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Come back, Margaret Atwood, all is forgiven! Despite her frequent claims that she doesn't write sf because that means rockets, chemicals, and talking squids in outer space, here is emotion recollected in tranquillity: 'I myself have written two works of "science fiction" or, if you prefer, "speculative fiction," The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake.' Glory, glory. (2004 Kesterton Lecture, 22 January, excerpted in The Globe and Mail, 24 January.)

Sapphire Awards (sf romance) novel shortlist:

  Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dance With The Devil

  Robin D. Owens, Heart Thief

  Catherine Asaro, Skyfall

  Susan Grant, The Star Princess

  Wen Spencer, Tinker

Alastair Reynolds thrills to the occult power of Typomancy: 'Now and again I look at the Hugo recommendations compiled by the New England Science Fiction Association, for which the URL (as you undoubtedly know) is Imagine my immense delight at discovering that mistyping it as takes you to the home page of the New England Feng Shui Association ...'

R.I.P. William Relling, Jr (1954-2004), US author of horror and supernatural fiction, committed suicide on 22 January; he was 49.    Ray Stark (1914-2004), Hollywood producer who co-produced Somewhere in Time (1980), died on January 17. This film was based on the novel Bid Time Return (1975) by Richard Matheson.

Small Press. Yet another British venture launches in July 2004: Orbit, edited by Steve Williams, is to be 'a monthly, full colour science fiction magazine. It's going to be distributed through SF shops, but if it's successful after 6 months, a large distributor in London has shown interest in giving it a wider distribution.' Contents will include articles, author interviews, and 'debate and discussion', but not apparently fiction. 1 Firs Hill Mews, Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, S Yorks, S3 9AH, UK. One hopes there's no awkward clash with Orbit, the UK sf imprint of (currently) Time Warner....

Noreascon 4, the 2004 Worldcon, announces that adult membership will not increase in price on 1 March as intended but will be held at $180 until advance registration closes on 31 July.

Thog's Masterclass. Nuclear Doom Dept (or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Hold My Breath). '"It's certain," Dardanus was saying, "that the cobalt bomb, so incontinently exploded twenty-five years ago in the Pacific Ocean, robbed the planet of its atmosphere for at least thirty minutes. There's no need for me to recall the causes -- superheating of the ionosphere, followed by elevation of the heavier atoms and a partial band of vacuum encircling the globe. It's possible that at least half the molecules existing at that time reached escape velocity and were lost into outer space...."' (Martin Jordan, 'Sheamus', Science Fantasy 14, 6/1955)


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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