Can this really be the 100th outbreak of Runcibility? Let the virtual
champagne flow freely; decrypt the encoded caviar! I have celebrated by
delivering a vast retrospective
collection to my nice US publishers....
The BBC Big Read
silliness continues, with a 100-strong list of the British public's favourite
books whittled down by popular vote to a shortlist of 21. The odd mix of dusty
classics, school set-books and recent bestsellers suggests that the exercise
might have made more sense if staying power had been among the criteria e.g.
Cyril Connolly's rule that a book must last ten years to be reckoned a success.
Showing the perils of competing with oneself, none of Terry Pratchett's multiple
longlist choices and only one of J.K. Rowling's made it to this stage:
1984, George Orwell
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Jane Eyre, Charlotte brontë
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
So, two sf titles and six fantasies, five of the latter being at least
ostensibly for children. Tra la.
John Brosnan muses on the sincerest form of flattery: 'A press
release from the UK Film Council announces their backing of a new movie from the
director of Dog Soldiers, Neil Marshall. Called Outpost, the
film is "set on a derelict oil rig where a secret genetic experiment goes
horribly awry. Forty eight hours later a special military forces team arrives to
investigate only to find themselves faced with a fearsome and mutating opponent."
Gosh! As the co-author, with Leroy Kettle, of a novel called Slimer
which was set on a derelict oil rig which contained a secret genetic engineering
facility and a mutating monster, and the part author of the screenplay for
Proteus, the movie based on the novel, I can only approve of Neil
Marshall's good taste in his choice of subjects. I suppose the cheque for the
rights is in the post?'
R.I.P? Upheavals at Bob Guccione's General Media, and a possible
sell-off of Penthouse, may be linked to the apparent vanishing of
Omni Online. Though not updated
since the plug was pulled in 1998, this remained preserved in amber on the
website ... until now?
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of 100th-Instalment Excess, or, Our
Editorial Policy. 'This crazy galaxy is the price that the universe pays for
order. 666, eh? By the seven green moons, it was well numbered! There's
something strangely capricious about this place. Just as our universe is a
motivated universe, this one is motiveless. The real universe, the universe to
which we belong, has purpose; this one is whimsical, fanciful and fantastic.
This is a temperamental galaxy, an hysterical galaxy, a mad galaxy. This is an
insane, freakish, wanton, erratic, inconsistent galaxy; it's a completely
unreasonable galaxy. It's undisciplined, refractory, uncertain and
unpredictable. It's a volatile galaxy, a mercurial galaxy. [...] It's a
frivolous galaxy; it's inconsistent and inconstant; it's variable; it's
unstable; it's irresponsible and unreliable.' ('Pel Torro' [Robert Lionel
Fanthorpe], Galaxy 666, 1963)
David Langford is an author and a gentleman.
His newsletter, Ansible,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His most recent books are Different Kinds of Darkness, a new short-story collection of horror, SF, and fantasy, Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002, 100 pieces of Langfordian genre commentary, and He Do the Time Police in Different Voices, a short-story collection that brings together, all of Dave's SF parodies and pastiches. (This is a scary thought. Are you ready to laugh that hard?)
Dave lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards. He continues to add books and Hugos.