Mr. Fernandes,

    What a pity that John didn’t time to talk with you in Glasgow. I must thank Cheryl Morgan who was kind enough to provide this stage for us to share our life.

    You are John’s fan from Brazil, I liked sing a song from your country, I don’t remember the name of it but I like the tunes of the music.

    I am very pleased to hear that John gave you a strong influence on your writing. John would have been very appreciated for it. Thanks for reading my story, I hope to read your story,too.

  9. Mrs. Brunner,

    thank you, thank you, thank you, for all that you’ve done over the years that made it possible for John to provide us all with so many wonderful reads!

    Please have an excellent holiday and keep on doing everything that you are doing.

    Cheryl, thank YOU for posting this!

  10. Toni says:

    Dear Mrs. Brunner,

    John Brunner was a really great writer and a very nice man. He is sorely missed.

    Books like The Shockwave Rider, The Sheep Look Up and Stand on Zanzibar we’re ahead of their times and still amongst the best SF-books ever written.

    Mr. Brunner was also very important to the evolution of SF-fandom in Finland. A lot of Finns met him first time in Hungary during Eurocon in 1988, where we fell in love with him and the great talks he gave. I especially remember fondly the poems he read aloud – amazing stuff! – and the fact I got a permission to publish two of those in Tähtivaeltaja 3/1988 (a Finnish sf-zine I’m still editing).

    Because of that meeting we invited John as the Guest of Honour of Finncon 1989, which was the first free Finncon and so a very big thing for the whole Finnish fandom. And it was a great success: We got a lot of press coverage, something ike 2500-3000 attending fans and Mr. Brunner was interviewed for example to the Finnish TV-news.

    During the following years I met John a few times in different conventions. One of the happiest memory of those meetings is from the Jersey Eastercon in 1993. He was the only writer there brave enough to attend the Finnish room party. And a lot of fun was had!

    Best wishes

    Mr. Toni Jerrman, Finland

  11. Ace says:

    I am a fan of much of John Brunner’s work. My favorite book written by him, though, has to be Shockwave Rider, which I discovered a few years back when I was about sixteen. To read it now, it is amazing to see how much of the future he accurately predicted – eg. a form of the internet, computer worms, etc – and how much still has the potential to come true. For me, one of the most interesting things in the book, living in an age when chronic anxiety and panic attacks are increasingly common (and being somewhat prone to them myself), is the way the characters have attacks of a kind of terror because they’re living lives that are too full, and too fast… I know some of it was inspired by Future Shock, but even so it was wonderfully done, and is eerily accurate. But the entire book, everything in it, is not only a wonderful tool for helping you think, but its essential message contains an undeniable truth that has always resonated with me. I think it’s a pity the book is not more widely-known; although for that matter, I think it’s sad that among my generation many have not even heard of John, when he had such an influence on sci-fi of the time, and wrote what I consider to be important work.
    I think his writing in general was prophetic and always, always contained an important message that even today has relevance.

    I intend to read your story Liyi, but I just wanted to let you know how important John’s writing is to me.

  12. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear Mr. Davidson,

    Your message has encouraged me, I thank you, too. I will try my best to return you and all the readers who enjoyed reading John’s books.

    I have plenty to read during holidays, as I told Cheryl that I now need reading glass and calculate, it made me very happy to see so many people have viewed my story.

    I should thank the BBC has provided this marvellous opportunity for people to show our ability.

    Image at the day I die, my story should have?billions votes by the known and unknown people from different corner of the world, I shall be very happy to see my story has made our life better, and I must thank their time and their support even I am in grave.

    John taught me the most important thing in life is love, he was true. I see from the messages, diamond cannot buy love but love has united us together.

    I wish you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2010.

    Liyi Brunner

  13. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear. Jerrman,

    Thank you very much for your respect for John. His death was not only effected me but the science fiction world in which he spent his life also.

    Yes, John was brave enough to attend the Finnish room party, he also attended many other SF Cons and conferences in the world, such as the Hiroshima International Writers’ conference in Japan 1983 and other conference in France, I don’t remember which year, but I recall he was the only British speaker there and he gave a fluency French speech.

    When I saw the photos of John and friends and fans and the more than 200 beautiful badges John owned, most of it were for the International SF Cons and Guest of Honours he attended, that’s amazing he wrote about 100 books and replied a lot of inquiries and visiting people abroad…it surprised me to find recently he kept another mountain of correspondences between his agent, publishers and fans in four large metal units in the barn! He has done a lot in his life as he loved life and respected people, that is why people told me he made them happy.

    I appreciate you invited John as the Guest of Jonour of Finncon 1989 and you and your friends enjoyed time with him, also you got a permission to publish his two poems, I am sure John would have been very happy for it.

    Please send my regards to your friends and fans of John who enjoy his book.

    Best wishes,

    Liyi Brunner

  14. Liyi Brunner says:

    To Ace

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you very much for writing to me, it was interesting to know you read Shockwave Rider when you were about sixteen and you read it now to find the same answer like me: John’s prediction that the worms cause damage on computer will happen. Today, the result of his experiment confirmed his predictions. Shockwave is one of John’s favourite books, btw.

    I feel sad, too, as John was playing a big part on the sf world and his books had great influence, but his work is not more widely-know, except the most famous books STAND ON ZANZIBAR and THE SHEEP LOOK UP and some short stories.

    I comforted myself with the thought that my story LOVE NEVER DIES was my gift to John, I am very pleased to see a lot of people have viewed it, whatever result, I have done what I could to remember of John. I struggle against my illness and life, as I know people respected John and like me, I must try my best to meet all of you.

    I most grateful for your honour for John and enjoyed reading his books. Thanks for intending to read my story, your support is much appreciated.

    Best wishes,

    Liyi Brunner

  15. One of the pleasures I’ve had was when John was Guest of Honor at the 1983 Worldcon/ConStellation.

    I’m pleased that we were able to honor him and his work.

    Michael Walsh
    Chair, 1983 Worldcon

  16. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear Mr. Walsh,

    I am an emotional response your message, my eyes filled with tears, thinking John would have been very happy to hear it.

    It was a great honour to John to attend your Worldcon/ConStellation 1983. I wish John did tell me all about when he was alive.

    With best wishes for Christmas and New Year.

    Liyi Brunner

  17. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear readers from all over the world,

    I am extremely grateful to all of you to read my story LOVE NEVER DIES, your support means a lot to me, I am much obliged to you for supporting me.

    I wish you all have a wonderful new year to come.

    Liyi Brunner from England

  18. Liyi Brunner says:

    The BBC story contest is the literature revolution, I have never seen everything so wonderful in my life, I am feeling everything has life, and I don’t feel my arm and back pain at all, I cannot stop laughing when I saw my story has more views and more people liked my story.

    Calculate how many views in my story, my mood was a lot different than calculate how much gas I have spent.

    Christmas is like Chinese new year, the most happy thing for the children are the gifts from their parents, to make everyone happy, many parents are exhausted.

    Good story is a beautiful Christmas gift for the old and the young, you can gain knowledge from it, and good story is like love, it never dies.

    Liyi Brunner

    Liyi Brunner

  19. ARNOLD AKIEN says:

    I remember Liyi Brunner very well from her attendance at Novacon 21 back in 1993 only 3 months or so after her marriage to John.

    John was very attentive to his bride but not oppressively supportive and Liyi was making her own way in what must have been a very strange world with the aid of a Chinese /English dictionary and occasional consultations with her new husband whilst her spoken English was already very impressive. Liyi and John were a very romantic couple and it was a desperate shame that they weren’t granted more than a very short time to spend together.

    John told me how much he was looking forward to visiting China with Liyi and I believe that their planned visit could have re-energized Johns writing and given a new direction to his creativity so it is a tragedy that it never happened but a joy that Liyi is left with such happy memories. LOVE NEVER DIES is a beautiful story very movingly told.

    Liyi may remember that John borrowed some of the photographs that I took at that convention so that she could send copies back to her family in China.

    I do wish you a Happy New Year Liyi.

    Arnold.

  20. Liyi Brunner says:

    Thank you very much Arnold,

    One world, many voices.

    So much I want to write, so much I want to do, but life is too short.

    I wish you have a vey Happy New Year, too.

    Liyi

  21. Liyi Brunner says:

    Dear everyone,

    Perhaps you like to hear funny story, I would like to share the one below with you:

    The King And The Critic

    A king liked to write stories, which he thought were very good. The people to whom he showed them were afraid to criticze them. They said that his stories were good.

    One day the king showed some of his stories to a well-known critic, who said that his stories were bad. The king got angry with him and sent him to prison.

    After some time the king pardoned the critic, and when he returned, the king invited him to his palace to dinner. Again the king showed the critic some of his stories and asked what he thought of the stories. The critic turned to the guards who were standing behind and said, “Take me back to prison.”

  22. Jim Worrad says:

    LOL. Very funny, Liyi! And a happy new year!

    I think Mr Brunner was one of the most inventive authors the UK ever produced. ‘The Sheep look up’ and ‘Stand on Zanzibar’ are more relevant and more important today than they were when your husband first wrote them.

    I found LOVE NEVER DIES delightful and fascinating.

  23. Liyi Brunner says:

    Many thanks Jim,

    I found very hard to believe John had wrote Stand On Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up also many other short stories, poems, songs by his type writers and word processor.

    I really appreciate your interest in my story LOVE NEVER DIES, I felt my heart aching when I wrote.

    With best wishes for the New Year.

  24. Liyi Brunner says:

    John attended the HIROSHIMA INTERNATIONAL WRITERS’ CONFERNCE on 21-23 August 1992 YOKOHAMA, and he gave a speech entitled SHALL WE BLAST OR SHALL WE BUILD?

    I read comments by John and other people on Japanese magazine: To his readers in Japan, and especially those attending the Hamacon, John Brunner says: ” Remember we are all the crew of Spaceship Earth. Take care of its life-support systems!”

    John wrote:” In return, permit me to request a favour of yourself. I know some of my books have been published in Japanese; I can see copies of four of them from where I am sitting in my study, and I believe almost no royalties from Japan – Literally, a few dollars a year. On my only visit to your country, in 1983, I tried to establish why, but without success. Perhaps someone has made a list of my Japanese translations? It would interest me very much to find out which books have been issued by what publishers. I enclose International Reply Coupons. Arigato gozaishita!

    Please give me my regards to Mr. Tetsu Yano, Mr & Mrs Shibaho, and any other Japanese fans who remember meeting me.

    Yours sincerely,

    John Brunner

    Poor John, I understand why you died untimely.

  25. Liyi Brunner says:

    I received some Christmas cards last yeas, one of them from the SF people, I cannot read the name of the sender, there some words in the envelope:” The SFf C/O F.Avad 49 Tvoyniry Rd, B’ham B30 2XY. I used to send card to this person and others, but I was very ill last year and had no time to do cards.

    If any of them knows who sent it to me, please will you send my best wishes to him or her. After the death of John, I am not interested in any festivals and Christmas, John passed away on 25th August 1995, the same number of the day for Christmas, it reminded me of the sadness.

    I feel sad when I saw the hole in the right sleeve of John’s cardigan, it must have been caused by his writing.

    To the ACE and all: I have a email from an editor yesterday, he told me he wants to know who owns the rights to the translation for John’s long out of print book THE OVERLORDS OF WAR. I have passed on his inquiry to my British agent, hopefully, you and other people will read this book in the near future.

  26. Liyi Brunner says:

    The earthquake in Haiti caused countless people to lose their lives and homeless, to show our love and sympathy, Britain,US,China and some countries have sent medicines, men and dogs to rescue, how many are still survivors under the debris is a question.

    Compared with the sufferers, I am very lucky. Love or hate, means a lot to the people in Haiti at the moment, my late husband loved people, my story LOVE NEVER DIES tells you love is the most important thing in life. If you love John, you like my story. Hum? Thank you.

  27. Liyi Brunner says:

    希望灾民平安。 God bless Haiti.

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