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From the cutting edge of dark fantasy, one of our far-flung correspondents reports the heroine's reaction (in Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark, 2004) when a vampire acquaintance reveals his name: 'Before I could stop myself, I rocked back onto my butt with laughter. "The vampire Bill!" I said. "I thought it might be Antoine, or Basil, or Langford! ..."'

As Others Reposition Us. According to Publishers Lunch, a US deal is being lined up for bestselling French author Jean-Christophe Rufin's Globalia, reported as a speculative novel which 'steps into the future, not exactly as science fiction but as a projection of today's American-dominated world toward what he calls "totalitarian democracy".' No talking squids in outer space there, then.

Brian Aldiss responds to my idle query about one of his early pseudonyms: 'C.C. Shackleton is in hiding. He was considered too amusing for a serious matter like sci-fi. Compare the situation in Sweden. Advertising the movie, Lost in translation, posters carried the tag line, "So funny it was banned in Norway".'

R.I.P. Robyn Meta Herrington (1961-2004), Australian-born author and editor resident in Canada for the last 25 years, died on 3 May after a lengthy struggle against cancer. She was an acquisitions editor for Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy and also published genre poetry.   Basil Wells (1912-2004), US sf author who flourished in a small way from a 1940 Super Science Stories debut until approximately 1957, died on 3 May. [Editor's note: this date of death later corrected to 23 December 2003.]

Michael Moorcock confirms his reported plan to leave Texas and settle in some continental European metropolis, though probably not Rome: 'I'll be 65 at the end of this year and will be retiring (that is, only writing one book a year) back to the restful city. The country has been killing me and I deserve some tranquility in my old age.'

Small Press. Orbital is a cunning rebranding of the new UK magazine about sf which was initially announced as Orbit: see Runcible 114, where I anticipated that using the title of a major British publishing imprint might be unwise. Same editor, Steve Williams; same address, 1 Firs Hill Mews, Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, South Yorks, S3 9AH, UK. The official launch date is now June and I'm supposed to be writing something. But what?

New Fan Forum. Victor Gonzalez urges us all to don our propeller beanies and join the discussion at

Thog's Masterclass. New Maths Dept. 'I've just gotten a reply. A series of pulses: one, two, three, five, seven, nine. Prime numbers. I respond in kind with the next set.' (Syne Mitchell, Murphy's Gambit, 2000)   Movie Science Dept. 'Of course, X-rays are impermeable to lead.' (Teen Agent, 1991)


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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