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With the instantaneous speed of ansible transmission we rush you red-hot news items from, er, 1970, 1966 and 1932....

Michael Moorcock, despite his worries about entering hospital and being surgically explored for blood clots last week, was soon back with renewed e-mailed grumbling about favourite hates like Tolkien and John Clute. But he's put the 1966 New Worlds interview with Tolkien (by Daphne Castell) on the Fantastic Metropolis website to lure in the unwary: 'I do tend to feel a bit like the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel, with the interview a sort of gingerbread house. In skip the little hobbitophiles and then they see they are surrounded by nasty looking blokes with baseball bats....'

Russell Bates, who sold to Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions in 1970 (and again in 1972), celebrated his 60th birthday last year by repossessing both stories for publication elsewhere. A new Bates tale scheduled for 2002 is mysteriously titled 'The Lurker in the House at the Centre of Infinity' and features a sinister anthologist who feeds on the creative juices of authors lured into writing for a never-published volume. His name in the story is Elias Halloran, which as Bates points out is not an anagram.

Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama 'prediction' of disaster on 11 September wasn't the first, writes Debbie Notkin: 'Peter O'Donnell predates Clarke. In Sabre-Tooth (1966), Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin thwart a massive plot to take over Kuwait for profit. The day designated for the plot, had it not been thwarted, was Saturday 11 September.'

As Others See Us. 'I bought Aldous Huxley's Brave [New] World thing, but simply can't read it. What a bore these stories of the future are.' (P.G.Wodehouse, 1932 letter in Performing Flea, 1953)

Oops. Around 10 January, fans consulting the Fortean Times website for details of their London 'Unconvention' (6-7 April 2002) were startled to find the home page reading in big red letters: 'fuck USA Government / fuck PoizonBOx / Not a daring political statement from FT, thank goodness: their web server was infected by the Unix 'SadMind' worm.

Thog's Masterclass. 'Somehow, the mackerel paté of memory had escaped its wrapper, skipped its kitchen dish, and turned into a flickering silver shoal, darting and twisting in terror against an empty darkness.' ('Gabriel King', The Wild Road, 1997)


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.

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