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Suitable seasonal greetings ('Bah! Humbug!') to all. As a festive treat, Ansible has revived its traditional Hazel's Language Lessons department, with a selection -- researched by the very wonderful Greer Gilman -- of really useful words from Shetland dialect.

Gwyneth Jones was interviewed for a UK newspaper by one Barry Forshaw, who may have suffered subediting. 'Gwyneth Jones still lives in Manchester ...' he mysteriously writes of this long-time Brighton resident, and goes on to call her 'the most acclaimed British female science fiction writer since Ursula le Guin.' (Independent, 12 December) 'Watch out for that quote on her next book cover!' says our news-watcher David Garnett.

As Others See Us. A classic from many years ago as Anthony Burgess reviewed a work of unashamed sf, Brian Aldiss's Enemies of the System: '... it contrives to be rich, allusive, full of real people and unfailingly interesting. It is not, then, real SF.'

The BBC 'Big Read' book popularity poll (see Runcible 100 for the shortlist of 21) ended with the public once again horrifying many critics by choosing The Lord of the Rings as best-loved work. Pride and Prejudice placed second, followed by His Dark Materials, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Oh dearie me.

R.I.P. Marguerite McClure Bradbury (1922-2003), Ray Bradbury's wife since 27 September 1947, died in Los Angeles on 24 November. She was 81. Forrest J. Ackerman was among those attending the 28 November funeral and memorial service.

Small Press. David Riley's UK sf/fantasy magazine Beyond, which folded after three issues in the mid-90s, is to relaunch in Spring with a new 96pp A5 (roughly digest-sized) format. 'We are actively seeking stories.' 130 Union Rd, Oswaldtwistle, Accrington, Lancs, BB5 3DR. See

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Mass Destruction. '... they were upon him, smothering him, squeezing and squashing him, with the sheer weight of their weightlessness.' (Terrance Dicks & Barry Letts, Doctor Who: Deadly Reunion, 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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