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11.21.03

I hate recording the deaths of people I knew personally. This time, we lose KIM Campbell (1956-2003), a Canadian-born fan who for many years was a driving force behind British sf conventions — most recently the coming 2005 Glasgow Worldcon, of which she was Board Convenor. Following a recurrence of cancer, she died peacefully in a York hospice on 15 November. Goodbye....

As Others See Us. Jonathon Keats reviews McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales: "[The editor, Michael Chabon] is mistaken about genre fiction. Even given an opportunity to succeed, genre is, and has always been, antithetical to creativity. It is one thing to romanticise it, quite another to read it, and to be reminded that it is what it says it is — a formula. The failure of genre writing generally is that it makes a worthy literary technique, such as suspense or horror, the sole purpose of a story.' Conversely, if it's good it's not genre: 'Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James may have written stories full of mystery, or situated in the future, or haunted by spectres, but to read The Turn of The Screw as a ghost story makes as much sense as situating Homer's Odyssey in travel fiction.' (Prospect magazine, November)

R.I.P. Giles Gordon (1940-2003), major UK literary agent who published stories in New Worlds from 1967 to 1975 and featured in Langdon Jones's 1969 anthology The New S.F., died on 14 November after a bad fall earlier in the month; he was 63.      John Ritter (1948-2003), US actor, died on 11 September, just six days before his 55th birthday. Genre appearances included Stay Tuned (1992), Stephen King's It (1990 miniseries), the role of L.Frank Baum in the 1990 biopic The Dreamer of Oz, and a Buffy part as a homicidal android ('Ted', 1997).      Mark Siegel (1949-2003), US writer who published critical works on Tiptree and Gernsback, and whose first novel Echo and Narcissus appeared this year, died on 12 November aged 54.

True Facts Dept. A breathless correspondent reports that the latest Orion Books list includes a new Asterix the Gaul cartoon story collection — under the heading 'Orion Non Fiction'. We knew it was all too good to be untrue....

'Amazon Is So Helpful,' Damien Broderick exults after finding that Slaves of the Death Spiders: Essays on Fantastic Literature by Brian M. Stableford is usefully annotated: 'Customers interested in this title may also be interested in: Spiders / Expert & Affordable Solutions to Spider Problems — Learn More Here ...'

Thog's Masterclass. Sound Effects Dept. 'The girl squawked and sputtered. Exactly, Peel noted, like a decapitated hen.' (Alfred Bester, 'Hell is Forever', 1942)

 


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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