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Sometimes Thog feels outclassed by material from outside his chosen genres. An admirer sends this fine extended metaphor from a history of Jim Beam bourbon: 'The Beam family tree ... is an imposing two-century-and-counting, still vigorous, gnarly mammoth, complete with ham-thick primary limbs that support Schwarzenegger-like arms that themselves fork into a wiry mesh of whip-like tendrils ready to sprout new leaves and, more importantly, acorns.' (F. Paul Pacult, American Still Life, 2003)

Ursula Le Guin received a lifetime achievement prize from the American Library Association at the presentation of the Newbery and Caldecott children's book awards on 12 January. (CNN)

Forrest J. Ackerman donated $153,000 to the American Cinematheque arts organization, to have plaques in honour of his favourite people installed on 153 seats at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. As well as friends, family and many film people, the Ackerman categories of glory include authors (Isaac Asimov, Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, William F. Temple, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Richard Matheson, Ib J. Melchior, Amelia Reynolds Long, Olaf Stapledon, Stanley G. Weinbaum), artists (Frank R. Paul, Hannes Bok, Virgil Finlay, Margaret Brundage, Josh Kirby), sf editors (Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Horace L. Gold, Anthony Boucher) and 'Super Sci-Fi Fans' (Rick Sneary, Julius Schwartz, Walt Willis, Harry Warner Jr).

R.I.P. Paula Raymond (1924-2003), US film and TV actress whose best known genre part was in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), died on 31 December aged 79.

Brian Aldiss remembers his 'last regular reader' (see Runcible 111 obituary): 'Bob Monkhouse, also known as a comedian, wrote to my mother back in the early sixties, shortly after the publication of my first novels and stories. He wrote to say how much he had enjoyed them. My mother wrote back, rather smarmily, I'd imagine. And received a smarmy response. From then on, the two corresponded, Bob always commenting on my books. What my mother said, I do not know. Mercifully, neither of them drew me into the correspondence. Besides, I was then talking to Ken Dodd about writing scripts for him. Now both my mater and Monkhouse are no more, and book sales have correspondingly declined.'

Small Press. Wormwood is a new UK critical magazine from Tartarus Press, covering 'fantasy, supernatural and decadent literature' (no new fiction). Paperback format, £7.99/$13 post paid; Stable Cottage, Priest Bank Rd, Kildwick, Keighley, BD20 9BH.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Innovative Nomenclature. 'An emerald-green material paneled the room, neither glass nor wood, but something in between. She christened it "glass-wood"'. (Catherine Asaro, Skyfall, 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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