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03.05.04

Bureaucracy is breathing down my neck again. To mark the imminent 200th issue of Ansible, the British Library has reproved me for listing the print version's ISSN (0265-9816) in the on-line edition. Instead I have had another ISSN thrust upon me (1740-942X), with stern instructions to distinguish between the printed and digital Ansible by using both numbers in both editions. This will make life so much simpler.

Robert Silverberg is the 2004 recipient of what is now called the Damon Knight Memorial Grandmaster award, from SFWA. In his own words: 'It's an awesome thing to be put up there in the same company as Heinlein, Asimov, De Camp, Leiber, Simak, van Vogt, and the rest of that crew. I'm still pretty stunned. This isn't modesty I'm expressing — far from it. Just awe. These guys were my boyhood heroes and now I am one of them.'

Orson Scott Card has a crushingly final word on the current hot issue of gay and lesbian marriage in the USA: 'In the first place, no law in any state in the United States now or ever has forbidden homosexuals to marry. The law has never asked that a man prove his heterosexuality in order to marry a woman, or a woman hers in order to marry a man....' [Closely reasoned examples omitted.] 'So it is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.' Click here for further dazzling enlightenment.

Oscars. You read it here last! The Return of the King, nominated in eleven categories, won them all: best picture (the first genre film to get this big one), director, adapted screenplay, film editing, score, sound mixing, make-up, visual effects, song, costume design, and art direction. It now ties with Ben-Hur and Titanic for most Oscars won. Finding Nemo, narrowly edging out Gimli's eyebrows, won as best animated feature.

Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book won the Dilys Award as the 2003 favourite of the US Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Edwin Morgan, 83-year-old Scots poet and sf enthusiast, has been chosen as his country's national poet or 'Scots Makar', equivalent to the Poet Laureate. His 'space poetry' was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in 1966, and he appeared in the seminal sf verse anthology Holding Your Eight Hands (1969). (BBC News)

Paging Mr Tucker! Can it be coincidence that the latest Lemony Snicket outbreak, The Slippery Slope, has a cameo appearance by one C.M. Kornbluth? 'Mr. Kornbluth was a quiet and secretive man, so secretive that no one ever knew who he was, where he came from, or even what the C or the M stood for, and he spent much of his time holed up in his dormitory room writing strange stories ...'

Andrew M. Butler won the 2004 Pioneer Award for sf criticism, with his essay 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at the British Boom' (SF Studies #91, Nov 2003).

Classics of Our Time. I was suitably numbed to learn that Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is to appear in classical Greek: 'the longest text to have been translated into the ancient language in 1,500 years.' (BBC News) The translator, UK classics teacher Andrew Wilson, modelled his style on the 2nd-century works of Lucian, who was at least a fantasy (or sf) author. 'Harry Potter' apparently comes out as 'warrior goblet'. An Irish Gaelic version is also scheduled. Next: Elvish? Klingon? (BBC News)

Thog's Masterclass. Visual Imagery Dept. 'Turquoise and emerald spider webs within the windshield fluttered elegantly, reporting the lander's internal power status. Their sharp primary colours ...' (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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