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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 (Harry Harrison)…' (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. Jack Elam (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)


He Do the Time Police in Different VoicesDavid 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.

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