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Our splendid editor Eileen Gunn excites my admiration and envy by casually letting slip that her forthcoming story collection will have an introduction and afterword by some guys called Gibson and Waldrop. The best I could afford for my own collected shorts (published this year) was some guy called Langford....

Vatican Viewpoint. Astrobiology Magazine interviewed Brother Guy Consolmagno, Jesuit astronomer to the Vatican, and asked the inevitable question. GC: '... But, I'm also a science fiction fan -- ' AM: 'Have you read The Sparrow?' GC: 'Yes, and I hated it.'

R.I.P. Olga Druce (1911-2004), US producer/director of Captain Video for TV (1949-56), and House of Mystery and Superman for radio, died on 18 April aged 92.   Nelson Gidding (1919-2004), Hollywood screenwriter who scripted The Haunting (1963), The Andromeda Strain (1971) and The Mummy Lives (1993), died on 1 May. He was 84.   Fred Karlin (1936-2004), Oscar- and Emmy-winning film composer who composed the music for Futureworld (1976), died from cancer on 26 March; he was 67.   Brian McNaughton (1935-2004), US horror author whose collection The Throne of Bones (1997) won a World Fantasy Award, reportedly died in mid-May.   Tony Randall (1920-2004), US comic actor whose rare genre parts included the title role — and several others — in 7 Faces of Dr Lao (1964), died on 17 May aged 84.

2004 Prometheus Award (libertarian sf/fantasy) shortlist:

  Terry Goodkind, Naked Empire

  Paul Levinson, The Pixel Eye

  Chris Moriarty, Spin State

  J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  F. Paul Wilson, Sims

Language Lesson. I've always wanted to know the proper term for those clumps of old Penguin sf novels on my shelves. PopBitch (May 2004) reveals the answer: 'There is no clear, collective noun for penguins. In the past, breeding groups have been referred to as colonies, rookeries and penguineries, but at the 4th International Penguin Conference in Chile in September 2000, it was finally agreed by penguin researchers that they would refer to a group of penguins on the land as a "waddle", and a group in the water as a "raft".' A raft of Penguin sf? Oh, that's too awful....

Publishers and Sinners. Chrysalis, the media outfit, is selling off its book publishing division — including the once successful Paper Tiger sf/fantasy art imprint. Miserable treatment of writers and artists under Chrysalis ownership was highlighted by a UK Society of Authors survey last year.

Thog's Masterclass. Neat Tricks Dept. 'Taylor struggled to his console, tried to lift the red handset to Damage Control back aft, and realized his right collarbone was smashed. He grabbed for the phone with his left.' (Joe Buff, Thunder in the Deep, 2001)


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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