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A little genre insight from Alec Wilkinson in The New Yorker, 19 January 2004: 'Science fiction is the schizophrenic cousin of literature.' Personally, I'm in two minds about that.

As Others Don't See Us. Invisible Hugo Dept: 'JK Rowling seems set to win the only literary success which has so far eluded her — her first adult book prize. / Her latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was yesterday shortlisted for the £5,000 fiction section of the WH Smith book awards.' (John Ezard, The Guardian, 14 January). The adult shortlist also includes James Herbert's Nobody True, and the 'Teen Choice' fiction list comprises: Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand; Celia Rees, Pirates!; Philip Reeve, Predator's Gold; Mary Hoffman, Stravaganza: City of Stars; Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men. (Later: on 19 January the newspaper ran a correction and acknowledged Rowling's Hugo for HP and the Goblet of Fire.)

R.I.P. Jack Cady (1932-2004), US author and writing teacher whose wide-ranging work won him both genre and non-genre awards, died on 14 January aged 71. His 1993 novella 'The Night We Buried Road Dog' won a Nebula and tied for the Bram Stoker Award; he received the World Fantasy Award for his collection The Sons of Noah (1992).    Don Lawrence (1928-2003), UK comics artist best known in Britain for his work on the long-running sf adventure series The Trigan Empire (1965-1982, scripted by Mike Butterworth), died on 29 December aged 75. Miserably treated by British publishers, he was better appreciated on the Continent: his other major series Storm achieved huge sales in the Netherlands, earning him many awards and a Dutch knighthood.

Michael Moorcock ponders on the perennial topic of how others see us: 'I think I know what people mean when they say they don't write sf. They mean they don't write sci-fi — i.e. Star Wars, Star Trek and so on. I believe there's been a bit of a shift in the use of the terms, these days. My guess is that most of the people who say they don't write sf wouldn't think Phil Dick wrote sf either. Of course, that could just be me being kind. Given that social fiction is now essentially a minority taste and that sf and fantasy are the dominant forms of fiction, should we be worrying about these distinctions? Mainstream means marginal, doesn't it? It's not we who are still in the ghetto, it's the likes of M. Atwood who are putting themselves in the ghetto. Or am I taking too much medication? Certainly not. You can never take too much meditation. I mean medicacion. Where is this, anyway? You're not the girl I came in with. Are you?'

Thog's Masterclass. Spare Parts Dept. 'Botha slipped out of his chair. It rocked briefly in his absence, then steadied to await the next set of perambulating buttocks.' (Alan Dean Foster, Diuturnity's Dawn, 2002)


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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