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Here's some interesting advice from AuthorsMarket ('a service of PublishAmerica') which may come as a surprise to our readers: 'Are all fiction books difficult to market? [...] science-fiction and fantasy writers have it easier. It's unfair, but such is life. As a rule of thumb, the quality bar for sci-fi and fantasy is a lot lower than for all other fiction. Therefore, beware of published authors who are self-crowned writing experts. When they tell you what to do and not to do in getting your book published, always first ask them what genre they write. If it's sci-fi or fantasy, run. They have no clue about what it is to write real-life stories, and how to find them a home. Unless you are a sci-fi or fantasy author yourself.'

Can this nonsense possibly be linked to the fact that members of the sf community have vigorously criticized operations like PublishAmerica? Though not technically a vanity press — it pays a tasty $1 advance — this outfit does not appear to copyedit its highly-priced POD books, has a gruesome standard contract, and allegedly confines its marketing efforts to authors' friends and family members (providing an extensive list is mandatory). Here's a link. Here's another. And another.

It Pays To Decrease Your Word Power. Millions of Ansible readers demand that Thog do something terrible and terminal about the description of the DVD set of four Alien films as a 'quadrilogy'. Unfortunately, Thog has gone into hiding rather than count that far.

R.I.P. Margaret Armen (1921-2001), US TV writer who scripted episodes of both the original Star Trek and the animated series, died from a heart attack on 10 November.    Jonathan Brandis (1976-2003), US actor who appeared in Seaquest: DSV (1993-95) and The Neverending Story 2: The Next Chapter (1991), committed suicide by hanging on 12 November; he was 27.

Shaun Jeffrey, interviewed in SF Crowsnest, indicates that his appeal is to slow readers: 'So far, the reaction to Evilution has been pretty good. Most people have said they read it from cover to cover in a few days because they couldn't put it down.'

Thog's Masterclass. Deep Thoughts Dept. '[P]ain, in Owen Atchison's philosophy, was weakness, but death was strength.' (Jeffrey Deaver, Praying for Sleep, 1994)    Eyeballs in the Sky. 'His eyes were hungrily fixed to the can of Maxwell House.' (Ibid)    Oops Dept. An alert reader taunts Thog for running the same Colin Wilson quotation in Runcible 103 and 105; I blame my recent 'flu, personally. So here's an extra helping of Wilson on ancient geophysics: 'I was now aware of the detailed history of Mu, from its beginnings as a continent sucked from under the sea by a moon that hovered over it, (revolving at the same speed as the earth's rotation, so that it appeared stationary) ... ' (Colin Wilson, The Philosopher's Stone, 1969)


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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