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02.14.04

How time flies. It's twenty years now since Ansible serialized Brian Aldiss's Helliconia Winter in issue number 37 (February 1984). Admittedly we serialized only page 25a of the draft, but a scoop is a scoop....

Peter Jackson, on 7 February, won the Director's Guild of America Award for directing The Return of the King. Some say this is a good omen for the equivalent Oscar.

Terry Pratchett muses on all his American awards for The Wee Free Men (ALA Notable Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Horn Book Fanfare Title, etc., etc.): `Oh dear. I don't know whether to be worried or pleased that a book containing words like "susurration", treating witches with respect and featuring a mob of drunken, thieving, swearing Scottish pixies is considered wonderful by the great and good of the US YA Book world, but I nurse a sneaking desire for someone to ban it....    It's the 21st anniversary of Discworld this autumn. There will be dancing in a street.'    Michael Bishop helpfully adds: `Just thought you should know I've written a new fantasy Christmas-themed novel called Wee Free Kings.'

R.I.P. Donald Barr (1921-2004), US author and academic best known in sf circles for his space opera Space Relations (1973), died on 5 February. He was 82.    Julius Schwartz (1915-2004), US fan, literary agent, influential comics editor, and in later life a DC Comics consultant and `goodwill ambassador' to conventions, died on 8 February aged 89. With Mort Weisinger he coedited what many regard as the first true sf fanzine, The Time Traveller (1932); his and Weisinger's agency Solar Sales Service was the first to specialize in sf. As editor at All-American Comics (later part of DC) from 1944 to 1986, he was involved in the revival and development of such superheroes as The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Adam Strange, The Atom, and Batman; from 1971 he edited Superman.

Thog's Critical Masterclass. Dept of In 1877 They'd Believe Anything: `Although the first edition's claim that Black Beauty was "translated from the original equine" now seems quaint or absurd ...' (Raymond E. Jones, Characters in Children's Literature, 1997)

International Horror Guild award nominations arrived too late for Runcible last week, but I squeezed part of the interminable list into the already crammed Ansible 199. Rather than repeat myself, I'll just include a link here and hope to avert the further wrath of Lisa Tuttle: `How hideously disappointing of you to leave out the shorter fiction categories in the International Horror Guild Awards!! (So much less important than comics or TV, of course.) I have so little excitement in my dull and boring life, I had hoped to be able to count on Ansible to brighten at least one dreary day, but nooooo. Sigh. Thanks for nothing.'

Thog's Masterclass. Tone of Voice Dept. `"What is it, Arthur?" Admiral Greer asked, wearing a cheap golf shirt.' (Tom Clancy, Red Rabbit, 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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