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My, how I do go on....

As Others See Us. 'This column's favourite novel of 2003, William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, has been shortlisted for two big awards — only Sci Fi awards but better than a poke in the eye.' (Jeremy Jehu, 'Best Sellers', ITV Teletext reviews, 13 February)

Nebula Awards. Here are the finalists for SFWA's favourite novel of 2003 — or, in four cases, 2002:

  Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity

  Carol Emshwiller, The Mount

  Kathleen Ann Goonan, Light Music

  Nalo Hopkinson, The Salt Roads

  Jack McDevitt, Chindi

  Elizabeth Moon, The Speed of Dark

Other categories (including the now traditional nomination of Mr Gaiman's Coraline for best novella) and links to on-line extracts can be found on the SFWA website.

Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against AOL continues still, with the US Ninth Court of Appeals partly reversing though partly affirming the 2002 district court's adverse decision, with 'Each party to bear its own costs' and the road left open for further exciting litigation. Here's the new decision, and here's a cautious summary by Ellison's own lawyer.

Cory Doctorow begs to differ, in his 12 February speech to the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference:

'... I was shocked silly by legal action by one of my colleagues against AOL/Time-Warner for carrying the alt.binaries.ebooks newsgroup. This writer alleged that AOL should have a duty to remove this newsgroup, since it carried so many infringing files, and that its failure to do so made it a contributory infringer, and so liable for the incredibly stiff penalties afforded by our newly minted copyright laws like the No Electronic Theft Act and the loathsome Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA.   Now there was a scary thought: there were people out there who thought the world would be a better place if ISPs were given the duty of actively policing and censoring the websites and newsfeeds their customers had access to, including a requirement that ISPs needed to determine, all on their own, what was an unlawful copyright infringement -- something more usually left up to judges in the light of extensive amicus briefings from esteemed copyright scholars.   This was a stupendously dumb idea, and it offended me down to my boots. Writers are supposed to be advocates of free expression, not censorship. It seemed that some of my colleagues loved the First Amendment, but they were reluctant to share it with the rest of the world.'

H'mm. I take the point about not suing the post office for failing to censor mail, but ... Is the 'free expression' of a bold fellow like Cory Doctorow, who chooses to make his own work available for nothing, comparable to that of some talentless git with a scanner who merely denies authors the right to choose otherwise?

R.I.P. Islwyn Ffowc Elis (1924-2004), Welsh author of popular Welsh-language novels including the sf Y Blaned Dirion (The Fair Planet, 1968), died on 22 January at age 79.

Small Press. Prime Books, edited by Sean Wallace, has joined his Cosmos Books as an imprint of Wildside Press.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Historical Truth. 'But then, Oscar knew, Taneia Gall had been Chairwoman of the Residents Association for over a century. Few of history's absolute monarchs had reigned for that long.' (Peter F. Hamilton, Pandora's Star, 2004)


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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