It's not often that the internal throes of the UK Conservative Party provoke
sf comparisons, but then Miles Kington's humour column tipped the obscure David
Davis as party leader: 'It occurs to me that nobody has ever become Prime
Minister bearing the same name twice. It has worked for science fiction writers
' (Independent, 27 October)
R.I.P. Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs, 1922-2003),
well-loved US author of hard sf whose career spanned more than 60 years, died
peacefully on 29 October; he was 81. His first story 'Proof' appeared in Astounding
in 1942 and his final novel Noise in 2003. SFWA honoured him as a Grand
Master in 1999. Clement's best known title was Mission of Gravity
(1954), and I was madly proud when NESFA Press let me write the introduction for
their Clement omnibus that included this classic.
(1916-2003), US actor typecast as a villain in many film/TV westerns, died on 20
October aged 86. His rare genre appearances included Uninvited (1993)
and the role of Frankenstein's creation in the late-70s TV sitcom
Struck By Lightning.
Science Corner. Dept of Now Why Didn't We Think Of That Before?
'How can we best protect ourselves against the bioterror attack certain to come
one day? The ultimate answer is personal self-defense arming the human immune
system with the power to recognize, attack and defeat any germ or virus that a
bioterrorist can create. Such an alliance between brain and immune cells would
also defeat all other diseases now afflicting humanity.' (William Safire, New
York Times, 20 Oct)
John Jarrold shyly confesses that the unsigned feature '10 Authors
To Watch' in SFX 110, November 2003, is all his own work: 'And only
including two who I published at Earthlight!' John's list predicts great things
for Neal Asher, R. Scott Bakker (first novel due 2004), James Barclay, Andy
Duncan, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Jeffrey Ford, Ian R. Macleod, Justina Robson,
Charles Stross ('has not so much been knocking on the door for some years as
beating heavily on it with fists, boots, forehead and anything else he could lay
his hands on'), and Liz Williams.
Thog's Masterclass. Brain Race Dept. 'A pair of bushy
eyebrows jutted out above his [Francis Galton's] orbits like two hands cupped
over the brow of a man peering into an unfathomable distance. At the same time,
his dense windswept sideburns swerved back dramatically behind his earlobes, as
though his mind was speeding faster than the rest of his head.' (Edwin Black,
War Against the Weak, 2003)
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.