As I write I'm still palsied and hungover from the legendary sf hack
Lionel Fanthorpe's 9 February celebration
of 50 years (and 250 books) since he first appeared in print in 1952. It was also his 67th birthday.
Characteristically, despite the presence of guests like Terry Pratchett, Colin
Wilson, Jack Cohen, Guy N. Smith, Bob Rickard of Fortean Times, and even
myself, the entertainment consisted largely of Lionel reminiscing, singing his
own songs, declaiming his own poetry, acting in his own plays, regaling his
audience with allegedly unsolved Fortean mysteries, and reading from the slim
volumes of religious consolation which form much of his latter output. By that
time, I'd escaped to safety in the bar.
Empire of the Rings. The Empire magazine readers' poll results are
dominated by Mike Moorcock's favourite movie. Best film: The Lord Of The
Rings I. Best actor: Elijah Wood (Frodo). Best debut: Orlando Bloom
(Legolas). Lifetime achievement: Christopher Lee (Saruman). Less esoterically,
the film also picked up 13 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director,
Supporting Actor (Ian McKellen), and Screenplay (based on a previously published work).
That noise you hear is the gnashing of Moorcockian teeth.
George Nader (1921-2002), US actor and author best remembered for his
appearance in the 3D cult movie Robot Monster (1953, a Thog's Cinema
Classic), died of pneumonia on 4 February, aged 80. His 1978 novel
was an early example of gay sf.
Brian Aldiss helps stir the controversy: 'Heartily agree with Mike
Moorcock. Lord of the Rings may have virtues as a film (particularly for
those hard of hearing), but its basis is absolute crap
One passage in
particular proves the superiority of SF over Tolkienian fantasy. Frodo is given
a sword and told it will turn blue if orcs are nearby. He does not seem
astonished. He does not respond, "Crikey! How the hell does it work then?" Of
course not. Nobody could explain such nonsense, so the question is not asked. So
the story blunders and thunders onwards, annihilating all minds in the
I enjoyed it.'
Thog's Masterclass. 'Slam Croberg, Head of Security, was impersonating a
neurotic elephant with a hyperactive, pregnant mouse irretrievably installed in
each ear.' (Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe, 'The Smoothbundia Hypothesis',
David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant.
His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.