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My New Year's resolution not to plug Langford books here was resolutely maintained until 3 January, when Sean Wallace of Cosmos told me that my 36-story collection Different Kinds of Darkness was now available.... Whoopee!

Philip K. Dick Award shortlist for 2003 US paperback originals: M.M. Buckner, Hyperthought; Mark Budz, Clade; Jane Jensen, Dante's Equation; Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon; Chris Moriarty, Spin State; Ann Tonsor Zeddies, Steel Helix. Winner to be announced at Norwescon on 9 April.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is on the move, since its now traditional venue the Science Museum has announced a staggering increase in charges. Administrator Paul Kincaid writes: 'Having provided the facilities free of charge from 1996 until 2002, the Museum suddenly made a charge of £1,000 in 2003. They have now informed us that the cost of facilities for the 2004 ceremony would be in excess of £7,000. This is in addition to the cost of catering.   The Museum says this is because of funding problems. However, our own funding difficulties, exacerbated by the £1,000 charge in 2003, mean that this cost is totally beyond our means.   The Clarke Award ceremony will therefore not be held at the Science Museum this year.   We are already looking for other suitable venues, and fully expect to stage the award ceremony in May as usual.' Meanwhile, the Serendip Foundation has been formed to manage and raise funds for future Clarke Award presentations, and is described as 'non-profit making'. That part at least should be easy.

Anne Rice will suck no more! That is to say, her latest novel Blood Canticle concludes the 'Vampire Chronicles', and our author says she's finished with the whole subject of vampires: 'That chapter's closed.' (LA Times, Publishers Lunch)

Thog's Literary Research Special. Not many people know that The Pilgrim's Progress is 'John Bunyan's religious poem of 1684'.... (Jenny Gilbert, Independent Sunday Review, 4 January)

R.I.P. Bob Monkhouse (1928-2003), British comedian who died from cancer on 29 December aged 75, was a lifelong sf/fantasy fan who spent extravagantly at UK specialist shops like Andromeda, Forbidden Planet and the late Dark They Were And Golden-Eyed. Authors signing stock for Andromeda, even me, would be asked to inscribe his copy specially. But Monkhouse's claimed genre career seems to be largely his own invention; experts are sceptical about the comics art, Sexton Blake novellas and Hank Jansen novels listed in his Guardian obituary and elsewhere.

Freebie. Here for cheapskates is an sf-themed 2004 calendar — a 550K PDF download from 'Capt. Xerox', each month titivated with a garish pulp cover and a selection of famous sf birthdays. I turned eagerly to the 10th of April, but alas...

Thog's Masterclass. Double-Take Dept. 'As with most aerial bombardments in my era, the effects of the attack were more terrifying than the results.' (Dan Simmons, Ilium, 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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